AttractionsNew collaboration encourages explorations in the neighbourhoods, set up with immersive art installations.

Hong Kong wants to be FriendsWithYou

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12 giant FriendsWithYou inflatable installations will take up temporary residence until 14 October in the Art Park of the West Kowloon neighbourhood.
12 giant FriendsWithYou inflatable installations will take up temporary residence until 14 October in the Art Park of the West Kowloon neighbourhood.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) wants to spread some love, fun and tourist action with its latest interactive art installations within its West Kowloon neighbourhood.

Teaming up with FriendsWithYou — an imaginative pop art concept by Samuel Borkson from the US and Arturo Sandoval III from Cuba, these happy characters have been taking local and international audiences on a virtual journey across Hong Kong, via online flash mob videos, AR interactive experiences, and gigantic art installations.

The collection, Happy World, features a family of brightly-coloured characters, including the lead character Little Cloud which now sits as a huge inflatable sculpture in Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKDC), joining other characters, including Rainbow Worm, Jelly, Hug Bug, and Peanut Butter.

The group will hop around Hong Kong's iconic landmarks and attractions, including the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Avenue of Stars, Hong Kong's trams, the Star Ferry, and Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market.

Visitors can scan QR codes displayed at these locations with their phones, and the FriendsWithYou characters will 'appear' to take them on an in-depth tour of West Kowloon and introduce its arts and cultural highlights. The characters can even pose for selfies with visitors.

Those who can't yet travel to Hong Kong can log on to watch the FriendsWithYou in action here.

HKTB hopes to encourage more to explore the city from an artistic and cultural perspective, which is why after the Hong Kong tour, 12 giant FriendsWithYou inflatable installations will take up temporary residence until 14 October in the Art Park of the West Kowloon neighbourhood.

The largest of them all, Little Cloud at more than three storeys high and larger than a minibus, will be at the WKDC Art Park.

At the same time, the Hong Kong Space Museum will display the iconic smiley face of the FriendsWithYou characters on its exterior wall.

Said Borkson and Sandoval: "We hope our collection [connects] with people from every walk of life, and spreads a message of harmony and joy — the ingredients of life needed in every corner of the world right now."

FriendsWithYou was created in 2002, and have been exhibited in the US, Japan, Germany, and other museums and galleries worldwide.

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