School of Architecture, CUHK

Ken Fung & Kevin Mak: Vanishing Perspective – Hong Kong’s Signboard Streetscape

Date & Time




About the Lecture:

What defines the cityscape of a city? In Hong Kong, signboards play an essential role. These informal elements, typically unplanned nor designed by architects, were built in a bottom-up way by individual shop owners. They have blurred the boundary between building facades and streets, shaping the distinctive urban cityscape of Hong Kong.

These signboards are, however, becoming an endangered species. Following a new building regulation that came into effect in 2010, most signboards built before that were deemed illegal, and many were forced to be taken down. The iconic Hong Kong streetscape is fading rapidly.

@streetsignhk, one of the local platforms that focus on Hong Kong signboards, will share the signboards’ impact on the urban landscape, its disappearance and preservation, and potential ways of sustaining Hong Kong’s unique signboard culture and its stories behind.

About the Speakers:

Named after ‘signboard-streetscape’, the unique vibrant cityscape created by layers of signboards in the streets of Hong Kong, @streetsignhk was founded in Oct 2017 by two architects Kevin Mak and Ken Fung. @streetsignhk promotes signboard-streetscape as urban cultural heritage by exploring in-depth signboard stories of Hong Kong & building regulations, conserving existing signboards that face demolition and promoting a sustainable signboard culture through design practice.

Instead of just witnessing and documenting the disappearance of signboards due to change in building regulations and the retail environment, we use our professional background and knowledge to offer shop owners advice on signs. We advocate changes in conservation policy, and investigate the aesthetic and cultural values of the signboard.

@streetsignhk believes the unique signboard streetscape in Hong Kong deserves a sustainable future that balances safety concerns.

The lecture will be conducted in English. For non-CUHK participants, please register here

Click here for details of the Public Lecture Series 2021-22.

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