Architectural Features of No. 618 Shanghai Street – (2) Columns

#ClassicalAdvertisingLocation #LayerStack #GraniteColumns #Shopcrafts

Along the arcade of the project, all the round columns were built with granite, which was historically a popular building material in Hong Kong. The names of the ground-floor shops were then carved onto the columns, which sometimes would also showed the handicrafts provided by these businesses – columns like these are rarely found in Hong Kong nowadays. As part of the revitalisation project, a number of these round columns have been kept in their original form with those old carvings, so as to reflect the transformation of the original arcade and the early life of Hong Kong.

The columns facing the street could be used to showcase the wares, offering excellent advertising opportunities for the shops. Some of the columns even became art pieces in themselves. Shops that provided services for painting and decorating used techniques such as terrazzo, or Italian plastering, to showcase their craftsmanship. Some columns are a unique piece of history in the way that they show a number of different businesses over the decades. The names of some old shops, such as Wahson Electric Appliance Co. and Kwong Dat Preserved Fruits, and the plaster and paint being added on at different times (which show overlapping names such as Dat Cheong and Ho Yin on one column), reflecting the prosperity of Shanghai Street during that era. Since the 1980s, most of the shops in Shanghai Street have sold construction materials. Display items had been placed around the columns in front of their premises along with signages, for example for the shop Dong Dat with the slogan “Ping Tong Kai” (meaning the lowest price).