The Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong was built gradually—building on top of building—over time. Without a single architect, the ungoverned and most densely populated district became a haven for drugs, crime and prostitution until it was demolished in 1993. Photo documentation of the site exists but for the most part much of the inner-workings of the city remained a mystery.
Perhaps due to its proximity, Japan, in particular, developed a keen interest towards Kowloon. Its demolition in 1993 was broadcast on national television. But watching the footage, what most spectators didn’t realize was that up until the night before demolition a team of Japanese researchers were taking precise measurements and documenting the vacated city. Their findings were compiled into a book that, among other things, featured this panoramic cross section of the city depicting what life was like inside. You can read more about the book on Spoon & Tamago, and if you look hard enough, a few rare copies of it are available online. (via deconcrete)
Like a burst of color on an otherwise grey canvas, a single majestically colored building rises out of a sea of dull grayness. This is not Christo’s latest “wrapping” project, which is what the photographer Peter Steinhaur first thought, naturally, upon encountering the phenomenon. In fact, these are construction sites wrapped in a colorful mesh material, a traditional method employed in Hong Kong to prevent debris from falling onto the streets below. According to Steinhauer, who’s lived and worked in Asia for the last 21 years – but was stunned to discover this unique construction method in Hong Kong – buildings are wrapped regardless of whether they’re coming up or going down. I’ve seen a similar method employed in Japan with smaller houses, but never anything of such monolithic scale. You can see many more photos over on Steinhauer’s site, where he has two series aptly titled “Cocoon.” (via Featureshoot)
This week conceptual artist Florentijin Hofman brought his gargantuan Rubber Duck artwork to Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. The huge inflatable duck measures nearly 46 feet tall and 55 feet long and is shown above being pulled by a tug boat only a fraction of its size. Hofman is well known for his grandiose and whimsical sculptures that seem born with the primary goal of inducing as many smiles possible. Via the artist’s website:
The Rubber Duck knows no frontiers, it doesn’t discriminate people and doesn’t have a political connotation. The friendly, floating Rubber Duck has healing properties: it can relieve mondial tensions as well as define them. The rubber duck is soft, friendly and suitable for all ages!
Stockholm-based photographer Christian Åslund recently payed tribute to retro 2D video games using the streets of Hong Kong as a backdrop. The photos were taken as part of an ad campaign for shoe brand Jim Rickey utilizing models who would lay flat on the streets or sidewalks to create the unique perspective. I’ve seen many photographers toy with this idea, but the wide-angle nature of these shots taken from such height creates a truly fun and expansive environment. See many more shots from the series here. (via design taxi)
This summer French paper artist Mademoiselle Maurice (previously) took her unique style of urban origami installation to the streets of Hong Kong and Vietnam where she created some of the pieces shown here. To be clear, the hexagonal pieces above were created in Paris just prior to her trip to Asia which you can learn more about (plus see many more photos) on her website.
Yesterday marked the opening of ART HK 2011 where 260 galleries from 38 countries have come together to offer the largest display of contemporary art ever seen in Hong Kong. Photographer Duncan Tang was there and agreed to let me share a few of his photos with you, and as you can tell the sculptural work really took my attention. Some of the artists I recognized off the bat while others I’m unsure of, as I lack airfare to China to read the name placards. Recognize an artist? Shoot me a line. See dozens more images in Tang’s photostream.