Hong Kong’s mesmerizing ‘cocoon’ buildings

Written by Oscar Holland, CNNHong Kong

Enveloped in sheets of blue, green and yellow, the towers in Peter Steinhauer’s pictures have a practically sculptural quality. These short-lived exteriors might serve an useful function, however their dynamic colors and geometric surface areas produce a mesmerizing contrast with the surrounding horizon.

The sight of buildings curtained in brilliant nylon mesh is a typical one in HongKong Construction business utilize the material to keep particles from being up to the ground. Workers likewise continue to utilize bamboo scaffolding, which acts as a frame for the vibrant covers.

A close-up shot reveals the nylon sheets supported by bamboo scaffolding. Credit: Peter Steinhauer

American professional photographer Peter Steinhauer has actually been recording these building websites for more than 20 years. He describes them as “cocoons,” mentioning the transformation that buildings go through while confined.

Steinhauer’s differed structures provide a brand-new point of view on among the world’s most photogenic cities– climatic nighttime shots, large pictures of the city context and close-ups revealing the nylon sheets rippling in the wind.

“I like to get in close and find the graphic elements, he said in a phone interview. “If you take a look at the bamboo as it’s increasing, there’s a pattern and style to it. So there are all sorts of style components and color design that all interaction with one another.”

Steinhauer ofter contends night to offer his shots what he called a “sci-fi feeling.” Credit: Peter Steinhauer

Steinhauer stated his fascination with the phenomenon took place “instantaneously” upon very first landing in Hong Kong in 1994.

“I was stood in a taxi queue (at the airport) just staring at this thing,” he remembered of seeing a tower block enclosed in yellow sheets.

“It was the end of the day, and the light was hitting it at this great angle. It’s always brand new material, so there were these vibrant, beautiful colors. It was just stunning, and I thought it was like a giant work of art.”

Almost 13 years after taking his very first batch of images, Steinhauer went back to Hong Kong full-time and resumed his task. Having at first photographed in black and white, he chose to change format in order to record the topics’ brilliant pigmentation.

“I always gravitated toward the color,” he stated. “Hong Kong can be a very monochromatic city. The humidity and pollution really wears the paint down and mutes everything. But when you put up this huge blue, green or white thing in the middle of it all, it just pops out — it jumps off the page.”

Preserving Hong Kong’s past in the mini

No matter how appealing they appear from afar, the material exteriors conceal an unclean, dirty truth. Steinhauer understands this just too well, having himself been “cocooned” when his apartment went through remodelling.

“I hated it,” he confessed. “There was jackhammering, and the kids were sobbing the entire time– we weren’t getting any sleep. We had green product around our windows and, due to the fact that we generally had sun can be found in through the windows, this thumbs-up was penetrating our living-room and bed room at all hours of the day.

“There are only a few of my photos where I actually show what’s happening at ground level — because it’s a mess. It’s a construction site.”

An image caught by Steinhauer simply after a thunderstorm. Credit: Peter Steinhauer

Nonetheless, he maintains a sense of marvel at a practice that, he stated, is recorded in images of Hong Kong extending back more than 150 years.

“It’s a true art form to me — one that is really only practiced in Hong Kong, on this scale especially,” he stated. “It’s a remarkable process.”

Cocoons,” released by Powerhouse Books, is readily available now.

The Story First Appeared on CNN