Portland Street Rest Garden
Portland Street Rest Garden is located in Mongkok, sandwiched between two high-rise residential buildings next to the Portland Street. It is approximately 376 sq. m in size with one side facing Portland Street. The rest garden is fenced off with exits on two sides. Currently there are four tall trees, a few benches and a Chinese chess table. The rest garden serves all walks of life. It is frequently fully seated despite the poor hygiene of the garden.
Looking into the concept of play, whether individual or social, the process of play is more important than the end result. The context of Mongkok often gives people a feeling of chaos, and is very much representative of Hong Kong with its underground movements and density. The site of Portland Street Rest Garden is first described in scent – restaurant exhaust, garbage, and human excrete. While there are not many people at the rest garden during the week, at weekends the garden is packed with gamblers as there is a Jockey Club Station opposite it.
The team’s initial idea is to create a massive statue of Guan Yu (God of Justice) in order to change the users’ behaviour as traditional Chinese will not swear or pee in front of the god. The team’s second idea was to create a forum park, with maximised seating for gamblers, catering not just the gamblers but also other demographics, and creating a sense of community. They aim to create flow and introduce new activities using feng shui mechanism, such as borrowing the Japanese tradition of tying notes onto wishing tree and transforming that into tying gambling tickets to poles or trees for good luck.