To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the “City Dress-up Public Art Competition” was jointly organised by the Development Bureau, the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, the Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects, the Hong Kong Institute of Planners and the Hong Kong Urban Design. The winning entry with the theme “Urban Totem” of the “Flyover Fantasy” stream was used to decorate the columns of Kwun Tong Bypass situated on Hoi Bun Road for the official opening of the “Fly the Flyover Site 2 & 3” in the mid-September.
The murals of "Urban Totem" are divided into 4 zones and each with its own theme showing the collective spatial memories of the older generations of Hong Kong through squatter houses, "tong lau", and public housing in proximity to the former Kai Tak airport, sustainability and creativity in integration of nature and urban spaces, performing arts, and the contrast between the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal and the nearby piers back in the old days.
Jo Lo, the architect and representative of the winning team, said that he was grown up in Kowloon East, and watching the aircrafts shot over apartment buildings and bustling streets at low altitude near the Kai Tak Airport was such a spectacle that had inspired him in the mural design. He also pointed out that the team wanted to relive memories of the good old days of Hong Kong through artistic creation. He finally completed the hand drawing in two weeks.
Commenting on the materials used, Jo said that since the murals were colourful and in fine details, the essence of the design concepts could hardly be presented by using traditional hand drawing or oil painting. Also, the organisers had very stringent requirements on the materials, which must meet the highest safety standards, especially for fire resistance, and be removed easily without leaving residue or damaging the surface after the 2-year exhibition. Moreover, because of the curvy and uneven column surface, the materials must be flexible, highly conformable over compound curves. Eventually, after various tests and assessments, the organisers chose 3M™ Premium Graphic Solutions.
Kowloon East, comprising the former Kai Tak Airport, Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay Business Areas, is an area witnessed the heyday of Hong Kong's manufacturing industries. Following the relocation of the Airport to Chek Lap Kok and the manufacturing base to the Mainland, the Government decided to transform Kowloon East into a new Central Business District to sustain Hong Kong’s economic development. The community believed that a vibrant waterfront would be one of the key elements of “Energizing Kowloon East” project, so the “Fly the Flyover Operation” aiming to utilise unused spaces beneath Kwun Tong Bypass for creative, arts and cultural uses was then proposed.
Secretary for Development Michael Wong wrote in his official blog, “the murals fully demonstrate the characteristics of Kowloon East by featuring the old cityscape and industrial products in the past, as well as integrating new elements such as culture, green living, the cruise terminal into the district. I believe that they will become a new attraction at the Kwun Tong Promenade.”
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