Sydney’s Glowing Beacon, Chinatown Information Kiosk

  • Maggie Tang
City of Sydney is making a difference to Sydney’s streets by instigating several innovative civic improvements. When it announced a tender to transform an old seating pagoda in the centre of Chinatown into an information kiosk, we jumped at the chance.

We created a patterned red lantern by day, which illuminates by night. A painting by the German graphic designer and painter Anton Stankowski inspired the rotating semicircular walls, which open and close to reveal a red interior that houses a wall of shelving for brochures, computer equipment, switchboard and a small fridge – every available space is used. The sliding walls protect staff from westerly sun, allow natural cross ventilation and the sole use of day lighting for sustainability measures.

We worked with the Chinese paper-cut artist Pamela Mei-Leng See, who used paper to interpret Chinese good luck proverbs. Drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese tea-making, where the chrysanthemum flowers used are a metaphor for good fortune, the hand-cut designs also feature fish and storks as symbols of prosperity and longevity.

At night, the paper is backlit by 4,000 hand-placed energy-efficient LED lights, creating a glowing beacon reminiscent of traditional Chinese illuminated red lanterns.

As lead consultant we partnered with architects Lacoste + Stevenson, and a sub-consultant team consisting of Lighting, Art & Science, Simpson Design Associates, Philip Chun, Morris Goding and Growthbuilt who built the kiosk – thank you to everyone.