Terra Mobiles

A project for Design Trust Futures Studio 2019 themed "Heritage is Innovation"

Taking on the alternate role of contemporary archaeologists, alchemists and designers Julie & Jesse have experimented with ceramic, recycled yarn and tufted rugs in the making of outdoor sculptural objects. Their aim is to incite visitors of Haw Par Mansion to look, travel, wander and dwell into a reinterpreted microcosm of the torn down Tiger Balm Gardens.

In 2004, the last remaining part of the Tiger Balm Gardens was demolished. Haw Par Mansion is the only surviving building of the vast estate that included the legendary theme park.

Julie & Jesse used the former gardens as a springboard into Hong Kong’s heritage. Designed to promote traditional Chinese values as well as the Tiger Balm brand, the park became iconic for Hong Kong from the 1940’s until its demolition. It still exists in photography, memories, travel posters, postcards, movies and is even simulated in video games. As an essential part of the original estate the duo thought it indispensable that it should manifest itself again in the context of Haw Par Music Foundation housed in the Mansion.

Julie & Jesse’s work for DTFS 2019 reveals research into the expressions of classical Chinese garden landscape elements that could be found at Tiger Balm Gardens. Made of concrete and painted with unexpected colours these rocks-cum-furniture sculptures offered visitors places of respite combined with psychedelic renditions of mountains and caves to roam freely and escape into worlds reminiscent of Chinese landscape paintings.

As a consultant and adviser to the conservation of Haw Par Villa in Singapore and Haw Par Mansion in Hong Kong, their mentor, Professor Ho Puay-Peng, contributed his expertise to the duo’s examination of the history of the gardens. He helped trace and decipher formal and metaphorical components of Chinese landscape paintings, literati, royal and merchants’ gardens exemplified within Tiger Balm Gardens.

Called Terra Mobile, Julie & Jesse’s project contains multi-layered narratives that explore with wit and nuance the didactic, sculptural and unconventional qualities of Aw Boon Haw’s visionary wonderland.

Using waste threads from Tai Ping’s production line in the making of a new clay body they fashioned cognitive, playful and poetic renditions of the garden’s landscape and furniture tracing their lineage to weave a thread between past, present and futureand activate the gardens of Haw Par Mansion.

The Terra Mobile units are all unique yet similar. Sculpted with clay and yarn recycled from Tai Ping’s production line and combined with tufted moss-like rugs made by the expert hands at Tai Ping, the quirky units offer an interlude to play and dwell into the peculiar world of Tiger Balm gardens. Each unit is mounted on wheels. As travelling sculptures and stools visitors can move them around which is essential in engaging into the project. Flocked together they build a narrative about the demolished Gardens and create opportunities for the audience to include themselves in the project.
It also allows the Haw Par Music foundation to quickly create a scenery reminiscent of the gardens for a happening.

Terra Mobile draws inspiration from what has been lost to create a new beginning.

Special thanks to Tai Ping, especially Enoch To and Michelle Chu for their time and expertise in making this project come to life, Professor Ho Puay-Peng for taking us around Haw Par Villa and for our great discussions and his insight into Chinese landscape paintings, gardens and scholar’s rocks, Roger Wu and the Haw Par Music Foundation for the opportunity to delve into such amazing heritage and finally thanks to Design Trust, Marisa Yiu and the whole team that worked so hard to put this project together. Thanks for inviting us on this amazing journey.

Terra Mobiles

A project for Design Trust Futures Studio 2019 themed "Heritage is Innovation"

Taking on the alternate role of contemporary archaeologists, alchemists and designers Julie & Jesse have experimented with ceramic, recycled yarn and tufted rugs in the making of outdoor sculptural objects. Their aim is to incite visitors of Haw Par Mansion to look, travel, wander and dwell into a reinterpreted microcosm of the torn down Tiger Balm Gardens.

In 2004, the last remaining part of the Tiger Balm Gardens was demolished. Haw Par Mansion is the only surviving building of the vast estate that included the legendary theme park.

Julie & Jesse used the former gardens as a springboard into Hong Kong’s heritage. Designed to promote traditional Chinese values as well as the Tiger Balm brand, the park became iconic for Hong Kong from the 1940’s until its demolition. It still exists in photography, memories, travel posters, postcards, movies and is even simulated in video games. As an essential part of the original estate the duo thought it indispensable that it should manifest itself again in the context of Haw Par Music Foundation housed in the Mansion.

Julie & Jesse’s work for DTFS 2019 reveals research into the expressions of classical Chinese garden landscape elements that could be found at Tiger Balm Gardens. Made of concrete and painted with unexpected colours these rocks-cum-furniture sculptures offered visitors places of respite combined with psychedelic renditions of mountains and caves to roam freely and escape into worlds reminiscent of Chinese landscape paintings.

As a consultant and adviser to the conservation of Haw Par Villa in Singapore and Haw Par Mansion in Hong Kong, their mentor, Professor Ho Puay-Peng, contributed his expertise to the duo’s examination of the history of the gardens. He helped trace and decipher formal and metaphorical components of Chinese landscape paintings, literati, royal and merchants’ gardens exemplified within Tiger Balm Gardens.

Called Terra Mobile, Julie & Jesse’s project contains multi-layered narratives that explore with wit and nuance the didactic, sculptural and unconventional qualities of Aw Boon Haw’s visionary wonderland.

Using waste threads from Tai Ping’s production line in the making of a new clay body they fashioned cognitive, playful and poetic renditions of the garden’s landscape and furniture tracing their lineage to weave a thread between past, present and futureand activate the gardens of Haw Par Mansion.

The Terra Mobile units are all unique yet similar. Sculpted with clay and yarn recycled from Tai Ping’s production line and combined with tufted moss-like rugs made by the expert hands at Tai Ping, the quirky units offer an interlude to play and dwell into the peculiar world of Tiger Balm gardens. Each unit is mounted on wheels. As travelling sculptures and stools visitors can move them around which is essential in engaging into the project. Flocked together they build a narrative about the demolished Gardens and create opportunities for the audience to include themselves in the project.
It also allows the Haw Par Music foundation to quickly create a scenery reminiscent of the gardens for a happening.

Terra Mobile draws inspiration from what has been lost to create a new beginning.

Special thanks to Tai Ping, especially Enoch To and Michelle Chu for their time and expertise in making this project come to life, Professor Ho Puay-Peng for taking us around Haw Par Villa and for our great discussions and his insight into Chinese landscape paintings, gardens and scholar’s rocks, Roger Wu and the Haw Par Music Foundation for the opportunity to delve into such amazing heritage and finally thanks to Design Trust, Marisa Yiu and the whole team that worked so hard to put this project together. Thanks for inviting us on this amazing journey.

Collaboration with Tai Ping Carpets

Video courtesy of Design Trust.