Ground Floor 

Main Hall In Focus—Light & Lamps

Close-up of nine identical lamps hanging from the ceiling. Each lamp is made out of thick glass resembling an upside-down bowl.

The 'Hong Kong Lamp' in the M+ building. Photo: Dan Leung. M+, Hong Kong


We’ve already talked about how M+ plays with natural light here on the Ground Floor: it floods in from the lightwells on the floor above through the cutaway voids in the ceiling, and also enters from the impressive floor to ceiling glass windows that mark the four entrances around the Main Hall, which are fully transparent.

If you’re familiar with Hong Kong though, some of the light fixtures in this space may well have caught your attention—the hanging lamps. You can see them above the central information desk, hanging low around the pillar in the middle. Their design, reminiscent of a jelly fish with the bulb in the middle, was inspired by the ubiquitous red butcher’s lamp shades that light up wet markets, food suppliers, and grocery stores across the city.

The designers have taken that core design and adapted it across the museum’s different spaces. Here, above the information desk, they have small shades hanging from a single wire, while outside, above the entrances, there are much larger shades, supported by a rigid, tripod-like structure designed to withstand the dramatic typhoon winds that often batter Hong Kong. They’re called ‘Hong Kong Lamps’, and were designed by the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron and produced by Italian manufacturer Flos.

These red butcher’s lamps, or egg lamps as they’re sometimes known locally, are an iconic part of Hong Kong’s visual identity, making them the perfect inspiration for the fittings in and around M+. These aren’t expensive, prestigious objects. They’re commonplace, woven into the daily life of our city and form part of a shared, cultural heritage for its people. Over the years, they’ve quietly become one of the enduring symbols of Hong Kong, and now they adorn this public space.