July 28th, 2020

HSBC building in Hong Kong (1935–1981)

This photo from 1981 shows the demolition of the HSBC building in Hong Kong, built in 1935.


Image: Gwulo.

This is the interior, when the building was still standing:

Image: HSBC.

The ceiling, created by the Russian Shanghai-based artist Victor Podgoursky, was a sight to behold!



In February 1935, Podgoursky went to Italy to supervise the assembly of the ceiling mosaic for the HSBC building in Hong Kong. The mosaic covering 4,000 square feet depicted 50 life-size figures, as well as "scores of animals, machines, ships and kindred subjects." It was executed in "bright unsoftened colors" without half-tones. The centerpiece in the shape of an inverted half-cylinder evoked the theme of progress, from prehistoric to modern times, "with emphasis on industry and transport, the occidental and oriental contrasted on opposing sectors." (NCDN, Feb 6, 1935) There were also the images of the sun, Greek gods, the signs of the Zodiac, Chinese gods of fortune and Japanese spirits.


Images: Gwulo.

Victor Podgoursky (1893–1969), Shanghai's most accomplished artist and decorator, now has a page on Building Russian Shanghai.

But... damn!
Hong Kong HSBC ceiling interior Podgoursky 1978 demolition Gwulo.png