Maritime elements have long defined the city of Hong Kong. With it origin as a modest fishing village, Hong Kong has evolved into a bustling international city with a diverse terrain of landscapes, seascapes industries and communities. Some may call Hong Kong a concrete jungle, but a Hong Konger knows that our views and experiences are shaped by ferries, ships, harbours, and seas. Hong Kong’s Maritime Miracle: The Story of Our City Since 1945 is an exhibition that visualises the evolution of Hong Kong’s history through a maritime lens.
The creation of the exhibition’s visual identity stems from the idea that maritime factors have driven Hong Kong’s history and development as a global hub. The exhibition’s creative direction is anchored in its main visual element, a three-dimensional transparent ship’s wheel, which is used to steer a vessel and control the course of its journey.
Rotating imagery and animated text are superimposed onto the transparent wheel, guiding the viewer through decades of Hong Kong’s maritime history. The stylistic choice of a transparent wheel is both functional and symbolic—it seamlessly links the helm to key visual information and hints at a contemporary interpretation of maritime history. Colour adds an additional layer of meaning to the exhibition’s visual identity: the main colour, a vivid royal blue, conveys the richness of Hong Kong’s maritime history, while the supporting colours assigned to each section of the exhibition range from dark to light and represent both the tumultuous and prosperous periods of Hong Kong’s history.
“Five Islands” of the exhibition
As the exhibition is ambitiously displayed over 25 main exhibits and a multitude of maritime artefacts spanning over seven decades of history, the arrangement and flow of the space is a crucial element of the exhibition’s design. The exhibition space is divided into five ‘islands’, each of which represents a period. With the help of graphic floor guides, visitors are led on a chronological journey through the decades.
At the same time, the island-like spatial arrangement also allows for free-flowing movement throughout the space for visitors who wish to chart their own routes through the Colours in the key visual are used to categorise the islands, with a unique colour assigned to each island representing a specific period. The exterior walls of each section are kept white, while the interiors walls are fully painted, creating a visual explosion of colours inside each section. Title banners in corresponding colours are hung above each section entrance, allowing visitors to clearly distinguish and locate the sections of the exhibit. Supporting graphics are directly related to and inspired by maritime elements. The graphic floor guides echo the symbols and visual language used in nautical maps, and the design of the floor directory placed near the entrance is inspired by a ship’s compass.
The Journey Continues With You
Much thought and planning have gone into the exhibition work to achieve the ultimate mission of enhancing awareness of the significance of maritime history in Hong Kong and how it affects many aspects of our lives daily. From our heritage and legacy to matters often overlooked— such as our complex supply chains that rely on maritime infrastructure— maritime history is a rich tapestry that connects us all. This core notion is woven throughout the entire narrative of the exhibition and culminates at the end of the visitor's journey in the form of an immersive light tunnel with a single message at the end that reads ‘The Journey Continues With You.’ Hong Kong’s Maritime Miracle is a time capsule for Hong Kong that goes beyond maritime history—it is a celebratory marker of Hong Kong in this day and age and hopes to be a beacon of what is yet to come. The future is unclear but full of exciting possibilities, and it is up to the next generation of Hong Kongers to steer our helm.
“Hong Kong’s Maritime Miracle: The Story of Our City since 1945”
Date: 24 June 2022 to 30 October 2022
Monday - Friday: 0930 - 1730
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10:00-19:00
Venue: Hong Kong Maritime Museum Special Exhibitions & Events Gallery and Long Gallery
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