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Urban Daydreaming: Bouroullec Brothers’ Whimsical Study Of Urban Development

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec – Urban Daydreaming exhibition at the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) Gallery showcases 14 urban design proposals that explore ways to incorporate nature into urban spaces.

Urban Daydreaming: Bouroullec Brothers’ Whimsical Study Of Urban Development

In 2016, designer brothers Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec showcased their first foray into the realm of urban design with four exhibitions held in three venues at the city of Rennes, France. One of the exhibitions, titled Rêveries Urbaines, or Urban Daydreaming, showcased design proposals for various urban settings with whimsical installations.

The exhibition travelled to Vitra’s Fire Station in the same year, and now it has made its Asian debut at The Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI) Gallery.

Presented by HKDI and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Training Council (IVE) (Lee Wai Lee),  Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec – Urban Daydreaming runs until 17 February 2019. It is the first of the three interdisciplinary exhibitions planned by HKDI in 2018.

The Asian edition of Urban Daydreaming showcases 14 proposals, each explores different ways to incorporate nature into urban spaces. The strategies proposed by the projects – some of which have been implemented in cities around the world – include reintroducing greenery, wildlife, water into the city.

Prof. Eric Yim, JP, Deputy Chairman of VTC, remarked in his opening speech that the Bouroullec Brothers have taken into considerations the many urban functions that the Hong Kong people may have easily taken for granted.

“They inspire us by suggesting enchanting new connections between people, buildings and the many different elements in the city, which could happen in a place like Hong Kong. We hope that this exhibition will provide good food for thought for design and professionals alike, as Hong Kong strives to become an innovative, smart city,” Prof. Yim said.

The whimsical objects depicted in the installations straddle the boundaries between product design and architecture. While appearing utopian, these scenes are actually attainable.


Among the 14 exhibits is the Kiosk, a nomadic and multi-purpose architectural structure which serves as an intermediate public space. Featuring steel structure, large bay windows and a roof mechanism that can be opened to shelter a terrace, the space can hosts a range of different public events.

Long Fountain

Comprising an enormous sloping pipe, the Long Fountain pools water into a basin, creating an urban watering hole, which invites both the wildlife and the children to gather and play.

Fireplaces (left) and Stream (right)

Proposed to inject some warmth into the concrete jungle are the Fireplaces, portable shelters envisioned as a place where people can huddle around embers, like campers around a bonfire. Meanwhile, the Stream, a corridor of water and plants winds its way along the middle of the road emits a sound that invites urbanites to pause and contemplate.

Hanging Forest

Embodying a meeting of opposites, the Hanging Forest proposes a series of mast and platforms on which gardens and tall trees are grown, matchmaking the artificial and the natural and the static and the dynamic. In time the trees are envisioned to grow and intertwine to create a canopy, a metaphor for contemporary networks.

Read our Q&A with Ronan Bouroullec here!

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec – Urban Daydreaming opens daily at HKID Gallery from 10am to 8pm. Admission is free. The exhibition is closed on Tuesdays, 25 November, and 2 and 9 December 2018.
Exhibit images (c) Studio Bouroullec

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