Thursday, October 30, 2008

This is the coolest "low tech" toy I've seen in a veeeery long time! just look at the thing!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Associations, Patterns, and other interesting stuff.

Well, I promised a blog post that wasn't just another journal entry. So this is more of a mind dump with a theme. In my short(ish) time in Hong Kong, I've noticed that...well, I've noticed that I notice a lot. People who know me well, might say that I am an observant guy, and that I pick up on details, so Hong Kong has, at times, been a sensory overload. What with the noise, sights, smells, and the mix of languages I encounter daily, I have had to resort to a sort of filter. This means that when I get home, much of what I photographed throughout the day gets skimmed over or ignored. Well, here it is. A few of these photos have been posted, and some of them are nothing new, but I promise that if you look and read carefully, you will see what I saw that caused me to capture the shot. Hong Kong's Central District is packed with a lot of things, but I think the most dense resource therein would have to be interesting and alternative architecture. I have included the locations of most of the things I've seen, and Central is very well-represented.

While there are a lit of things in Hong Kong that are spectacular, interesting, or exciting in their own right, I find that the things I associate with them are often notable as well. Call me strange or crazy, but I'm pretty sore that most of these are not a real stretch by any means.

I don't purport to be the first to catch this similarity. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's what the architect had in mind. (Tsim Sha Tsui: Kowloon)

This, on the other hand, is likely not what the architect of the AIG tower meant for me to see. But I think AIG has other things on their minds at the moment. (Central: Bank District)

I'm not positive, but I think it's a safe bet that gold has a very similar connotation in this part of the world as it does at home. (Central: Bank District)(The building on the right and the reflection on the tower is Lippo Centre - which follows)
This pair of buildings, the Lippo Centre is as shiny, imposing, and mechanical as any "Transformer" could hope to be. (Central: Bank District)
The base of the Lippo Centre does a very good job of eliminating most of the visual mass of the higher floors, but I couldn't help but think it was a bit "industrial"(Lippo Centre: Central: Bank District)
I can't recall the name of this building, but it is a shape that, like IFC 2 and the Bank of China building (scroll down), says "Hong Kong!" loud and clear. It also looks like it's "perched" somewhat precariously. (Central-waterfront)

Bank of China Tower. This is another one that I think the architect would back me on. It's like a crystal/ice tower straight out of the comic books. (Central: Bank District)

The HSBC Building is polarizing in its aesthetic. While some people see it as "different" or a "breath of fresh air", others see it more as I do. Taking into account that it is adjacent to the Bank of China Tower (above) and its rooftop cranes are "aimed" directly at its neighbor and main competitor, it seems a little more sinister and aggressive. (Central: Bank District - across from BoC Tower)

I've forgotten its name, but, perhaps more importantly, I remember its appearance. And how could I not? Someone spent a gajillion dollars to make a distinctive piece of architecture that reminds one of...a cheese grater. The only other thing I could think of was a seriously huge game of "Connect Four", which is not much better. (Central)

I know I've heard the phrase Urban Jungle a few times. But it finally hit me when I conceived of this post, exactly how fitting that is. The buildings here are a lot like trees in a dense wood, with a few notable exceptions. Namely, they aren't so good for the environment, aren't too pretty, and more people can live in one of these than even the biggest of trees. The coolest part is that the grade of the hillside (and it is absurd at best) has little to no effect on either the trees or the apartments in Hong Kong. (The mountainside behind Central District)
On the mountainside behind Central are a great number of apartment complexes housing some of Hong Kong's elite. The organic architecture still reminds me of something more man-made. (behind Central)
Art Deco is alive and kicking on the mountainside behind Central District. (behind Central)
Think they mean it when they say "no climbing"? Pretty intimidating. (behind Central)
I was looking for a better image to fit this building but I seem to have forgotten a good deal of my Art History (sorry professors!). Anyhow, I'm sure you get the picture. This is the first evidence I've seen of an architectural style that seems much more common in western Europe. (Wan Chai)

These are actually two buildings that happen to be poorly positioned in relation to one another. They are municipal buildings related to performing arts and science, I believe...(Tsim Sha Tsui: Kowloon)

This is the Convention Center, which was the feature of a recent post. I was caught between wind, waves, and worms to relate to this building's form. Worms are just cooler than the other two. (Wan Chai)

Boutiques are known for being small, but then so are phone booths. I guess it depends on your point of reference. The Hong Kong boutiques can be closer to actual phone booths this little place on the Island. (Lan Kwai Fong: Central)

Probably not what Nike had in mind with this recent advertising campaign huh?

