The Observer

The urban population in 2014 accounted for 54% of the total global population, up from 34% in 1960, and continues to grow; spaces in cities become a premium. Hong Kong is a city with a high population density and a lack of public space. How can we encourage ‘wasted’ space to be inhabited by form and function in Hong Kong?


The Observer is an installation nested in the old streets of Hong Kong, which invites passers-by to inhabit a piece of unused public area of one square metre. The Observer was conceived from the movement of the body, entering and moving around the space. The mapping of the body movement was inspired by the shadows of trees in the area.


Referring to traditional Japanese joinery methods, the Observer is held together by hidden dowel joints which can be prefabricated and constructed on site, creating an efficient, discrete and flawless finish.


The projections are in two directions - the sky, and the staircase below. The geometrical complexity of the structure allows it to become a focal point in its vicinity, above the pedestrians on Ladder Street. To achieve a simple corner with one single point on a geometric shape requires all pieces of timber to be chamfered at different angles. Mock-ups were produced before further analysing with CAD programs to produce refined corners.