Anecdotes from the Peak

Heritage Exhibition for Wheelock Properties

To create a public exhibition about the Peak, Marc & Chantal led research into Hong Kong’s unique heritage and natural wonders. Conceptualised, curated and designed as a museum-grade display, the exhibition was part of a broader brand and communication exercise developed by Marc & Chantal for a residential project by Wheelock Properties on the Peak.

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The challenge

We needed to engage a wide audience – from the general public to heritage enthusiasts and even academics – so the content and design of the exhibition had to work on multiple levels. To create an academically accurate portrait, while keeping it entertaining and memorable for curious visitors, we knew we had to offer an innovative perspective on this important part of Hong Kong. A further challenge lay in gathering the content itself. We compiled quality historical and specialist research, as well as relevant iconography and artefacts, on a tight schedule in order to create the museum grade display Wheelock Properties was after.

Our Approach

Our concept was to pair botanical research with stories of historical significance to highlight the interconnection between early residents and the natural environment. The botanical displays served as a beautiful and eye-catching introduction and branding for the exhibition. We built the content journey around the theme of a discovery walk through the Peak as a way to engage visitors. In order to entice visitors to inspect the displays in detail, we styled the exhibition like a Victorian cabinet of curiosities. Drawers, shadow boxes and bell jars allowed people to leisurely browse the artefacts as one would trinkets in a curio shop.

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To create a sense of arrival, we employed a multi-sensory approach, with animated projections and bird songs from the Peak greeting visitors stepping in from the bustle of the city. The graphics were created from antique botanical prints collaged into lush scenery and used as the visual language for all print communication about the exhibition.

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The topography of the Peak showed up in a contoured carpet that represented the undulating landscape. It also softened the steps of visitors as they studied the table-top displays reminiscent of encyclopedic collections and Victorian cabinets of curiosities.

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We assembled rich iconography, paired with little known facts and anecdotes, to portray the daily lives and occupations of the early “Peakites” – as these privileged residents of the Peak were known. The team commissioned an architectural model of Mountain Lodge to show the architecture of the earlier era and sourced many historical items to illustrate daily life on the Peak. Each artefact was carefully styled and positioned to take its place in the overall visitor journey of the exhibition.

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The highlight of the exhibition was the story of the Dealy family who lived on the peak in the late 19th and early 20th Century. A descendant of the family, Mr. Martin Ough-Dealy, contributed valuable insight into the daily life of the Peakites, as well as photos and artefacts of historical significance. Amongst these were a silver bowl presented by Sir Robert Ho Tung to Mr Ough-Dealy’s grandfather, an invitation to a ball by Governor and Lady May, original photo albums and an antique mahjong set.

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A large feature wall showcasing delicate pressed flower artwork, runs the length of the exhibition hall. The wood veneer of the wall was watermarked with botanical engravings of plant species commonly found on the Peak.

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To bring people into the sights and sounds of the Peak, we worked with historian Jason Wordie to film his walk through the Peak landscape. His narrative introduced visitors to the stories and natural features of the area, while our art direction and editing emphasised the visual grandeur of the view and setting.