Walk around Macao, and bamboo is everywhere you look. Prized for its durability and flexibility, the merits of the material have long been seen as pragmatic, employed ubiquitously in construction projects. But what about turning this affordable and renewable resource into an art form? This has been the primary pursuit for João Ó and Rita Machado, Macao-based Portuguese artists who run multidisciplinary studio Impromptu Projects. Having held numerous local and international exhibitions, including several appearances at Venice Architecture Biennale, the award-winning duo specialises in ephemeral bamboo structures – transient installations that double as studies on the overlap between urban spaces, ancient techniques, art, and public enjoyment. We do outdoor installation because we want to activate the public space. It’s the surprise element that we like to get through to the citizens João Ó, Macao-based Portuguese artist Drawing from the expertise of local craftsmen and construction workers, the duo’s latest project, Sanctuary , can be found within the walls of Macao’s historic Mount Fortress until August 25. Part of the inaugural Art Macao festival, the seven-metre-tall bamboo pavilion is graceful and inviting, almost reminiscent of Singapore’s iconic Gardens by the Bay thanks to curving tree-like structures and a shaded canopy to shield pedestrians from the sun and rain. “We do outdoor installation because we want to activate the public space. We are recycling the material from [bamboo] scaffolding … and giving people joy in the outdoors,” says João, about the power of public artwork. “It’s the surprise element that we like to get through to the citizens. You pass by the same square, the same street every day and you forget to notice simple things. And then suddenly, in that same place, it happens.” The installation is part of a larger public arts movement in Macao, which is transforming the casino city into a creative and cultural hub. In addition to Sanctuary , visitors can follow the outdoor Art Macao trail this summer to find a number of inspiring pieces of public artwork around the Special Administrative Region, including Happy Heads , an installation by visual artists Benoit+Bo that is located at Jorge Álvares Square until August 15. After meeting in Tianjin in 2002, Bo, who is from China, and Benoit, from France, joined forces to pursue large-scale contemporary art projects. Exhibiting around the world, the duo tends to combine elements of folk heritage and pop culture with an aim to blur the boundaries between eastern and western cultures. This vision is beautifully expressed in Happy Heads . Inspired by Chinese festivals, the installation comes to life with a flamboyant series of colourful masks – a recurring motif of the artists' work since their early days. You pass by the same square, the same street every day and you forget to notice simple things. And then suddenly, in that same place, it happens João Ó To the east at the Macao Museum of Art, Contemplation of Lovingkindness, is another must-visit project that will be on display until October 6. In a series of stainless steel sculptures, award-winning Hong Kong artist Mok Yat-san explores the profound connection between nature, people and their urban environment. Gleaming in the sun, the surreal sculptures create an otherworldly display thanks to a mix of imaginative natural shapes and forms, from bears to rock columns, banyan trees, and more. The ethereal sculptures reflect the contemplative nature of Mok’s artistic style. Known for his environmentally conscious themes, the artist has established a reputation as one of the foremost sculptures in the region having taught in the art programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for many years, organised several public art projects and showcased his own work at Art Basel in Hong Kong, BRIC in London, Beijing’s Today Art Museum, and Redtory Guangzhou, among others. Heading south to Taipa, a major highlight is The Wanderer , a series of sculptures that depict famous Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, who is said to have invented the concept of “heteronyms” – or alter egos in literary form. In honour of the poet, Macao-based artist Wong Ka Long crafted a series of unique sculptures of Pessoa, which can be found ‘wandering’ near the Taipa Houses until October 6. With a background in sculpture and sketching, Wong has been a recurring participant in Macao’s public arts scene. In recent years, his statues and sculptures have explored themes such as military, culture and literature – always offering an insightful backstory. Interested in further exploring Macao as an art and cultural destination? Visit our Uncover Art Macao page .