Huat with large and lustrous pineapples, bags of gold and supersized mahjong tiles as the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre transforms its Roof Garden into a festive wonderland to usher in a prosperous Chinese New Year (CNY). A highlight of the celebrations is the Cultural Centre’s highly anticipated red packets which places a spotlight on works by local artists each year. This year, award-winning illustrator Lee Xin Li will present a refreshing rendition of CNY celebrations in the heartlands, which are further brought to life by local creative technology studio MeshMinds, making it Asia’s first interactive Augmented Reality (AR) red packet powered by Spark AR from Facebook.
Says Mr Low Sze Wee, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre: “In a youth research survey commissioned this year, we learnt that celebrating Chinese festivals and learning about Chinese traditions and customs are excellent entry points to engage with Chinese Singaporean culture. With Chinese New Year being a time of reunion with family and friends, we hope that our Huat Huat Land and interactive AR red packet will delight and enable families and friends to bond together.”
With the city skyline as a backdrop at the Cultural Centre’s Roof Garden, Huat Huat Land promises Instagram-worthy moments for the family with larger-than-life pineapple installations that span up to 3-metres in height, illuminated in gold as night falls. One can also shuffle gigantic mahjong tiles and even sit on a pile of gold for that perfect photo-opportunity. Completing the Huat Huat Land experience, one can get close to lit-up murals of CNY celebrations designed by illustrator Lee Xin Li.
Speaking on his red packet design being brought to life, Lee Xin Li said: “This red packet is inspired by the sights and sounds that one experiences during Chinese New Year while visiting relatives – from lion dances at the coffeeshop and children of various ethnic backgrounds playing downstairs, to the aromas of freshly peeled mandarin oranges and chicken curry. I hope that the artwork brought to life by MeshMinds and the murals at Huat Huat Land will deepen appreciation for the local flavours and multicultural landscape that makes spending Chinese New Year in Singapore special.”
Working with creative technology studio MeshMinds to leverage AR technology, the SCCC red packet will cast a spotlight on local Chinese New Year traditions, such as the exchange of Mandarin oranges, lohei and boisterous lion dance performances. One can simply scan a QR code on the red packet and watch these traditions spring to life, together with an informative write-up on the origins of these traditions, made possible by Spark AR from Facebook.
Ms Kay Vasey, Chief Connecting Officer at MeshMinds said: “This is the first time that we have worked closely with the award-winning Singaporean artist, Lee Xin Li, and the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre to realise an innovative, interactive and informative AR experience. At MeshMinds, we are firm believers that culture is both an enabler and a driver of sustainable development. Not only does this red packet of the future have artistic value, it is the first time that Spark AR from Facebook has been employed to shine a light on Chinese culture and traditions in an engaging and educational way. We hope that the magic of augmented reality can revitalise the way we give and receive red packets and by using this technology, we can feel more connected through sharing each other’s cultures and practices.”
Visitors will be able to get their hands on this limited-edition interactive AR red packet by posting of photo of themselves at Huat Huat Land on their Facebook, Instagram or WeChat platforms. The National Art Council will also distribute the red packets through contest giveaways and event participation during Singapore Art Week.
Huat Huat Land will take place at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, Roof Garden, from 1st January to 31st March 2020. Admission is free. For more information, visit their website here