First Photographs of Hong Kong Exhibition

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Design Systems Ltd. created a theme that intends to deliver a closely-intertwined retrospection of both Hong Kong photography and architecture.

Project description:

As the opening exhibition of the Hong Kong Photo Festival 2010, the “First Photographs of Hong Kong” Exhibition, held at the Former Central Police Station Compound, presents a hundred of old photos of Hong Kong, which have captured the birth of Hong Kong photography during the years from 1858 to 1875. Returning from Europe and America, the photos contain the oldest one according to authentic records.

Since the 147-year-old Former Central Police Station Compound is a declared monument, the design process encountered further limitations in addition to the low budget. The construction of the design was not allowed to include renovation, fixing and any acts that would cause potential damages to the original interior.

In the old days, the Central District of Hong Kong was called “Victoria City” governed by Britain and thus full of Victorian colonial structures, among which the exhibition site is a typical representative. Therefore, the design theme, built upon the compound of ‘camera’ and ‘colonial structures’, intends to deliver a closely-intertwined retrospection of both Hong Kong photography and architecture.

Outside the exhibition hall, a series of molds of flashlight indicators are set as guiding signs to the entrance where a giant white mold of camera awaits. Standing in front of it, visitors can see the superimposing images of the black and white photo of Hong Kong’s early look shown on the camera and the present exterior of the Compound. Such setting carries the implied connection between the concepts that visitors view the old Hong Kong through the giant camera and that they discover the history of Hong Kong photography through this exhibition.

The focal point of the exhibition – the oldest photo of Hong Kong according to authentic records – is arranged on a display stage which is designed as an indoor rotunda, whereas the other exhibits are displayed on many house-shaped display stands in white, imitating Victorian colonial structures in the past. On the whole, while the exhibition hall is displaying the historical photos of Hong Kong, it also presents an epitome of “Victoria City”.

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