Our dependence on cars has led to high levels of pollution. Cities are now so fraught with noxious fumes that certain areas witness citizens walking about with their faces covered in masks. Since it doesn’t seem possible to revert back to walking long distances, there’s an urgent need to find alternative ways to curb carbon emissions. This has led designers to come up with concepts for greener cities in which carbon emissions are kept at zero or near zero levels through the use of green energy.
A city teeming with people and vehicles, Hong Kong is an ideal contender for such visions. . With tourism seeing a constant flow of outside visitors, there’s a need to craft ideas that will seek to change the city in a subtle manner without affecting tourist footfalls and the lives of its citizens.
Paul Tse and Evelyn Ting are two designers who teamed up to present their concept titled ‘Submergence’, at the competition for international design ideas. Hong Kong itself is a bustling city that sees many automobiles on the road. Using this as inspiration, the duo envisioned creating protective bubbles around the cars which would reduce emissions.
The project sees cars at the border of the island of Hong Kong undergoing a sort of transformation. Here, each vehicle will be fitted with a capsule as it will go through a transition kiosk. The capsule has a double layered skin which acts as individual sound barriers and restricts carbon emissions.
The two architects hope to see these protective bubbles transforming the landscape. When the volume of traffic is low, the bubbles will appear as water droplets. When traffic is at its peak, the island appears to be submerged in water. Readers may be wondering about the purpose of changing landscapes but as per the rules of the competition, designers were required to harmonize their concepts with the surroundings, allowing for aesthetics to play a major role.
Cities like Hong Kong that have achieved iconic statuses cannot afford to dramatically alter their attributes. As such, Tse and Ting’s proposal seeks to work around this by subtly changing aspects like landscape without capping the number of cars on the roads or imposing other restrictions on citizens.
Tse’s ideas are extremely artistic. A look at his works will give you the impression that he works with the surrounding rather than against it. This lends his designs a unique touch, winning him coveted titles in conceptual designing competitions.