This is my scratch-built diorama of an Old Hong Kong’s Chinese Restaurant in Bamboo Steamers. The model is constructed in scale 1:150, or so called N Scale. The restaurant’s Chinese name, if translated to English, is called ‘Must be Great’. It was located in Shanghai Street, Yau Mei Tei in Kowloon during the 1960s and demolished in the mid-80s. The base of the diorama is a Bamboo Steamer for Dim Sum, and the whole model is specially designed to be enclosed within two more stacked steamers and covered with the lid at the top.The restaurant is a Chinese-styled tenement houses design, often called ‘Tong Lau’. This architectural style was predominantly seen all over southern Chinese cities and town in the nineteen centuries. The building is really interesting because it has a curved corner, streamline façade and the external wall is filled with large Chinese Calligraphy for restaurant’s own advertising. The high floor to ceiling height allows large metal framed windows on the façade that is of French styling. It was a stand-alone building that functioned solely as a restaurant, and this is no longer can be seen today as modern restaurant generally occupies a rented space within a large building, such as shopping malls.
There are only less than 5 photos of this demolished restaurant circulating in the internet, but one really caught my attention is a photo taken of the restaurant from a distance in Shanghai Street, together with the two double-decker buses running pass the building. I saw this beautiful photo more than 5 years ago and it inspired me to make a model of this restaurant.
I really care about the Originality of an art concept & unique presentation of an art work, therefore the challenge is how to present this small diorama in a unique and meaningful way. As the modelling subject is about a Chinese Restaurant famous for Yum Cha, I use the traditional Bamboo Steamer which is commonly used for steamed Dim Sum, and integrate with the restaurant diorama together. Therefore, the overall coincide perfectly in both concept & meaning, and most importantly the model successfully represents the traditional Chinese Culture in a unique way.
via Flickr http://flic.kr/p/suoGrJ