Asia is well known the world over for its glitzy skylines and somewhat extravagant use of neon lights in advertising. Although excessive lighting can be considered an assault on the senses for many, there are a host of memorable lighting displays around Asia that have put their host cities on the map. Here is just a handful of them…
As if Hong Kong’s sea of towering skyscrapers that wash over the horizon to create a glistening spectacle of lights wasn’t impressive enough, the fact it has its very own lighting show elevates it beyond all other Asian cityscapes to become one of the world’s most remarkable. A Symphony of Lights is the world’s largest permanent lighting show, with the switch flicked daily at 8 pm, 365 days a year. Each of the 47 buildings that play a role in the performance serves as an impressive example of commercial lighting in its own right, but when combined as one, the city is truly brought to life. The show is a well-orchestrated symphony where lasers, music, decorative lights and pyrotechnics all come together to create a lighting explosion. Best viewed from the promenade of Tsim Sha Tsui across the bay, spectators can expect to be taken on a journey, traversing the themes of ‘awakening’, ‘energy’, heritage’, ‘partnership’ and ‘celebration’ before the lights well and truly go out.
For me, the Petronas Towers are more than a duo of brightly lit pieces of matter in a city. Instead, they serve as a glowing post-modern example of recent developments in technology and infrastructure in Malaysia and in particular, the capital. The spectacle of the nearby Menara Tower is utterly eclipsed by what are undoubtedly the superstars of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline, as they tower beyond all surrounding buildings to form one of the most iconic lighting displays on the planet. They once held the title of ‘tallest buildings in the world’ and are now a respectable 11th and 12th, with 88 floors comprising the 451 metres of elevation. The steel and glass façade resembles motifs found in Islamic art and the sky bridge structure connecting the two towers represent an architectural representation of the Islamic Rub el Hizb symbol. Visible from passing planes and just about anywhere in the city, the Petronas Towers are landmarks of Kuala Lumpur, bringing the capital alive in style.
Nabana No Sato
Each year, Japan plays host to a plethora of matsuri, (that’s festivals to you and me), many of which just so happen to be some of the most extravagant lighting displays in the world. Not a permanent fixture in the community, the team behind Nabana No Sato takes its one opportunity every year to really go to town on creating a striking display of art, using as many LED lights as possible. Last year’s display required over eight million LED bulbs and took a team of over a thousand workers a whopping four months to put together. Every year sees a new theme unveiled, with this year’s ‘beauty of mother nature’ featuring five views from unique places from all over the world, including Antarctica and Japanese rice terraces. One of the most popular attractions annually is the lighting tunnel which stretches well over 100 metres, emulating different moods depending on the theme. Over two million people make the trip to bear witness to this lighting display of epic proportions, combining it with the host resort’s incredible amusement park.