Hong Kong's tram operation allows advertisers to use every last inch of the tram's valuable surface for moving billboard advertising. It's not a bad idea, but I'm sure no one expected this either. (All over the Island)

While it is an intensely interesting effect that is produced by the front of the Joyce shop, I couldn't help referring to one of the least loved objects, ever. The sponge. To be fair, when it's viewed from a little further away, a giraffe-hide, butterfly wing, and leopard-print motif starts to emerge. (Central)

An Adidas, Olympics, Art, and who knows what else advertisement. (Lan Kwai Fong)

The Mira, which used to be The Hotel Miramar, has just completed a thorough rebirth. From a dowdy old gentlemen's hotel to a hip, modern, trendy spot. All of this is perfectly clear from the ripply, wavy new facade...Isn't it? (Nathan Road: Kowloon)

The Pacific Coffee Company did a great job with this wall of stylized coffee beans, but what were they thinking with that color? Really guys. Well done. (Wan Chai)

Harbour City is a mega mall among mega malls. It is at least four city blocks long and depending on the block, it is anywhere from 3 to 5 stories tall. It merges with numerous hotels, piers, and other oddities in its spread. It is indeed trendy, and I am sure that a number of other things will appear on my blog when I have the chance to really delve into what Harbour City has to offer. Further down is an example of Louis Vuitton's beautiful display works. By the way, it was from the roof of Harbour City that I watched the amazing fireworks display on National Day. (Tsim Sha Tsui: Kowloon)

Finally, we have the Harvey Nichols Store. Again, I'm sure the designer was going for some iteration of what I saw in this facade. It was late afternoon, so the contrast wasn't ideal for photography, but in the day when shade lends a helping hand, or at night, when the lights are played up a lot more, I'll bet this transforms into a real spectacle. (Central: very near the useless escalator referred to in a prior post)

There are also a few things that were either striking or simple enough in their own right, that I simply had to get a shot off.

It looks like a combination of Easter and LEGOs. And it does both a disservice. If you're going to mess with the colors, just go all out. The building in Wan Chai is a better example of "Distinctive", than this. Alas, this is right across the street from my apartment so I've grown used to seeing it daily. (Tai Po: New Territories)

I have yet to figure out what Mega Box is, but at least they have my attention. Day-Glo lives! (Somewhere between Tai Po and Tsim Sha Tsui)

Of course there was the obvious thought of a beehive, but this is distinctive enough to get its own mention. Again, probably would have made for a better photo at night, but I'm a busy guy. I got places to go, and blogs to post.

This is a great little building that has the unfortunate fate of being stuck down in a hole amongst vastly taller buildings, but it's classy enough to deserve notice. Oh, and that big, hollow block waaaay up at the top...That's a HUGE sign advertising Canon that spins slowly 24/7, ensuring that all of Hong Kong gets an eyeful of Canon.

It looks like a billboard. Well, a joke is probably more fitting, but I feel generous tonight so we'll go with garish billboard. But just out of frame is the front door to the "Billionaire Boys Club" which is an alternative clothing and accessories store conceived of and endorsed by Pharrell Williams(about whom I know nothing)

They're taking over the world! Really. They're common in America, but they are a way of life in Hong Kong. It seems like every item is offered in every size and every color. At least they had the presence of mind to organize them by retina burning color. (This is more evidence that Day-Glo did not die in the 80's) (Lan Kwai Fong: Central)

Accross the street from the Crocs store was a sign that said a lot with a little. I walked the other way.

In the Harbour City mall, there is a Louis Vuitton shop with a very interesting, even trippy feature(for all I know, there are a few more LV's in there - it's that big). There are two panes of glass, each with an applique of a mirrored checker pattern. Perspective, motion, focus, and reflectivity conspire to make passersby wig out and stop to catch their breath. It is an uncomfortable feeling, but then, it does get attention, doesn't it? (Harbour City: Tsim Sha Tsui)

Louis Vuitton has a way with window displays that put most others to shame. In this example(who knows how many LVs exist in Hong Kong?) They've hung chains of something shiny, presumably glass, that somehow move and twinkle like a myriad of stars, or flashbulbs, whatever your fantasy. Louis aims to please. (Central District)

Denim and accessories company, Diesel, has gone in a slightly different direction from most. The bottom pattern, which looks like a quilted surface or abstracted fish-scale motif, is actually - wait for it - chain link fence. And the bronze upper portion is a series of dimpled sheets. the pattern alternates between convex and concave leading to a pattern that reminds me of something slightly more upscale. Can you guess? (Central District)

That's right. It's the Coach store right down the street. It's funny to see how big some of these companies go with their logos. Actually, scary may be a better word. (Lan Kwai Fong: Central)
That about does it. Hope you all enjoyed this. I'm glad to have gotten some of the more obscure or singular photos out onto the interweb. Look forward to a report of my great weekend soon, in addition to a report on applying for and picking up my Hong Kong ID.
Have you heard that space is quite limited in Hong Kong?