Thursday, December 14, 2006

You Just Have to Think Architecturally

Northern Planner had a great little post on architecture the other day. It reminded just how much I love it, and how it can be an amazing tool of communication. How it can demonstrate power, thinking, forward (or backward) movement, and sheer attitude.

Possibly the most striking building in the world is the Bank of China tower in Hong Kong. Its bold, iconic, and contentious. Hong Kong architecture is a battleground of positive and negative Feng Shui. The BoC tower has sharp angles that give out negative energy and push it out of the points (one of which faces the old British governors mansion, to which they build a pond in the way to deflect said energy after a death was blamed on the negative energy from the building).

The BoC tower:

The HSBC Building, with real working guns (I am reliably imformed by a HK resident) on the top left aimed directly at the Bank of China tower. Note those guns are NOT on the HSBC building image on HSBC bank notes:

Now see just how close they are. Try coming up with a convincing (hehe) argument that these buildings do not represent a HUGE piece of brand communication in the region, more so than most advertising ever does...:


Anonymous said...

The best way to sum up 94.678% of Asia is that everything - and I mean everything - has a meaning behind it. If you don't understand it, you don't get anywhere with it.

The buildings you highlight are symbols of strength, power and values and I love that the HSBC building can - in theory - be taken apart and rebuilt somewhere else. [ie: if China stops allowing HK an element of cultural freedom]

Archetecture has long been one of the greatest symbols of communication and I am shocked less companies understand it's power.

I mean, there's a specific reason the Twin Towers were targeted by the terrorists, and not just because they were 'big'.

Communication is waaaaaaaay more than a 30" TVC - and while people talk it, very few walk it.

Anonymous said...


There are so many great pieces of architecture in asia. Particularly Shanghai.

Honest to god, walking out to the bay in Hong Kong at night for the first time was probably the single most amazing sight of my entire life. I literally was lost for words.

You are very right about the meanings. Everything in China/HK has some kind of meaning, down to numbers (I am being made to change our new house phone number as it ended in 8242 (which means get rich and you die!) to something else.

Being in HK for New Year (Chinese) is really interesting too

Anonymous said...

Hi Mate ... does this mean you ARE going to be in HK for CNY or that you have been in HK for CNY?

Let me know because maybe we can meet there instead of Sheffield, ha!

Anonymous said...

Was there last year.
If only I could afford to be there this year...

Was in a hotel just outside Victoria park where the BIG celebrations are; was mad trying to get anywhere the day before new year!

Maybe we could try and organise a Northern Planning meeting somewhere more convenient like Manchester or Birmingham? OR even have a "Northern Planning goes to London" trip... if it means watchng you and Andy bitch at each other its well worth the effort!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry - we'll come 'oop North' - it's 'home' to me and makes Andy feel very uncomfortable, ha!

Anonymous said...

Im sure he'll love it up here. Its just like being down south only more polite and accented... ;)

Anonymous said...

I'll wear my best flatcap.

Anonymous said...

I once bought him a pipe, flatcap and a framed picture of a racing pigeon and his comments were unprintable - even for a censorship free blog.

It's one of the best pressies I've ever bought, ha!

Age said...

The fact that they have real guns pointing at their oppositions building is so kick ass. Hilarious message being communicated there.

Rob Mortimer (aka Famous Rob) said...

Isnt it just.
I like the fact that they are SO bold, they remove them from the bank notes!