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Connecting people in shared space


A Hong Kong design firm has been offering immersive experiences since before the term became fashionable.


The Wishing Tree gives visitors an immersive Wan Chai experience

Offering immersive experiences has become more common recently, but Hong Kong design house WARE has been creating such works for nearly a decade.

Over the years, WARE has participated in various art exhibitions, joining multimedia companies in taking Hong Kong’s digital art on to the international stage.

WARE,Co-Founder Samuel Yip believes technology has played a major role in transforming exhibitions. Multimedia designs can connect people and spaces, creating innovative art technology experiences.

Light, sound and shape elements are crucial in  WARE projects. Mallory Wishes Come True, at 7 Malloy Street in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, is a prime example of this. The studio created a 4.5 metre tall wishing tree, the first of its kind in the urban area to embody the history of Wan Chai through interactive and immersive audio, visual and artistic effects.

“We worked with musicians to collect and recreate the Sounds of Wan Chai from different eras, including the sounds of the tram, street hawkers and even disco,” Mr Yip said. “Combining them with visual elements, we created a light show that guided visitors to explore the history of Wan Chai and the changing cityscape.”

The Mallory project involved various elements and required collaboration with diverse professionals, such as architects, lighting designers and musicians. As an outdoor installation, it took even more effort and time for the team to test and tackle technical issues to ensure quality.

Despite the complexity, the WARE team had the experience to pull it off and have been appointed as exhibition technical consultants for many art festivals.

They worked with the Microwave International New Media Arts Festival for eight consecutive years and helped install art pieces from all over the world, which provided the team with exposure to different kinds of digital designs and valuable experiences.

WARE creates narrative pieces, such as the showroom airbank®, an exhibition displayed in deTour 2020, set in an apocalyptic world where fresh, clean air was a luxury.

airbank® sells fresh air sourced from plants or the last remaining oases across the globe, like the Swiss Alps. To keep visitors engaged, they designed a variety of air packs with different price tags, with staff dressed in uniforms selling the air packs to visitors. The experience encouraged audience to reflect on environmental issues.

Mr Yip said authentic experiences were irreplaceable. The role of multimedia was not to replace these experiences but to connect people and space through technology.

“In the past, we followed the signs or guidance of staff in museums. Nowadays, we can create a unique experience for each visitor by using different devices, sound and lighting.”

Mr Yip believed every person felt differently about each art piece and their interaction in space. Multimedia could connect people with the space around them and let them interact with the space they are in, according to their feelings.

Find out more about Hong Kong’s design and artistic industry through DesignInspire, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s year-round design expo.

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