Today is the first day of the Year of the Rabbit. First of all, let me wish you a healthy, happy and prosperous year with many good fortunes ahead. During the festive period, apart from visiting your relatives and friends, I would like to recommend a good place for you to visit - the public space beneath Kwun Tong Bypass. Not only can you take a leisurely walk along the waterfront promenade, you can also check out the “new look” of the columns supporting the bypass. I have invited a colleague from the Energizing Kowloon East Office (EKEO) under the Development Bureau (DEVB) and the creative team of the winning design to share with us their mural paintings.
30 Giant Wall Murals
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the EKEO co-organised the “City Dress-up Design Competition - Flyover Fantasy Re-Run” with the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, the Hong Kong Institute of Planners, the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design, the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects, and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council. In the competition, participants were invited to design giant murals for the 30 columns under the Kwun Tong Bypass, dressing up the public space and giving it a new look. Recently, I attended the Wall Murals Unveiling cum Award Presentation Ceremony and shared ideas with the winning team, architect Mr Derrick LEONG and designer Ms Annie LONG. Looking at the giant wall murals, I was overwhelmed by the unique landscape of Kowloon East. The passion for creativity and perseverance of Derrick and Annie have touched me deeply. The team, the energy and liveliness radiating from their work are simply unforgettable.
Place Making Manager (Design) of the EKEO, Ms LAM Wing-tung, Esther, says that the award-winning entry “Lift Up Kowloon East” has incorporated district characteristics and artistic elements into the public space under the Kwun Tong Bypass, helping to transform Kowloon East into a unique Core Business District (CBD) full of artistic creativity.
Showcasing “Characters” from Different Periods and Industries in Kowloon East
Derrick and Annie say that their inspiration for the creation came from “characters” from different periods and industries in Kowloon East. They likened the 30 columns supporting the Kwun Tong Bypass to people who have supported the development of Kowloon East in different periods. For instance, Kwun Tong was the area where the salt industry was developed during the Sung Dynasty, and the ship building industry was developed in the 50’s and 60’s. During the light industry period, products such as plastic flowers, electronics and clothing were made in Kowloon East. Today, it is a place for the finance industry, design industry, cultural and art industry, etc. They painted characters including salt field workers, ship-builders, plastic flower workers onto the columns in chronological order to record their work and their contribution to the development of Kowloon East. The public learn about the transformation of Kowloon East and Hong Kong stories in different periods through the murals.
According to Derrick, the large size of the columns is just perfect for presenting images in playful proportions. Therefore, the characters are presented as illustration on the murals. They hope that people who come to the Kwun Tong Promenade and drivers on Hoi Bun Road can know more about Kowloon East from this interesting perspective.
Showing the Vibrancy of Kwun Tong
In addition to characters from different industries, the creative team has also painted the cultural and artistic side of Kwun Tong onto the columns. For example, there is a skateboard ground popular with young people under the bypass, and a six-to-seven-metre tall young skateboarder is painted onto the column next to it. The columns near the waterfront are also painted with lovers taking leisurely walk along the seaside, people working out, etc., hoping to show the vibrancy of Kwun Tong.
Communicating and Coordinating with Different Stakeholders
Annie says that it was not at all easy to turn the design drawing into a mural on the column. The whole process was divided into five stages: measuring the dimensions of the column, removing the old mural, leveling the column, testing out the mural, mounting on-site. Since the public space under the Kwun Tong Bypass is very popular. Restaurants and event venues have different operating hours. The biggest challenge for them was to ensure a smooth working process without affecting various users. To make that possible, they had to communicate and coordinate with all stakeholders throughout the project.
In addition, one of the reasons for “Lift Up Kowloon East” to win is its element of interaction with the public. The creative team has come up with exclusive photo filters for each character. By scanning the QR code on the mural, people can turn themselves into the story character and share the beautiful scenery of the Kwun Tong Promenade with others.
Actively promoting the development of culture and art in Kowloon East
The Government is committed to creating a liveable community for the public and improving the quality of life. Kowloon East has been transformed from an old industrial area into a good place where people can work, have fun, take a leisurely walk, or hang out. For example, the Kwun Tong Promenade and the “VESSEL” venues under the Kwun Tong Bypass are well received by the public. In addition, a number of waterfront enhancement projects in Kowloon East will be completed soon, including the footbridge across the Tsui Ping River connecting the Kwun Tong and Cha Kwo Ling waterfronts, which will be open in the first quarter of this year. The 13-kilometre “GreenWay”, an inclusive access for pedestrians and cyclists connecting Kai Tak, Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong is also under planning. The first phase of the “GreenWay”, measuring about 7.5 km long, is expected to open in stages before the end of this year. In the future, we will continue to put our minds into landscaping, and use innovative thinking and public engagement to make Kowloon East a distinctive, diverse and vibrant CBD.
22 January, 2023Back