The fondest memories evoked through thoughts of the Mid-Autumn Festival are one of sharing and being together with family and friends. As is tradition in Hong Kong, the entire family would make their way to a nearby park and enjoy the mid-autumn night by lighting lanterns and be mesmerized as the small flame dances inside the lantern. The lantern is thus an occasion and an event; something to enjoy as a joyous experience. Given this recognition of the lantern as an object of fascination, the question we pose asks if the experience of the lantern can extend beyond a small group of people and into a community binding experience. How can we create a lantern that can unite the city together and allow everyone to experience the intimacy defined by the glow of a lantern in the autumn night?
The solution is a simple enlargement of the lantern as object and results in the creation of spaces that playfully responds to the city surrounding Victoria Park. Through playful, unexpected encounters in the windows of the lantern, the design creates intimate settings and encourages whimsical interaction between strangers, forming a bond between the people of Hong Kong and the tourists to whom the lantern attracts.
The lantern acts as a unifying object provoking curiosity and excitement. Its design is a driving force to unite people together and an apparatus through which to experience Hong Kong culture.
The excitement of living at hyperdensity in Hong Kong is created by the overlapping and juxtaposition of layers within all levels of the city. The people, superimposed onto streets and buildings, superimposed onto the natural topography of Hong Kong. This creates the richness of urbanity that is experienced in Hong Kong and comes to be a defining culture of the city. The design exploits this by overlaying three mediums of the city over each other; the surrounding, the immediate present, and the destination. These three mediums translate architectonically into the mirror, the lantern light, and the voids of the installation. Through their juxtapositions, the object becomes one in which to experience the dynamic nature of the city.
The design of the lantern absorbs people into its spatial consciousness, similar to films of a psychoanalytic nature. Looking at the photographs of Michael Wolf, the density of Hong Kong is celebrated to the element of theatricality, overwhelming the viewer with the sheer wonder of the Hong Kong urban condition. The design recreates this sense of excitement in a way that could be read as a breaking down of elements to visitors, proclaiming the multi-layered living of Hong Kong as a cultural initiative.
The role of the lantern remains as a unifying object to share in the experience between family and friends. Rather, the glow of the lantern creates a communal space during the Mid-Autumn festival, enlarged to a scale that is experienced not only between those with whom we already know, but with the neighbours with whom we share our city.
TEAM: Joey Yim, Kenneth Ip
PROGRAMME: Sculptural installation to celebrate and experience the Mid-Autumn Festival
COMPLETION DATE: 2012