Mall wonders

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 December, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 December, 2010, 12:00am

The city's shopping malls are going all out on their Christmas festivities this year, launching themes, feasts for the eyes, and innovative concepts and shows to attract shoppers and excite young and old alike.

The IFC will open its festivities with the city's largest-ever indoor puppet show, with two-storey-tall puppets and Santa on his rocking horse greeting visitors at the Oval Atrium. Shoppers can explore the supersized world of the Christmas Puppet Town, navigating the giant puppets decked out in colourful costumes alongside Santa and his paraphernalia.

The puppet theme resonates throughout the mall. There are displays of multisized Christmas puppets, reindeer toys and Christmas windmills everywhere, while the mall's three-storey windmill Christmas tree will form a core component of its decorations, glistening in perfect harmony with the revolving rhythm of the windmills.

No visitor to the mall should leave before a visit to the dazzling magical candy shop, for it is here, amid the wall-to-wall display of colourful sweets and treats, that visitors will find Santa Claus managing his very own shop.

Just a stone's throw away is the rest of Central, which has been magically transformed by celebrity event designer Preston Bailey for the second consecutive year.

Bailey, who has been the brainchild behind some of the world's most memorable events for royalty, socialites, business moguls and celebrities, is renowned for his ability to completely transform raw, ordinary spaces into sumptuous, theatrical environments.

This year, he has used The Landmark Atrium as the epicentre for his Christmas creation, featuring a four-metre-tall tribute to a kissing Mr and Mrs Claus, placed atop an iconic fountain filled with candy, poinsettias and Christmas trinkets. 'I wanted to offer some holiday surprises, including a spotlight for the rarely celebrated Mrs Claus - the woman behind the man that embodies Christmas. Adding to the spectacle, gifts are parachuted from the heavens above, signifying a new season of joyful giving and abundance,' explains Bailey of his starting point for crafting his awesome Christmas creations for Central.

A dynamic mix of music and roving performances, including a jazz band, saxophone and piano, harp, guitar and percussion, piano solo, brass quintet and vocal performances, will fill the air with festive cheer.

Highlights include Motown Christmas, a classy trio that performs Christmas hits in the style of the Motown tradition; the 1880s Carolers, a quartet that brings traditional carols in period costumes; and the Latin Exchange Band, a trio galvanising the cool romantic sounds of Afro-Caribbean music.

Pacific Place has been transformed into a traditional winter wonderland, with almost 100 lavishly decorated, environmentally friendly Christmas trees from the private estate of Denmark's Prince Joachim on display.

Enchanting Christmas fairies will also be scattered around the mall to greet and take photos with shoppers, while some will give dance performances at the Garden Court to lighten the exhaustion of gift shopping.

Take Note, an a-cappella group that performs around the world, and The Accordion Troupe Hong Kong, will fill the mall with wonderful classic carols and tunes.

Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing is the place to be, however, as far as music is concerned, with the mall going all out to launch a music odyssey to shoppers.

A wide array of world-class performances for the entire family has been planned for a vast 40-foot stage at The Atrium over the holidays. These include carols sung by local schools, performances by the VII Sopranos, an all-women's Australian opera group, and the Society of Orpheus and Bacchus from Yale University, one of the longest-running collegiate a-cappella groups in the United States. There will also be a performance by All That, a group of talented percussive dancers who have appeared on America's Got Talent.

For a festive outdoors experience, head to the Wonderful Worlds of Whampoa in Hung Hom, where Hutchison Whampoa Property will stage a European-style Christmas street carnival on Shung King Street from December 25 to 27.

The carnival will feature a festive market with individual booths offering a plethora of activities from face painting to arts and crafts, and games. There will also be two daily shows - an acrobatic performance by children and a parade featuring magicians, clowns and many other awesome characters.

To complete the experience, children can hop on to the carnival's very own pony to capture the perfect winter moment.

Meanwhile, Harbour City will have the city's tallest LED decorative feature. The 40-foot structure houses individual Christmas trees in 53 two-metre-high champagne glasses that have been lit by stunning rain lights. Visitors to the mall can also take a breather by relaxing on the large number of three-metre-high cake sofas around the mall.

In addition to the mall's Christmas lighting decorations, Japanese children's book illustrator Tomonori Taniguchi will be at Harbour City to demonstrate and showcase his work.

The theme of his workshop, entitled: 'Heartwarming Xmas Home', has been chosen specifically to tie in with Harbour City Gateway Arcade Lobby's decorative theme.

Thirty Santa Clauses, dressed in designs created by the illustrator, will be at the mall to welcome and celebrate Christmas with visitors.

Times Square is also turning to art by exhibiting the work of renowned urban contemporary artist Michael Lau. The showcase will feature the artist's figures, oil paintings, unique hand sketches and concept art. Lau is also the brainchild behind this year's festive decorations, transforming Times Square into a fantastic wonderland of creative ornaments, dangling lamps and hello cards installations against the backdrop of Santa Claus, Christmas carol singing and the chiming clock tower. Last but not least, for something more whimsical, head over to Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong, where the mall is hosting a mind-boggling extravaganza of optical illusions and breathtaking illuminations during the festive season.

A wide variety of eye-popping optical illusions, including wind spinners, infinite mirrors, holograms, 3D pictures and kaleidoscopes, will be featured, with even Santa Claus' Illuminous House showing six mesmerising optical illusion zones, with themes of spinning fantasy, infinite reality, spinnimation, the illuminous kaleidoscopes, the Lights Alive Zone and the Make-Believe Box. The incredible line-up of optical illusions will be complemented by an exceptional programme of live entertainment that includes a Christmas parade, an a-cappella trio and choir performances of all the festive favourites to keep everyone singing along.

What's more, M2, an internationally renowned magic act, featuring two of Australia's top illusionists, will be at the mall to challenge visitors to reconsider their perception of reality.