Texture Everywhere

Tiled floor

In Douglas Young‘s new book, My HK, the designer/entrepreneur — responsible for the Hong Kong Design Museum I wrote about earlier this year — gives special praise to the kitschy patterned tiles that became popular in postwar Hong Kong. They’re cheap, easy to clean, well-suited to Hong Kong’s humid climate and they liven up what could otherwise be drab and monotone. I also like them for the way they liven up the straight lines and plain surfaces of Hong Kong’s early modern architecture.

This entry was written by Christopher DeWolf , posted on Friday August 28 2009at 04:08 am , filed under Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, Interior Space and tagged . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to “Texture Everywhere”

  • I never noticed these in HK, but the pattern in this photo at least seems a bit Portuguese — I wonder if it was inspired by the tilework in Macau.

  • The more I explore out-of-the-way (and hence un-renovated) parts of Hong Kong, and the more I look at old photos of it from the 1960s and 70s, the more I realize that until the 1980s, Hong Kong looked a lot like Macau. The old shophouses with arcaded sidewalks, the tilework, the caged windows and balconies — all of that was common here, too, but mostly obliterated by renovation and redevelopment in the 80s and 90s. Macau, by contrast, was relatively stagnant during that time. I’m sure a more relaxed approach to building codes has something to do with it too.

    Of course, that isn’t meant to discount the Portuguese influence felt in Macau’s architecture and urban form, but it does share a common design vernacular with Hong Kong. More than once I’ve heard Macau referred to as a time-warp of old Hong Kong life.