Monday, 3 December 2012

Christmas: The Hong Kong Version

Santa Claus is checking his list at the Mandarin
Christmas decorations are coming up fast and furious in Hong Kong.

Yesterday Cheung Kong was one of the last few buildings to put up Christmas lights while the shopping malls and other office buildings are in full swing.

Shall we do a quick round up of who's are pretty and who's are weird?

A knitted forest with reindeer at IFC mall in Central
In the strange category is IFC mall in Central which has the theme of "Forest Fantasy" --  there are reindeer with massive antlers and lots of squirrels and foxes in white in a forest covered in... yarn. While we love the intricate design of covering massive armchairs in cable knits, what do these pieces of furniture have to do with the forest?

And then at Elements in Kowloon station they have created a scaled-down display compared to last year. In 2011, the Christmas-themed display was literally floor-to-ceiling and had a gigantic throne theme a la C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We wondered who was supposed to sit there... Santa Claus, Mrs Claus, and ? Or were they harking back to Harry Potter and the houses of Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin?

Brilliant colours at Elements but what's with the toadstools?
This year the mall presented a fantasy garden theme, with a large green tree sprouting long twisted limbs, surrounded by massive red flowers and red and white toadstools, reindeer and some Christmas trees. We like the brilliant use of colour, but toadstools? How are these poisonous fungi Christmas related? Nevertheless we appreciate the effort to create something less intimidating than last year.

Then further along in the mall is a weird living room set up that is completely wrapped a la Christo in a haphazard selection of knits. The "fireplace", coffee table, the floor and even the baby grand piano are covered in these funky knits that don't quite exude a festive feeling.

Funky living room setup for Christmas at Elements
On the "wall" it says, "Happiness is an Inside Job". Huh?

Or are they promoting a DIY Christmas crafty thing? Then we wouldn't be spending money in a mall, would we?

Meanwhile at the Mandarin Oriental cake shop, there's a massive sculpture made of marzipan of Santa Claus going over his very long list with his elves getting ready for Christmas Eve. we like that he isn't dressed in his red suit yet. But in another display window is a beautiful three-layered cake... made entirely of pink marzipan ribbon.

We appreciate the intricacies in creating such a piece... but don't quite understand the meaning of it. Perhaps it's more appropriate for Valentine's Day?

Check out the moving gondola up above at The Landmark
This year Landmark has a massive "snow" mountain and on top of it is a small but working gondola. Wow. If they had automated figures that skied down the hill, now that would be impressive.

However the mall periodically has ice carvers creating something out of block of ice using chainsaws which is interesting. It's an art where you have to work fast otherwise it's melted by the time you're done.

Nearby is Chater Garden where the Christmas event is sponsored this year by Tiffany & Co. The jeweller built a working carousel for people (ie children) to ride on and there's a small gift shop to buy candy. Too bad no Tiffany jewellery-inspired candy as I can't afford the real thing.

Kids in front of the Tiffany-coloured carousel at Chater Garden
We wonder if corporatizing a public space is a good idea. Does Chater Garden really belong to Hong Kong Land? If it isn't owned by the company, is Hong Kong Land renting the space?

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