2013 - Royal Feast Chocolate Table, Hong Kong, China

March 03rd, 2013 • Permanent Link

The biggest and one of the most luxurious shopping malls in Hong Kong, the Harbour City with more than 700 shops within the complex, where Chanel, Fendi und Gucci are neighbours to each other. Gerhard was invited to be the main attraction of their “Chocolate Trail 2013” and the main artist during this one-month period in the art gallery ‘Art by the Harbour’ as well.

ca. 300 kg chocolate used

Table Dimension:
5 m length, 1.20 m width

Workshop and Gallery:

Finished Table:

Press and Guests:

Body painting and Opening Ceremony:

Location: Gallery at “Harbour City”, Hong Kong, China
The biggest and one of the most luxurious shopping malls in Hong Kong, the Harbour City with more than 700 shops within the complex, where Chanel, Fendi and Gucci are neighbours to each other. Gerhard was invited to be the main attraction of their “Chocolate Trail 2013” and the main artist during this one-month period in the art gallery as well.
Famous chocolate and confection producers from all over the world were invited to present their little treasures along the numerous wings and hallways of the mall, accompanied by the many fairy tale-like, chocolate-related sculptures which attracted many tourists, shoppers and photographers.
This 4th Chocolate Trail was officially opened by the General Manager of the mall, together with Gerhard and a popular presenter who guided through the ceremony, by those 3 cutting the official opening ribbon after the countdown.

Opening Ceremony Location: Main hall
with a Live Performance of Chocolate Body Painting by Gerhard Petzl

Royal Feast Chocolate Table Location: Art Gallery by the Harbour
Opening ceremony with Elanne Kwong and Live Chocolate Body Painting

Art Project:
A 5m long table was set up as a royal feast baroque dinner table, showing cakes, as they looked at that time, parfaits, different breads, fruit stands, various crystal bottles, sugar bowls, a variation of glasses, plates with underliners, folded napkins with embossed logos and cutlery sets with ornaments – all made of chocolate.
At the centre of the dinner table stood an impressive eye-catcher, a black and white chocolate-layered, hand-carved centre-piece according to the Chinese tradition of being in the year of the snake, standing on a giant chocolate ball. Around it, there was a nest-like composition, made out of countless chocolate pieces, carefully fixed and decorated with leaves.
The whole table also had hand-piped branches, flowers and fine art ornaments as well as approximately 600 hand-dipped leaves which were arranged harmoniously piece by piece.

Around the table there were rolling ropes and coin-sized emblems fixed carefully in between. The space between the ropes and the table’s top edges were diligently hand-piped as well to produce some additional texture and optical contrast to the smooth table cloth surface on top. The table cloth at the top ends of both sides were carefully draped to realistic perfection.

Even the four legs of the table were impressively transformed to lion pranks and there was also a hidden (chocolate) mouse under the table, only visible to some carefully-looking kids.

All in all, approximately 2,500 single pieces were carefully assembled to an impressive, world-wide unique composition.
Never before has a 5 m long decorated baroque table with all items on it, entirely made out of chocolate, been created anywhere in the world. Approximately 300 kg of chocolate were used.

The process:
Development of concepts, sketches and moulds. The organisation of all the materials and the production of the approx. 3,000 single pieces (2,500 used plus back-up material) took Gerhard around 3 ½ months of preparation in Sydney, Australia.
A hard task which was impeded by a once-in-a-decade heat wave at that time, which forced Gerhard to have 2 air conditions working during days and nights. He needed around 20 degrees inside, while outside it had around 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. The pick-up date of the boxes, ready for delivery, needed to be postponed 3 times as Gerhard was waiting for a cooler day, on which the temperature fell to 23 degrees. Luckily, this occurred one day, minimizing the risk of a total disaster, as heat is the main enemy of chocolate (besides humidity).

The packing of the many highly fragile pieces of art, like the forks, glasses, plates and leaves, was a special task: each piece needed to be packed separately on individual custom-made cushioned layers and boxes to maximise transportation safety and to avoid the possibility of breakage and possible losses of time to fix these broken parts after transport in HK.
Gerhard under-estimated the time required only for packing and thought he would manage this in 2 days. Instead, it took him and his assistant 4 full days to only wrap and box all the items, where each leaf and fork was carefully fixed with 4 needles each. A time- and nerve-wrecking work and you can imagine how relieved he felt afterwards…

After successful pick-up of all the boxes, they were flown from Sydney to HK as a VIP overnight express air-freight. When the boxes arrived at the gallery, Gerhard was already there, opening and unpacking them himself - for safety reasons.

The time frame for setting up and finishing the table at the gallery was one week. 2 assistants who were flown in from Austria, were highly motivated and joined Gerhard in the production process.
They worked daily around 12 hours - without a break - and during the last 2 days, due to an unforeseen change of plans and the resulting additional hours required, the worked for 16 hours per day. Finally, they finished the table at 4 a.m. in the morning of the opening ceremony – for which they had to be present at the art gallery at 10 a.m. again.
Well, time-wise, it was very tight and each of them worked for incredible 100 hours during this week but after completion, they all felt like being reborn, completely satisfied with the final result and all agreed that these long hours were worth it.
The finished table is a milestone and record-breaking project for a fine art chocolate work.

At the Opening Ceremony at the gallery Gerhard could welcome the popular Chinese singer and actress Elanne Kwong whom he sweetened up with a chocolate body painting on her shoulder, followed by closed photo shootings afterwards.
Gerhard also was happy to have there the honoured Austrian Consul General to Hong Kong, Mister MMag. Gerhard Maynhardt, who was also highly pleased by the provided baroque opulence and the high professional skills demonstrated by his Austrian fellow national. Therefore, he carefully listened to Gerhard’s detailed explanations of some chocolate objects.

These pieces of art were highly appreciated by many local and international visitors, with more than 25,000 people storming the gallery to admire this unique chocolate table. It was shown on TV and was covered by around 30 different newspapers and magazines of 3 continents, highly praising this outstanding artwork.

Gerhard would like to express his thanks to everyone involved in this process, especially to the Hong Kong organisational team, to his Assistants in Australia and from Austria for making this possible. Thanks again!
Following a tradition of his, immediately after this event, Gerhard flew out to an island to enjoy his well-deserved vacation and to recover… ;-)

Mr. Oliver Bisko (Technical Assistant and Photographer, A)
Mr. Simon-Karl Klasnic (Personal Assistant, A)
Ms. Ayako Yasuda (Personal Assistant, AUS)