Exhibition puts mall's souvenir gimmicks under one umbrella

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 July, 2008, 12:00am

Umbrella is not just Rihanna's big hit, it's also a souvenir gimmick the Tsim Sha Tsui mall Harbour City has been using for more than seven years. They've produced 12 different eye-catching parasols by designers from France to Japan since 2001, with each edition available only for folks who spend more than a specified amount at the mall.

This summer's version is by French designers Kuntzel and Deygas, who also produced the opening credits of Steven Spielberg's movie Catch Me If You Can. However, the entire Harbour City umbrella collection is on display until Sunday at the Gateway Arcade's Atrium II.

The man responsible for these unique umbrellas since 2004 is Lam Shu-kam (right), the creative director of the firm All Rights Reserved.

'We actually provided art direction and oversaw the entire production,' Lam said. 'Many of the designers we work with are overseas and they know nothing about Hong Kong. Some of them do become ambivalent when they hear it is for a mall.'

After several successes, Lam, who is also a creative advertiser, has been able to gain the trust of the visual artists. The key is to stay true to people's original concepts, even if it means making his own job that much more difficult.

'With this new folded umbrella design, it turns into a carrying bag to hold the umbrella itself ... Most traditional umbrella manufacturers have a loop in the handle and we didn't need it, but there was no way to find handles without a hole. Though it cost us more, we had to make a special mould for these umbrellas.'