Craft,  Lifestyle,  Photography

Vintage Hong Kong in miniature

I have been fascinated by miniatures for the longest time. One of my earliest memories is playing with a Playmobil bathroom set at nursery and being amazed that the play toilet had a moving toilet seat 😊 At age 13, I tried to recreate a miniature hotel room for a Design and Technology project, but I was too ambitious and it was terrible… my older brother and cousin had to bail me out; they worked through the night to make me a miniature café instead, complete with a “tiled” paper floor. My family have never let me live that one down…

Even so, I still love tiny things. I discovered the Japanese miniatures called Re-ment and went nuts one summer in Hong Kong, buying complete box sets of their hyper-realistic patisserie cakes and fruit and vegetables, spending hours blu-tacking and arranging them to create the perfect display.

So, you can imagine my intrigue when last month, I saw a piece on BBC News about a miniatures exhibition showcasing vintage Hong Kong scenes – did I mention that it was in miniature?! And that I happened to be in Hong Kong at the same time?!

A bit of googling led us to Olympian City 2, a shopping centre in Mong Kok – odd place for an exhibition, I thought and I wasn’t wrong. On a mid-week afternoon after Chinese New Year, we braved the queues of curious people so that I could feed my fascination. I can’t say that the experience itself was wholly enjoyable though – there was no queuing system, hoards of people and far too many “semi-professional” photographers filled with self-importance, waving their shitty SLR cameras around. (Sorry for the rant.)

Anyway, when I could get close, I was enthralled.



I think this one is the Wishing Tree in Lam Tsuen, Tai Po. It’s a popular tradition for people to try and throw a wish onto the tree, but the weight of all the wishes literally broke the branches of the tree… so now the tree is protected and has been replaced with a plastic tree so people can throw as many wishes as they want now


A Chinese gold shop. If you’ve ever been in one, you’ll know how realistic it is, even down to the miniature scale behind the counter!


The pics aren’t perfect, as the glass cases caused some blur but you can still see all the precision and skill that has gone into making these dioramas. Super realistic, right?

Chinese herb shop, complete with a cat!


A close-up of the carts from the dim-sum restaurant scene.


This old-school barber shop scene is my favourite. It brings back memories of my grandad going to a salon just like it.

I hope you enjoyed looking at these photos. The exhibits were an amazing representation of old Hong Kong. If this exhibition is ever shown again, I hope that it will be in a proper art space somewhere rather than crammed into a tiny plot in the middle of a shopping centre. The artists certainly deserve more recognition for their art – you can find out more here.



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