On May 21st 2014, the RIBA Hong Kong Chapter, in collaboration with Hong Kong’s premier luxury mall Pacific Place, unveiled three interactive installations by emerging designers to re-imagine the public areas of the mall, recently redesigned by Thomas Heatherwick in a high-profile contemporisation programme.
Conceived by RIBA Hong Kong Chapter in partnership with Pacific Place, SHOP! 2014 is part of a series of 4 architectural events for the city: EAT! SHOP! TALK! CELEBRATE!
The SHOP! competition, launched in January 2014, sought to pair emerging RIBA-registered, Hong Kong-based design talents to specific spaces within Swire Properties’ Pacific Place. The competition aimed to give these young designers a valuable opportunity to work on a direct commission with Hong Kong’s highest profile mixed-use developer, and provides Swire Properties with striking and unique and innovative contemporary design.
The winning teams were selected on 27th February 2014 from 40 entries to the RIBA-run SHOP! competition by a jury panel comprising RIBA Hong Kong Chapter, Swire Properties, and guest panelist Hugh Broughton, designer of the renowned British Antarctic Research Station in Antarctica.
Just before the installations opened, a separate panel of judges made up by representatives of Swire Properties and RIBA HK Chapter, 2 prominent Hong Kong architects and one celebrity RIBA architect has visited them to pick the winner of the ‘Shop! Best Installation Award’. The installations are judged on their ability to reflect the brief, message and aesthetics, design quality, inventiveness and flair, practicality, quality of finished installation and its ability to engage with audience. The winner will receive a prize of 20,000HKD in kind by Pacific Place.
“This is OUR Place”, by Howard Chung, Irene Cheng, Po and Sabah Ashiq, is a large scale installation featuring a dozen of oversized musical horns hanging from the Garden Court atrium ceiling. Inspired by Pacific Place’s interior materials, the hovering horns are made by wicker woven against a bronze metal skeleton to create a warm ambience. Visible from afar, the work makes a great spectacle and encourages people to step into the horns to experience the interactive, multi-media installation. Visitors can choose to immerse themselves in the 360° video within the three big horns or explore multi-faceted imagery of oneself in the smaller ones, which contain illusionary mirrors with interactive lighting. “The installation activates a difficult-to-activate space and brings down the volume of this huge space by creating a total of ten hub of activities under all the horns. It is a poetic idea that is realised and executed well’, says one of the jurors, Keith Griffiths, Chairman of Aedas International.
Along Pacific Place’s long corridor on Level 1 is “Hall of Fame”, a modern steel structure that takes reference of China’s ancient way of text recording designed by Edmond Wong, Gary Law, Kylie Chan and Charis Mok. Using steel as a frame, the structure is formed by suspended raw bamboo and fibreglass tubes to create a curved, silk-like surface with messages displayed by back-lit perforation. Sebastian Law, Adjunct Professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, describes it as an ‘original design from a simple but effective concept, with echoing theme of sustainability and material that references a Chinese motif’. He also praises the clever use of light in the bamboo tubes and the overall lightness of the design. Visitors can walk along the structure to view birthday cards designed by directors and creative leads of famous brands, including Smythson and Harvey Nichols.
Last but not least is “Now and Then” at the centre of Park Court on Level 1, by Slavomir Siska, Ruyin Liu and Tie Fan. The installation consists of five sculptures of various forms, each sitting in a pot of different height that bears a resemblance to plants and symbolise life and growth. ‘I like the collection of clouds, in different shapes and forms and with information inside, it is an interesting design’, says Ken Shuttleworth, celebrity RIBA architect juror and founder of MAKE Architects. Arranged in a pentagon and linked by thick and thin black lines, the sculptures represent the history and transformation of Pacific Place since its beginning. Each sculpture is equipped with two TV screens that shows videos of a special theme and the various heights allow viewing by shoppers of different ages at the same time.
The RIBA HK SHOP! installation will run for 3 weeks from 21 May till 10 June 2014.
Throughout 2014 the RIBA HK Chapter is organising a series of three further architecture events reflecting what Hong Kong loves best: TALK! a lively discussion show inviting local designers and artists to debate on architecture, design and arts in August; EAT! an edible architecture contest to showcase the ability of creating with food planned for November, and; CELEBRATE! the end of year RIBA HK social and networking event.