Hong Kong

Billboard swing set

Article: Billboard swing set

This billboard converted into a swing has been circulating around the blogosphere but I think its particular blend of imaginative urban design, architecture, and playfulness would appeal and resonate with our classy readers here. Conceptualized and created by Didier Faustino for Bureau des Mésarchitectures, “Double Happiness” was presented at the 2008 Shenzhen & Hong Kong…

Vimeo of the Week: HK Honey

Article: Vimeo of the Week: HK Honey

Nokia – HK Honey from The Silentlights on Vimeo. The above film, HK HONEY, is about the organization of the same name. HK Honey is a group of beekeepers and designers who intend to illustrate the need for bees within our worlds. The thought of bees and designers living together, at first, is an odd…

Architect creates 24 rooms in a 344 square foot apartment

Article: Architect creates 24 rooms in a 344 square foot apartment

Hong Kong based architect Gary Chang designed a stunning and inspiring multi-purpose home that maximizes every inch of space available in his 344 square foot apartment. What he calls his “domestic transformer,” his apartment can be reconfigured into 24 different rooms and uses, including a screening room with a hammock. This is accomplished by creatively…

Big Picture: Earth Hour 2010

Article: Big Picture: Earth Hour 2010

Favorite photo blog The Big Picture at the Boston Globe posted a gorgeous series of 26 before-and-after photographs from cities around the world participating in this year’s Earth Hour where lights are turned off for an hour on Saturday March 27 at 8:30 PM local time to “to raise awareness about climate change and the…

Competitive pen spinning

Article: Competitive pen spinning

Back in high school, my classmates and I noticed that our biology teacher was doing this neat pen-spinning hand trick while she was lecturing. Afterwards, we bugged her to teach us and for the next couple of weeks, we drove everyone nuts as we tried to learn this trick. We finally succeeded and we thought…

ASIA EXTREME: Roots of the Extreme

Article: ASIA EXTREME: Roots of the Extreme

Though the ‘Asia Extreme’ moniker has only been around since 2005, Asian cinema, particularly from Hong Kong and Japan, has a long and illustrious history with cutting edge genre fare, and has been producing and distributing envelope-pushing films for nearly fifty years. While these films rarely found a home outside of their native countries, their taboo-busting efforts were not unnoticed at home where they had loyal and dedicated followers.

ASIA EXTREME: Economically viable auteurism and the films of Johnnie To

Article: ASIA EXTREME: Economically viable auteurism and the films of Johnnie To

Equally as comfortable with broad slapstick humor as he is with brooding psychological drama or straight-up genre films, Johnnie To is one of the (if not the) hardest working producer/directors in the Hong Kong film industry. A genuine auteurist who also knows how to create a crowd-pleasing hit, To’s career began in television back in the 1970s. Turning to cinema towards the end of the 80s, he spent the next seven years churning out a sizeable number of genre films – everything from comedy, action, suspense, and melodramas both large and small. Most of these films found a fair amount of success at the box office, but none were runaway hits. (The closest was THE HEROIC TRIO, which featured the dream leading-lady trifecta of Michelle Yeoh, Anita Mui, and Maggie Cheung.)
In 1996 he partnered with writer/producer/director Wai Ka-fai and formed Milkyway Image, a production company that allowed for the freedom to direct the kind of films that appealed to them. Early titles, such as WHERE A GOOD MAN GOES and A HERO NEVER DIES were decidedly different than typical Hong Kong fare of the time. These were darker stories, with a greater emphasis on character than on action. As liberating as that freedom was, To soon realized he’d have to find a balance in order to remain commercially viable, so he and Wai decided on an alternating pattern – “one film for the audience, one film for us”. (Example – The somewhat abstract and dark, complex crime film FULLTIME KILLER versus the lightweight, audience-friendly RomCom NEEDING YOU.) Yet even within his mainstream films, which strictly adhered to genre convention, To still managed to insert enough signature directorial flourishes to distinguish them from the multitude of titles flooding the market at that time.