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There are a number of cultural embellishments that have or will be installed into Chinatown which will ensure that the area is rooted in tradition but reflects a modern Asia aesthetic. These include:
Three Paifang gateways will mark the entries to the heart of Chinatown and will represent the City’s relationship with our Chinese sister cities and partner organisations. The gateways will represent the Feng Shui meanings of Harmony, Harvest and Wealth.
Beihai City provided an artistic conceptual design for the Harmony Paifang. The concept is in the Han Dynasty style, which has over 2,000 years of history in their region of China. The Harmony Paifang forms two towers that mark the eastern entrance to Chinatown, on the corner of Young and Scarborough Streets. The City celebrated this traditional Chinese gateway at an official unveiling with representatives of Beihai City and the Chinese Consul-General in early 2016. This is the first of the three Paifang to be installed in Chinatown, with designs of the next two gates currently underway.
Lanterns and projection imagery
The unique lanterns and projection imagery draw inspiration from traditional and contemporary Chinese design and culture, as well as the local Gold Coast context.
The lanterns reflect the Feng Shui colours of Gold Coast Chinatown, being: Red – Wealth, Gold – Double Happiness, Blue – Harmony and Green – Harvest. The patterns on the lanterns are inspired by fireworks, the explosive sequences of light and colour that are a traditional celebration of many Chinese festivals. Red knots at the base of the large red lanterns and the gold lanterns are inspired by Chinese knots traditionally used in festivals. The community will be able to embellish the knots during festivals with tassels.
In conjunction with UAP’s China and Australia offices, the lanterns were designed by artist Belinda Smith, and projection artwork (Chinese streetscape and real street life imagery) were designed by artists Belinda Smith and Alexander Adam, with photography by Jamie Perrow.
Chinatown is the home of the City’s statue of the great Chinese philosopher Confucius, which was donated to the City by Jining City in Shandong Province, the birthplace of Confucius.
“Pandamonium” is half panda and half koala statue and was donated by Mr Ted Fong, Executive President of the Gold Coast Chinese Club Inc and founding member and Chairman of Gold Coast Chinatown Association. The statue reflects the similarities between China and Australia’s national icons – both irresistible and vulnerable. “Pandamonium” was designed by artists David Renn and John Cox as part of the Currumbin Wildlife Hospital Foundation’s “Animals with Attitude Sculpture Trail”.
Other artwork, both ephemeral and permanent, will continue to appear as Chinatown evolves; including street art, a community piano and laneway sculptures.
Street furniture within Chinatown provides a subtle cultural embellishment that references the Chinese dragon, a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. The patterns created by the flow of water over sand in the Broadwater also form a link to the scales and movement of the dragon, a reptilian pattern re-surfacing throughout the Gold Coast. These patterns have been carved into the granite furniture suite. Polished brass is used as a highlight on the furniture, as gold is considered the most beautiful and auspicious colour in Chinese culture as well as being a direct reference to the Gold Coast. The brass is also used in the single seats in the shapes of Chinese rice bowls and tea cups.
Streetscape improvements were completed by the City in 2014, including widened footpaths, new footpath and street lighting, landscaping reflecting Feng Shui principals, event power and water connections, upgrades to underground services, undergrounding of overhead power lines and flush kerb and channels. The streetscape design facilitates Chinatown to hold large scale events.
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