It may be difficult to visualise a prominent art piece smack in the
heart of bustling Mong Kok, better known for brothels and cheap and
cheerful fashion than its cultural atmosphere.
But a towering new bronze stick-man sculpture is about to change that.
The 2,700-kilogram figure called Happy Man, was installed on Tuesday
by its American designer Larry Bell outside the soon-to-open Langham
Place shopping centre.
Together with the polished glass surfaces of the Langham Place
complex, which comprises a 15-storey shopping centre, a five-star
hotel and 59-storey office towers, the sculpture is set to become a
new icon in the old and colourful district. Happy Man, so named by
Langham Place architect Brian Honda, is number 26 in a group of 27
similar figures in Bell's "Sumer" collection.
Born of spontaneous sketches, the collection was named Sumer for its
links to ancient Sumerian culture.
"The Sumerians first invented bronze and this is my first bronze
project," Bell, 65, said. "Their calligraphy [like my figures] also
consisted of a lot of triangular forms."
"It's a crazy and fun area," Bell said of Mong Kok. "The sculpture
is casual and spontaneous, so I thought it was a good combination."
The sculpture will welcome shoppers into the glossy shopping centre
due to open next month. The mall features more than 300 retailers
targeting the young and trendy, and boasts such novelties as Hong
Kong's longest indoor escalators, a Digital Sky, where computerised
images are projected on to the ceiling, and a bold facade design
called The Rock.
The complex also includes Kowloon's tallest office towers and a
42-storey futuristic hotel.
Langham Place is part of a 15-year urban redevelopment project.
Dev-eloper Great Eagle Holdings spent HK$10.5 billion to complete the
1.8 million square-foot project.
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