The Cascade

City: Hong Kong

Creator: Edge Design Institute

With an extreme density and the confines of its island terrain, Hong Kong residents are highly adept at maximizing the use of their city’s structures and surfaces. Morning Tai Chi sessions are held on the cement forecourts of large office buildings, street traders set up shop with specially crafted tables and stands which bolt on to public fences and posts, and the lighting of its waterfront corporate buildings are used for a choreographed ornate public light and sound show for the delight of tourists.

The Cascade is the manifestation of Hong Kong’s malleable relationship with its existing physical terrain. Its creators, Edge Design Institute, describe The Cascade as “an artificial landscape that responds to the unique topography of the site: a cascade of steps that creates a public thoroughfare and generates potentials for a delicately- scaled public space that have often been overlooked.”

Located at The Centrium in Hong Kong Central, The Cascade creates an aesthetically and socially engaging public space layered on top of the surface of one of the city’s countless functional stairways. Complete with Bauhinia trees, assorted greenery, individual and adjoining seating areas and a lighting scheme that changes with the area’s nighttime activities, The Cascade exists to provide a variety of private and public moments in the otherwise utilitarian commercial area, while illustrating the potential stored within public stairs everywhere. The Cascade blurs the boundary between pure artistic installation and pragmatic considerations, providing a layer of new use on top of an existing physical layer of the city.


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About Reprogramming the City

Reprogramming The City is a global exploration of ways in which existing urban objects, structures, surfaces and systems are being re-imagined, re-purposed and re-invented to do more in the city. It is about revealing the hidden potential of the urban assets we already have at hand.

Created by Urban Strategist Scott Burnham, the exhibition premiered at the Boston Society of Architects BSA Space Gallery, and is now on tour in the US and being re-created for other cities internationally.

The latest version of Reprogramming the City is being developed for the ArkDes in Stockholm, Sweden, and will launch in June 2015.

Be Part of Reprogramming the City

Email Scott Burnham at: sb [at] scottburnham [.] com for more information about hosting Reprogramming the City projects, events, talks and publications.