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Kaohsiung Lotus Pond Lantern Festival Wins Two MUSE Design Awards

Post date:2023-03-13
Kaohsiung Lotus Pond Lantern Festival Wins Two MUSE Design Awards
Great news on the 2023 Kaohsiung Lotus Pond Lantern Festival! The 2023 Kaohsiung Lotus Pond Lantern Festival has won two prestigious awards from US’ MUSE Design Awards. The festival received the highest honor, the Platinum Award, in the "Overall Lighting Design" category, and the Gold Award in the "Cultural Event" category of the MUSE Creative Awards. Director Minlin Kao of Kaohsiung City Tourism Bureau expressed gratitude for the international recognition and stated that this year's Kaohsiung Lotus Pond Lantern Festival centered on the theme "the more local, the more global". With a macro-curatorial approach, the event achieved many firsts: not only becoming the most talk-about event online in Taiwan, but also standing out among global entries, showcasing Kaohsiung's beauty through “light” and local cultural stories to guests both domestically and internationally.7.蓮潭燈會水上燈飾作品萌兔隊長-ㄇㄚˊ幾吸引大批民眾拍照
Established in 2015, the MUSE Awards are organized by the International Awards Associate (IAA) and consist of two main categories: the MUSE Design Awards and the MUSE Creative Awards. As one of the most influential international awards in the global creative design field, the MUSE Awards encourage the realization of high-quality, creative, or design inspirations and serve as a professional competition for designers worldwide. This year, the 2023 Kaohsiung Lantern Festival returned to a regional focus and was held for the first time at the Lotus Pond Scenic Area. Centering on the theme "the more local, the more global", the Festival combined unique landscapes and waterfront features with the venue's rich religious culture and historical background to create a deeply Taiwanese event. The Festival not only topped the ranking in the most talk-about events online in Taiwan, but also attracted over 2 million visits in 11 days, generating more than NTD 3 billion in tourism revenue for Kaohsiung's tourism industry and local businesses. In addition to receiving acclaim from the public for its brilliant content, the Festival has now won the Platinum Award in the Lighting Design - Art/Interior & Exterior Lighting category and Gold Award in the Cultural Event category of the MUSE Awards.
Director Kao stated that the Lotus Pond area is adorned with numerous temples and archaic architectures including the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, Spring and Autumn Pavilion, and the Nine-turn Bridge exhibiting a hoary charm. These attractions have been featured by CNN as one of the "Top 10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Kaohsiung" and exude an oriental mystique. During the lantern festival, internationally renowned temple architectural designs were used as the main lanterns, complemented by modern lighting technology and music to create the "Light Dances on Lotus Pond" light show. This combination created a visually and auditorily stunning experience that blended traditional and modern elements. The event also showcased local folk art performances and religious beliefs from the temples around the Pond, presenting a rich Taiwanese flavor and authentic Kaohsiung characteristics. As a result, the Festival won the Gold Award in the Cultural Event category of the MUSE Creative Awards, which is a great honor. The Festival combined local religious beliefs and traditional culture from the temple squares with various performances, including folk arts, traditional dramas such as Taiwanese opera, shadow puppetry and palm puppetry. Performers included important intangible cultural heritage preservers like the "Lu Bo-da Cool Umbrella Troupe", the pride of Kaohsiung “Bajiajiang of Ji Sheng Tang", who have performed at the Nice Carnival in France, the "Twelve Pojie Array", Neimen’s "Zhenzong Art Troupe" with their Techno Third Prince, and the all-time winner in folk sports "Kaohsiung Liang Kuang Dragon and Lion Dance and Drum Troupe". In addition, outstanding traditional theater troupes from Kaohsiung, including "Mingyuan Tianzi Theater Troupe", "Jin Wu Zhou Palm Puppet Troupe", "Tian Hong Yuan Palm Puppet Troupe", "Jin-Ing-Ger Puppet Troupe", "Chin Fei Feng Marionette Theater Troupe", "Kaohsiung Shadow Puppet Theater Troupe", "Tung Hua Shadow Puppet Troupe" and "Yung Shing Le Shadow Puppet Troupe" took turns performing at different temple squares, providing a feast of outdoor theater performances.

The Tourism Bureau specially invited Wei-Yuan Chen, a renowned lighting designer for domestic concerts, to serve as the lighting design director for the "Light Dances on Lotus Pond" piece, which won the highest award in the competition. Chen expressed that Lotus Pond boasts a unique landscape and waterfront scenery, and it is also the area with the highest concentration of temples in Taiwan. The most famous landmarks include the Dragon and Tiger Pagodas, the Spring and Autumn Pavilion, Xuantian Shangdi, and the Confucius Temple. For this lantern festival, they selected Chinese architecture and statues that represent Oriental culture and combined them with lighting design to create a 360-degree, no-blind-spot presentation. The design integrated modern technology and traditional temple architecture, using dazzling lights to blend temple elements with youthful music rhythms, showcasing the fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, and the harmony of tradition and modernity, embodying Taiwan's diverse cultural spirit. Chen also revealed that the biggest challenge in designing the "Light Dances on Lotus Pond" was to outline the architectural contours of the temples with lighting. He had to climb onto the Xuantian Shangdi statue like a spider-man multiple times to install the lights, only to aim at presenting the best lighting performance and allowing visitors to enjoy a multi-layered visual feast from different angles around the Pond.
The 2023 Lotus Pond Lantern Festival also invited four popular Kaohsiung artists to create artwork, including YUKIJI, who created the 18-meter-tall "Captain Cuteness - Machiko", designer Guo-Ching Lin, known for his "Transforming Visions of the Future", and Chao-Lun Zhang, designer of the popular attraction "Gushan Fish Market". The main visual of the lantern festival was created by Shih-Yang Lin, winner of the German Red Dot Design Award, showcasing the energy of Kaohsiung's local art and culture.
By integrating lighting aesthetics with landscape art, the 2023 Kaohsiung Lotus Pond Lantern Festival broke the form of traditional Lunar New Year lanterns. With a total of 13 sets of lantern decorations and 66 local folk art performances and street artist events, the festival enabled visitors to appreciate the beauty of the lanterns and discover the unique Taiwanese culture of the Lotus Pond. The 11-day event achieved over 2 million visits, generating nearly 3 billion NTD in tourism revenue. Almost 40% of the visitors came from other cities and counties, with surrounding accommodation occupancy rates exceeding 80%. The surrounding commercial districts also saw a 30-40% increase in revenue, with visitor numbers increased by 50-60%. Souvenir sales reached an all-time high, and stall/market revenues doubled, successfully boosting the surrounding business and tourism industry.