Golden Moon, Hong Kong
Sunday 30 Dec 2012


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Hong Kong hosts an annual design competition to invent a "Lantern Wonderland" for its hugely popular Mid-Autumn Festival. The 2012 winning entry "Golden Moon", designed by Kristof Crolla & Adam Fingrut, was built and opened to the public for 6 days in the autumn of 2012 and visited by over 400,000 people.

Golden Moon is a temporary architectural structure that explores how Hong Kong's unique building traditions and craftsmanship can be combined with contemporary design techniques in the creation of a highly expressive and captivating public event space. The Golden Moon revisits the concept of a Chinese lantern and refers to the legend of the Moon Goddess of Immortality - two elements strongly associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The 6-storey-high, spherical moon lantern is clad with abstracted flames and is placed in a reflection pool where it immerses up to 150 people in a sound and light spectacle. Traditional lantern materials, such as translucent fabric, metal wire and bamboo, have been translated to a large scale. A light-weight steel geodesic dome forms the pavilion's primary structure.

This steel structure is wrapped with a tilted, computer-generated bamboo grid - a Fibonacci sequence based grid that produces order along the equator and randomness at the poles. To materialise the grid Hong Kong's traditional bamboo scaffolding techniques were used. This highly intuitive and imprecise craft was merged with exact digital design technology: procedural modelling techniques were used for the production of simple drawings that would allow accurate installation. These drawings reworked traditional bamboo scaffolding detailing and absorbed rough installation tolerances. The grid was then clad with 450 colourful stretch fabric "flames", all lit up by over 10,000 animated LED lights.

The Golden Moon was built in only 11 days and shows how complex geometry can be built at high speed and low cost with the simplest of means. The project rethinks the premise of digital design by anchoring the paradigm in a strong materiality: preconceptions of geometry, building methods and familiar construction techniques had to be abandoned by all parties to allow for a new design and building set-up to be devised. The final pavilion used its dynamic space, unique structure, colouration, texture and light to trigger a sensuous response from the building users.

LEAD - Laboratory for Explorative Architecture & Design Ltd.