City Art SquareEdit profile
Riding on the special occasion of the Olympic Equestrian Games being held in Shatin, City Art Square was the beautification of a dumbbell shaped public space into a public art park of approximately 190,000sq.ft. located in the middle of a cluster of public facilities, New Town Plaza shopping mall complex, residential developments and the adjacent Olympic Village. The existing site has been the major circulation in the regional fabrics since the inception of the new town for nearly 30 years, linking visitors and residents with the locales, especially because many transport stations are nearby. It had undergone minimal changes ever since, and a facelift is therefore intended for it to catch up with the pace of upgrading in the area. Improving the impression and the vista from the Olympic Village was the take off point of the beautification of the open space. Once a pedestrian walkway with trees and resting benches outside government services buildings, it was aimed to be transformed into a pioneering international public art park to enliven the public space and nurture the appreciation of arts and culture in Hong Kong. The project started with redesigning most of the soft and hard landscape, with new decking and plantations to highlight the different zones that were once discrete. The Eastern Strip where the bus stops are, were repaved with jumbo decking patterns resembling a rolled out carpet in origami that leads to the central axis of the park, in an attempt to create a sense of welcome and arrival. Linking to the Wedding Garden marked by a raised lawn platform, a horticultural portal and Engagement sculpture, the central axis has on one side a leisurely boardwalk offering unchallenged views from the restaurants in the shopping mall, and on the other the introduction of lush shrubs and water features. The whole scheme stretches beyond that. 19 pieces of international and local, site specific and functional artworks were well designed into the area on a permanent and public basis. Various types of artwork include sculpture, street furniture, environmental painting, installation art, artwork paving, and so on could be found in the site, distinguishing itself from sculpture parks. Apart from local and mainland (Xu Bing, Barrie Ho, James Law, Mok Yat-san & Man Fung-Yi, Sara Tse, Danny Lee, Freeman Lau and Michael Yen), artists also came from the UK (Zaha Hadid Architects, WOKmedia), the US (Dennis Oppenheim, Vivienne Tam), Italy (Mimmo Paladino), Germany (Tom Thiel), Denmark (Mathias Bengtsson), Sweden (Nina Jobs), The Philippines (Joaquin Palencia), etc. The artwork mix of half and half embraces local participation as well as introduces international vision to Hong Kong. To be easily accessible and be available for viewing and use 24/7, safety and maintenance had been challenging issues to solve, especially in a strict time frame of meeting the Olympic Games. The idea of having functional artworks in this site of major circulation was to bring public art truly integrated into the neighbourhood and have the park well merged into the fabrics of the region. The project site, at the core of the town with its much higher pedestrian flow, also looked to become the gateway to the budding art scene in Fotan. The park was also designed with free of charge family fun in mind, where children could gaze and explore within the art pieces when before art was mostly displayed in the confines of museums at inconvenient locations.