Happiness Here

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  • 2019

  • Architectural
    Urban

Designed By:

  • Hikoko Ito
  • Sun Chan

Commissioned By:

Art Promotion Office

Leisure and Cultural Services Department

The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Designed In:

Hong Kong

Inspired by paper-folding and paper-cutting (art forms used in expressions of wishes for happiness), adorned with artistic motifs of the Chinese character 「樂」for “happiness” and “happy icons” created by local primary school children, the seating serves to inspire us to seek joy in the little things and moments in life.


  • CHALLENGE
  • SOLUTION
  • IMPACT
  • MORE
  • As a public seating, it shall be visually pleasing and act as a focal point that would attract and welcome people. As a landmark created especially for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's establishment, it ought to be celebratory, memorable and possesses an optimistic character that leads the city to look towards the future.

  • Given the prime site (right in front of the prominent headquarters of the Hong Kong government) and the significant occasion, this piece of urban park fixture is meant to be a special statement as well as a design solution. The paper-cutting component together with the art motifs created from Chinese character provides cultural relevance that resonates with the local people; while its paper-folding form and the light-hearted “happy icons” invite positive associations and evoke cheerful emotions.

  • Not only does the seating fulfill functional /aesthetic purposes and embrace community involvements; it also contains culture-specific elements that Hongkongers can identify with and relate to. Most of all, it conveys meaning, a much-needed message of happiness to encourage positivity in a city that repeatedly fell short on the global ranking of happiness level, and hopefully helps make Hong Kong become a more joyful city in the coming years.

  • The canopy’s paper-cutting-like “happiness” art motifs are derived from original works of the respected Chinese character artist Sun Chan (designer's late father). They form a kind of ornamentation that captures the changing effects of sunlight. The symbolic interplay of light and shade highlights the duality (brightness/darkness, yin/yang) in life at the same time brings an ever-changing appearance and a poetic dimension to the urban park fixture. When it comes to happiness, small children are often our best teachers. Through several workshops held in Jan-Mar 2017, kids from local primary schools had created fifty graphic emblems titled“happy icons” (from the things that make them happy) which were then engraved onto the white marble seating. Shadows cast by the former upon the latter yields a calming and contemplative atmosphere. It forges a silent dialogue between authors of the two generations that touches its users on deeper spiritual levels. What also makes this work special is its infusion of cultural references (origami, paper-cutting) that are drawn from the designer’s mixed (Japanese-Chinese) heritage. The adoption of Sun Chan’s “happiness” art motifs is indeed the designer’s tribute to her beloved late father who passed away the same year she was commissioned for this project.