Lighting Up Kaohsiung: A New Dawn for Taiwan's Lantern Festival

Golden A' Design Award Winner Transforms Traditional Festival into a Modern Spectacle

The Lantern Festival, a beloved tradition in Taiwan, has been reimagined by the Kaohsiung City Government, creating a dazzling display of light that merges art, technology, and urban design. This innovative approach has earned the festival the prestigious Golden A' Design Award in 2023.

The Lantern Festival is a significant event in Chinese culture, celebrated with great enthusiasm in Taiwan. For 33 years, the Taiwan Lantern Festival has brought families together in a celebration of light. In 2022, the festival was held in Kaohsiung, one of Taiwan's six major cities, after a 20-year hiatus. The theme, 'Lights Kaohsiung, illuminates Taiwan,' was proposed by Vice Mayor and Chief Planner Shih Che.

The Kaohsiung City Government's innovative approach to the festival was a game-changer. The planning team combined two national venues, Weiwuying National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts and Kaohsiung Music Center, with the city's landscape to create the largest lantern festival in history. The festival broke the boundaries of art, introducing urban design into the event and creating three types of main lights: land, sea, and air.

The festival was a result of meticulous planning and collaboration. The planning team held hundreds of meetings with relevant bureaus of the Kaohsiung City Government, tailoring the work to the city's landscape and selecting light artworks from various countries and localities in Taiwan. The result was a fusion of local and international artworks, creating a brilliant and diversified aesthetic.

The festival was not just a feast for the eyes but also a celebration of local memories and histories. It introduced the concept of reducing light, lowering light, and cherishing light. The festival was spread over two exhibition areas, Weiwuying and Love River Bay, covering about 100 hectares. It featured AIoT performances, drone shows, natural arts, a 360-degree immersive light and shadow theater, and even transformed the light environment of the Love River, making the city's river one of the main lights.

The festival was not without its challenges. With a cumulative number of visitors reaching about 11.55 million, crowd control was a significant issue. The planning team had to ensure strict implementation of COVID restrictions in each exhibition zone. Despite these challenges, the festival was a resounding success, boosting the local economy by about NT17.5 billion.

The Kaohsiung City Government's innovative approach to the Lantern Festival has set a new standard for future events. The festival was not just a celebration of light but also a testament to the power of creativity and innovation. It was a beacon of positive energy, spreading goodwill and leaving a lasting impact on the city's landscape.

Project Details and Credits

Project Designers: Kaohsiung City Government
Image Credits: Kaohsiung City Government
Project Team Members: Kaohsiung City Government
Project Name: Lantern Festival
Project Client: Kaohsiung City Government

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