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Artist Talk with Stefan Irvine | The Last Tong Lau @ Blue Lotus Gallery

  • Blue Lotus Gallery 28 Pound Lane Tai Ping Shan, Hong Kong Island Hong Kong (map)

Artist Talk with Stefan Irvine | The Last Tong Lau

Saturday 17 August, 4–6 pm | 2019年8月17日 下午4-6時

  • This is a FREE event

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the behind the scenes stories from Stefan’s latest body of work: ‘The Last Tong Lau’ . He will explain the creative process and collaboration with digital artist Jörg Dietrich, as well as individual histories of each Tong Lau.

This event is related to the exhibition: RECONSTRUCT | 葉家偉 Alexis Ip X Stefan Irvine

Exhibition Dates: 9 August - 15 September 2019 | 展覽日期:2019年8月9日-9月15日

Blue Lotus Gallery: G/F 28 Pound Lane, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong | 香港上環磅巷28號地下

Opening Hours: Wed - Sun | 11am to 6pm | 開放時間:星期三至星期日 上午11時-下午6時

For more details regards the exhibition, click here.

For RSVP or further inquiries please contact Sarah Greene on

About The Last Tong Lau:

This series of remarkable “linear” panoramas offers an entirely new perspective on Hong Kong’s distinctive and much-loved architecture. An international collaboration between photographer Stefan Irvine and post-production expert Jörg Dietrich, the images are a celebration of the city’s rich architectural heritage and the communities living within.

The series focuses predominantly on Hong Kong’s Tong Lau (唐樓), or Chinese “Shophouse” buildings - a type of tenement architecture at one time popular throughout southern China for both residential and commercial use. Other works capture similarly distinctive, architectural styles, displaying influences from Hong Kong and beyond.

Several recurring features of Hong Kong tong lau are showcased within the portfolio, including the iconic curved corner houses of Ki Lung Street and To Kwa Wan Road, high- density composite buildings (Wah Fu Estate and Ki Lung Street), bamboo scaffolding, multi- coloured paint schemes, and the arcaded facades of Grade II-listed Shanghai Street.

With much of Hong Kong’s urban heritage under constant threat of redevelopment, these photographs serve as vital historical documents for the communities they depict. Although there has been increasing interest in the conservation of Hong Kong’s built heritage in recent years, there are still strong financial incentives for developers to replace older low- rise buildings with ever-taller skyscrapers. At the time of writing, several of the blocks showcased in the series, including Shanghai Street’s listed shophouses, have been earmarked for demolition or significant redevelopment by Hong Kong’s Urban Renewal Authority.

Stefan Irvine & Jörg Dietrich 'The Blue House, Wan Chai' (Hong Kong, 2019) Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery.jpg

While there has been an encouraging interest in revitalisation programs in the recent past, allowing for some much-needed modernisation of decaying tong lau architecture, it remains uncertain how this impacts the intangible cultural heritage of the communities served by those buildings. Too often, revitalisation and redevelopment results in the break-up of tight- knit communities and long-established businesses, which can no longer afford to stay in these buildings post-regeneration.

The production process of these linear panoramas demands meticulous planning and careful attention to detail. Photographer Stefan Irvine often makes several trips to each location, painstakingly capturing the entire facade of the buildings at precise intervals and distances, with careful attention given to moving objects and people in the scene.

These photographs from multiple perspectives are then digitally merged and manipulated by Jörg Dietrich into one expansive, seamless image, creating a singular visualisation of the architecture in an entire city block. This perspective allows the viewer to experience the life of a whole city street at a glance, featuring greater detail and instilling more emotional impact than other traditional forms of photography. 


Stefan Irvine & Jörg Dietrich 'Waterloo Road, Yau Ma Tei' (Hong Kong, 2017) Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery.jpg

由居港英藉攝影師Stefan Irvine和數碼後期製作專家Jörg Dietrich的跨國合作,造就出一系列以線性主導的非凡全景影像,為香港獨特而備受喜愛的建築物提供了一個全新的視角,以影像表揚這座城市豐富的建築遺產以及當中的社區。

該系列主要集中捕捉香港的唐樓,以及中式店屋 (Shophouse),又稱為「下舖上居」,是一種常見於華南地區及東南亞的建築模式,用於住宅及商業用途。 同系列其他作品則捕捉同樣獨特的建築風格,務求展現出香港不同地區的感染力。

在這系列中,Stefan將香港唐樓反復出現的特徵完全展現出來,包括基隆街及土瓜灣道那些標誌性的彎曲轉角樓宇、高密度的複合樓宇 (華富村及基隆街)、建築竹棚、色彩繽紛的牆身、以及被評為二級歷史建築的戰前「騎樓式」唐樓:上海街的拱形外牆。


雖然近來大眾對市區活化計劃抱有興趣,為很多殘破不堪的唐樓建築進行一些必需的修復,但同時仍然不能確定這個舉動,會否影響這些作為非物質文化遺產的建築在其社區的存在。 很多時候,活化和重建會破壞社區和當中一些歷史悠久的老店之間的緊密關係,這些店鋪將無法負擔起重建後的新租金。

這些線性主導的全景圖,製作過程需要緻密的規劃和對細節的入微觀察。攝影師Stefan Irvine經常多次到訪每個地點,以精確的間隔和距離,精心捕捉建築物的整個正面,同時需要仔細留意正在移動的物體或場景中的人物。

這些來自多個角度的照片,最後交由後製專家Jörg Dietrich進行數碼合併操作,成為一系列廣闊而無縫的相片,為整個城市街區中創建出一個引人注目的建築形象。而這種觀點更使觀眾能夠一目了然地體驗整個街道的生活,與其他傳統形式的攝影作品相比,這系列擁有更多的細節和灌輸觀眾更多的情感。

Stefan Irvine & Jörg Dietrich 'Wah Fu Estate, Pok Fu Lam' (Hong Kong, 2017) Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery.jpg