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Sydney’s Glowing Beacon

City of Sydney

Chinatown Information Kiosk

Brand and Communications Environments

City of Sydney is making a difference to Sydney’s streets by instigating several innovative civic improvements. When it announced a tender to transform an old seating pagoda in the centre of Chinatown into an information kiosk, we jumped at the chance.

Small project, big ambition

When approaching the conversion of the pagoda into an information kiosk, our key considerations were:

  • To design something contextual
  • To respond to and express the community’s identity
  • To provide a good working environment for staff

We created a patterned red lantern by day, which illuminates by night. A painting by the German graphic designer and painter Anton Stankowski inspired the rotating semicircular walls, which open and close to reveal a red interior that houses a wall of shelving for brochures, computer equipment, switchboard and a small fridge – every available space is used. The sliding walls protect staff from westerly sun, allow natural cross ventilation and the sole use of day lighting for sustainability measures.

It’s alive!

We worked with the Chinese paper-cut artist Pamela Mei-Leng See, who used paper to interpret Chinese good luck proverbs. Drawing inspiration from traditional Chinese tea-making, where the chrysanthemum flowers used are a metaphor for good fortune, the hand-cut designs also feature fish and storks as symbols of prosperity and longevity.

At night, the paper is backlit by 4,000 hand-placed energy-efficient LED lights, creating a glowing beacon reminiscent of traditional Chinese illuminated red lanterns.

As lead consultant we partnered with architects Lacoste + Stevenson, and a sub-consultant team consisting of Lighting, Art & Science, Simpson Design Associates, Philip Chun, Morris Goding and Growthbuilt who built the kiosk – thank you to everyone.


Frost* collective and Chinatown Kiosk in the press:

AIA NSW Chapter Small Project Award 2012
Sydney Design Award, 2012

I’m really proud of this project, it’s durable, accessible and represents modern Australian Chinese culture. I love seeing how it affects people around it – it’s our gift to the city.
Vince Frost,