Discovering cute faces exist everywhere
You just have to know where to look
FriendsWithYou ‘Happy World’ Art Project
Sept 23 – Oct 31 2021
With the weather cooling, we made a special day trip out to explore our city. Sometimes it’s nice to pretend to be tourists for the day. Throughout the last month, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has been highlighting the West Kowloon neighbourhood through the “Happy World” art project by FriendsWithYou. The event guides visitors using their website to various points of interest around West Kowloon with a host of super cute characters decorating the locations either as giant art installations or interactive AR photo opportunities. The entire event was just too cute to ignore for our family as we are always incredibly smitten by anything kawaii #cuteradar
Happy World had included two giant art installations. One at the West Kowloon Art Park had to be dismantled due to two (yes two) consecutive typhoons hitting us just as we went into mid-term break at school. So while we still headed out a few weeks ago to see if anything was still on display, we were sadly greeted with the dismal view of the clean up crew packing away the remains of the huge inflatables (yes I know, how could I have thought they would have survived a typhoon). Please take a look at their website (scroll down for links) to see just how adorable the installation was and why we are so sad to have missed it by just days.
Fortunately there is still a second giant art installation and this one is built of bricks and mortar. The entire Hong Kong Space Museum dome has been transformed into Hong Kong’s iconic snack food, the Pineapple Bun, thanks to the largest and cutest smily face ever. The installation includes AR experiences along the Avenue of Stars which is a stone throw from the Space dome so we decided to make a day of it and head out for what my children deemed “a cutie adventure”.
Using the website, the boys first decided they needed to create their own ‘cutie’ treasure map of the locations we would need to visit. A rough hand-drawn sketch was done by both kids, backpacks loaded with jackets and water bottles as we headed out by MTR to Central for the first stop of our adventure: Star Ferry Central Pier. Taking the Star Ferry is by far one of the most iconic things to-do in Hong Kong and it is by far the most enjoyable and cost-effective ways to visit West Kowloon, avoiding the need for parking or taxis. It amazes me the ferry only costs HKD2.50 for adults.
The Star Ferry upper and lower deck are boarded from different floors of the Star Ferry Pier. You cannot move between the floors once you have boarded. Check the signs and enter from the ground floor for the lower deck seats or go upstairs to board the upper deck. We prefer to sit on the upper deck for the better views!
Once we alighted the ferry at TST, we headed straight towards the Victorian Harbour waterfront towards the Hong Kong Space Museum. On the walk there, we passed Hong Kong landmarks that would usually be buzzing with tourist crowds, but today were very quiet, a ramification of the ongoing pandemic. The Clock Tower stands overshadowed by the Hong Kong Cultural Centre next door, a great location for the boys to try out some parkour skills along the sloped walls. Continuing along the waterfront, we next passed the newly renovated Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA) with its beautiful modern facade and architecture.
The Hong Kong Space Museum sits right next to the entrance of the HKMoA and we collectively picked up a beat in our step as the smiling face of the giant dome loomed before us. With their mission to brighten and bring joy to the world, HappyWorld definitely achieved that with this simple way to bring happiness: a pair of eyes and a smile. In front of the huge smiling face, we were able to try the AR experience via their website and take photos and videos with different Happy World characters. The software was not very reliable but the novelty was still worth our persistence with the occasionally crashes.
From here we explored the HKMoA bookstore which was filled with amazing treasures such as pretty locally designed letterpress cards featuring Hong Kong foods to exquisitely illustrated children’s pop-up books.
Next stop was the Avenue of Stars that stretches further along the iconic Hong Kong harbour front. We followed the many Happy World cuties painted on the ground leading us along the boardwalk that is famed for the plaques displaying the many famous artists, actors and creatives of the Hong Kong movie world. Multiple locations along the walk were AR opportunities to take photos with up to 10 beaming and wiggling golden cutie stars.
It was the perfect day to be out by the water, a huge junk boat sailed across the water in front of us to complete the postcard worthy scene, its red sails emblazoned against the backdrop of the Hong Kong city skyline.
The only thing left to do after this was to head indoors for a quick refreshment at one of the many food choices inside the K11 Musea Shopping Mall before taking the Star Ferry back across the harbour at dusk, in time for dinner and bedtime.
There is just one week left of the Happy World exhibit and I really urge everyone to go check it out while the weather is so wonderful. It is amazing how just adding a cute smile to inanimate objects completely lifts the mood and changes the environment from sombre to one filled with joy and whimsy.
Now if you don’t mind, I’m off to go add more of my own cutie faces to stuff around the house.