“Mallory Wishes Come True” City’s First Interactive Wishing Tree Brings Pizzazz to 7 Mallory Street Revitalisation Project in Wan Chai
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) held the opening ceremony of “Mallory Wishes Come True” on 17 December 2021 at 7 Mallory Street (M7) in Wan Chai, which became the first community event after the venue was given a new operating position with the theme of “Building Culture, Connecting Lives”. The re-positioned M7 unveiled Hong Kong’s first interactive neon “wishing tree”. The 4.5 m tall “wishing tree” was set up at M7’s public open space to showcase the history of Wan Chai through sophisticated and interactive audio and visual effects in an immersive way, bringing a new experience to the visitors.
The URA’s “Mallory Wishes Come True” wishing tree lighting ceremony was officiated by Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing; Chairman of the Antiquities Advisory Board, Mr Douglas So; District Officer of the Wan Chai District Office, Mr Rick Chan; Chairperson of the URA’s Planning, Development and Conservation Committee, Dr Lee Ho-yin, and the representative of the former owner of No. 6-8 Burrows Street, Mr Peter Wong.
Managing Director of the URA, Ir Wai Chi-sing, said at the ceremony, “This interactive ‘wishing tree’ embodies the story of Wan Chai and brings to M7 three new elements. First, combining tradition with innovation to create Hong Kong’s only state-of-the-art ‘wishing tree’ using multimedia computer programming. Secondly, repositioning M7 to embrace the concept of blending the old and the new and connecting the people and the place, and become a community building in Wan Chai with diverse offerings for all of Hong Kong to enjoy. Finally, reinforcing M7’s new image with a fresh logo arising from a logo design competition, which attracted local tertiary students to participate. I hope the new business strategies derived from the views of different stakeholders can inject an innovation spirit into the century-old building.”
Visitors can make a wish at the wishing tree by touching the “seed of hope” at the centre of the tree, which will generate computerised lighting effects in multi-colour hues. A special sound effect will also be played to indicate that the wishes have been received. Furthermore, the aerial “roots” of the wishing tree are embedded with sensors, which will activate audio and visual effects whenever well-wishers interact with these “roots”, creating a light and sound ensemble.
“Mallory Wishes Come True” is open to the public from 18 December 2021. (For details, please visit M7’s website “https://mallory.ura-vb.org.hk”).
In addition, there will be a presentation of the “Mallory Symphony” Light Show at 6:30 pm, 7:30 pm and 8:30 pm every night. The music is composed by a young musician who chose a collection of sounds permeating the city throughout the past century and interspersed the score with multimedia visual effects. It gives the audience an immersive experience and draws them to explore the different architectural features of the historical buildings clusters and Hong Kong’s changing cityscape.
At the “wishing tree” lighting ceremony, the URA also held a prize presentation ceremony for the “M7 Logo Design Competition”. In November this year, the contest called for local tertiary students to demonstrate their creative flair and design a new logo for M7. Workshops and guided tours of Wan Chai were arranged to help prepare the contestants with logo design and learn about the characteristics of M7 and Wan Chai so that they can apply this knowledge to portray M7 in their styles.
Most of the 28 design entries showcased local characteristics, its history, and the idea of preserving a living legacy. The winning logo design by Ms Ophelia Lau, a student from the Hong Kong Community College, captured the silhouette of the row of shophouses and their undulating rooftops and splashed an array of colours to symbolise the interaction between the old and the new creatively. The URA will make reference to the winning design concept to launch a new logo for M7 soon. All design entries from the “M7 Logo Design Competition” are also on display until 9 January 2022 at the M7 exhibition area on the third floor.
M7 is one of the preservation and revitalisation projects of the URA, comprising a cluster of 10 pre-war Grade II historic buildings built in the 1910s. Upon completing preservation and revitalisation work, M7 is now a community hub providing retail outlets, food and beverages services, and community space in Wan Chai. M7 is part of Wan Chai promoting cultural discovery, exchanges between old and new, everyday living, and neighbourhood networks.
The URA has taken over the operation and management of M7 since 2018. After extensive consultation, the URA has set a new positioning for the project, "7 Mallory Street: where culture meets community". The four patterns on the wishing tree describe the new strategies of M7. These patterns represent Cultural Discovery, Nurturing Exchanges, Everyday Life, and Neighbourly Networks respectively. These goals formed M7 into a place where Hong Kong local culture and Wan Chai traditions meet. Using innovative ways to express old and new culture, a historical building where “Blending of the old and new, connecting the people and the place” happens.
Stepping into 2022, the URA is preparing for more events, such as the themed exhibitions during Hong Kong Arts Month and creative workshops that combine traditional craftsmanship with the new generation. The URA team welcomes diversified partners and tenants in promoting different community and innovation projects.