Hong Kong got 'yarn-bombed'

Hong Kong got 'yarn-bombed'

Globe-trotting yarn artist Magda Sayeg attacks Hong Kong's most popular shopping mall

yarn bombing magda sayegMagda Sayeg hugging the "I heart MK" sign that's been covered in her signature knits. There's no warmer way to say it.

It's the middle of a steaming hot summer in Hong Kong, but American artist Magda Sayeg has covered parts of the city's most crowded shopping mall with wool.

Sayeg is famous for "yarn-bombing" -- she dresses mundane street objects around the world with colorful knit patterns. 

The 38-year-old artist arrived in Hong Kong last week with two assistants from her Knitta, Please team to work with local handicrafters La Belle Époque and students of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on a special project for the Langham Place shopping mall in Mong Kok.

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yarn bombing magda sayegWhen Sayeg covered an old bus from Japan it took her career to new heights.“My inspiration of knitting the city came from the industrious side of the city, the ugliness of the city,” said Sayeg. “I want to add softness and human qualities to the city.”

For her Hong Kong installation, Sayeg collaborated with Langham Place to knit patterns for a mock goldfish stall from Mong Kok's famed Goldfish Market, as well as for a giant "I (heart) MK" sign.

The woolen covering makes up a total of 150 square meters of pattern and took 600 hours to set up in Langham Place.

Sayeg designs the patterns and the coverage of the object, then her team of knitters and crafters create the patterns from looms as well as by hand.

Sayeg's multi-colored patterns are all over the installation now open at the Langham Place. It is highly detailed.

The knitted goldfish are suspended in plastic bags as though they were swimming. There is even a knitted rubbish bin.

Sayeg had just finished knitting a pig's blood rice pudding trolley in Taipei before coming to Hong Kong.

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Sayeg's yarn-bombing career started in 2005 when she covered the door handle of a boutique she owned in Houston, Texas. Then she yarn-bombed a street sign.

The images of the sign went viral on the Internet and Sayeg found herself getting commissioned for corporate work.

“Within six months, the picture was everywhere on the Internet and within nine months, I was invited to my first ever international project,” said Sayeg. “I have seen the world through this project.”

The most significant work for Sayeg is covering buses in Mexico, which was her first large-scale project.

“It spring-boarded my career and caught the world's attention," said the American artist. "I am no longer intimidated by big, dreamy work."

Sayeg also yarn-bombed the Williamsburg suspension bridge in New York. But one of her most complex projects to date is covering more than 90 meters of ductwork in Etsy.com’s Brooklyn office.

I Knit MK@Langham Place; 11 a.m.- 11 p.m., until September 2; 4/F Atrium, Langham Place, Mong Kok, www.langhamplace.com

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yarn bombing magda sayegHong Kong air conditioning keeps mall temperatures frigid even in the summer, so the wool theme is actually quite appropriate.

yarn bombing magda sayegWoolen fish at the Goldfish Market installation created by local crafters from La Belle Époque.yarn bombing magda sayegHong Kong Goldfish Market is where you can get anything you want, as long as it swims.yarn bombing magda sayegSayeg's teammate/brother walked the Great Wall of China and left a mark.yarn bombing magda sayegSoftening up a military statue in Bali, Indonesia.