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‘City Gallery’ Exhibition Design by MET Studio

The new ‘City Gallery’ in Hong Kong takes as its theme the city’s planning and infrastructure. London- and Hong-Kong-based experiential designers MET Studio acted as the lead exhibition consultant on the project. They have worked in collaboration with joint venture partners Oval Partnership, whilst all architectural works were by the Architectural Services Department, HKSAR Government.

The new gallery saw the City Hall Annex building renovated and adapted from office use to become a dedicated 3,200 sq m planning exhibition venue, with the 1,500 sq m gallery created from an extension of an existing gallery space on the ground floor. As well as the permanent exhibition areas, the venue also now includes a major introductory audio visual show space, which will double as an events and seminar multi-purpose hall. There is a further new space for thematic exhibitions on the ground floor and an integrated resource centre on the fourth floor.

“The limited footprint and restricted ceiling height of the existing building created a number of design challenges that were met with creative innovation”, explained MET Studio Design Director Neil Williams, who works from MET Studio’s dedicated Hong Kong office. Vertical connections have been added in key locations joining floors, with slots and view paths and openings were added in unusual areas to create a dynamic and complex space for visitors to explore.

“There were three main focus elements to the design”, Neil Williams added. “The first was to evoke the collective memory of Hong Kong residents via uniquely Hong Kong features, including red market lighting, neon signage and old metal folding gates, so that the exhibition would resonate strongly with local people and create a sense of immediate ownership of the space. The second was to create spaces that were complex and challenging to encourage visitors to explore and to revisit the exhibit, whilst the third was to make the information flow two-way with feedback built into the exhibit design, reflecting the open and engaging nature of the planning process.”

Alex McCuaig, Chairman of MET Studio added, “We are delighted to have completed this complex and challenging project, which also highlights our company’s long and successful interaction with the city of Hong Kong, where we have designed many major visitor centres and corporate showrooms over our thirty-year history as a design agency, from Telecom World and the Drug Info Centre to the Hong Kong Wetland Park.”

Factual Information:

Location: 3 Edinburgh Place, Central, Hong Kong
Client: Planning Department, HKSAR Government
Architect/Project Mgr: Architectural Services Department, HKSAR Government
Exhibition Design: MET Studio with Oval Partnership
Identity Design: Kan & Lau Design Consultants
Timeframe: 2008 – 2012
Size: 1,500 sq m (exhibition area) / 3,200 sq m (total area)
Contract Sum (exhibition): HK$48,500,000

M&E Consultant: CSA (M&E) Ltd
AV Consultant: Ihd Ltd
Lighting Consultant: Creative Lighting Asia Ltd
Graphics Consultant: Hybrid Ltd

Main Contractor and Sub-contractors:
Main Contractors: Wing-Hing (architecture) / Hypsos (exhibition)
Film Production: Yu+Co [LAB] Ltd
Audio Visual Hardware: PCCW
Model Making: RJ Models

Photography by Philipp Engelhorn

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