Ki Lung Street (基隆街) runs through historic Sham Shui Po (深水埗), a district situated in the northern Kowloon Peninsula of Hong Kong (香港). The nine-storey block featured in this panorama was built in 1963, and is a prime example of a post-war “tong lau ( 唐樓)” or “shophouse”, a type of tenement architecture previously used throughout Southern China for mixed residential and commercial purposes. This block also features the much-loved curved corners at either end, an architectural feature that is increasingly rare in today’s modern buildings. Given the high rate of urban decay in the area, Sham Shui Po is a major target for urban renewal projects and such traditional tong lau are rapidly being replaced by new high rises.
Ki Lung Street – more colloquially known as “Button Street” – is one of the go-to streets in Hong Kong for purchasing wholesale fabrics, fasteners, sequins, feathers, buttons, and other garment accessories. The popup market stalls in this panorama are mainly dealing in ready-to-wear apparel; the wholesale fabric merchants are to be found along many of the neighbouring streets in Sham Shui Po and Cheung Sha Wan.
Another notable feature of this panorama is the use of 100% natural bamboo scaffolding for construction, a traditional practice which is still used widely throughout Hong Kong today – 5 million bamboo rods are imported into the city every year.