Skip to main content

Hong Kong's giant rubber duck

By Kate Whitehead, for CNN
May 2, 2013 -- Updated 1225 GMT (2025 HKT)
Not your everyday sight in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. A giant 16.5 meter (54 feet) inflatable duck, creatively called 'Rubber Duck' sails into town on Thursday. Not your everyday sight in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour. A giant 16.5 meter (54 feet) inflatable duck, creatively called 'Rubber Duck' sails into town on Thursday.
HIDE CAPTION
Rubber ducky makes Hong Kong lots of fun
One giant bathtub
Well traveled duck
'It's an adult thing'
Floating art
Old meets new
Rubber duck in hong kong
Next stop...
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rubber duck is six stories tall
  • Will be on display in Hong Kong until June 9
  • Next stop ... the United States

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Hong Kong's busy harbor is never short of action, but the great big yellow duck that floated into town on Thursday captured the city's attention.

Thousands lined the harbor front and work ground to a halt in offices with sea views as the much-hyped 'Rubber Duck' made its grand entrance. For two weeks local media has been on something of a "duck watch," closely monitoring the movements of the 16.5-meter (54 feet) inflatable sculpture.

The man behind the seriously over-sized bath toy, Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, described the Hong Kong response as overwhelming and said he was happy to have finally made it to the city, his first visit.

"I've wanted to come for years -- and my duck made it here before me!" he quipped.

Hong Kong 'quacking' up over art display

The sunshine-yellow duck drew up beside Ocean Terminal to the sound of a brass band and thousands of camera shutters.

"Hong Kong has been changed forever," declared Hofman as his inflatable friend lent a surreal air to the city's iconic skyline.

It's a very well traveled duck. Since it started on its global adventures, Rubber Duck has taken up temporary residence in cities all over the world, including Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam. It will be in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour until June 9.

For children?

Though it may be modeled on a child's toy, this massive public art installation isn't just for kids.

"I see it as an adult thing. It makes you feel young again. It refers to your childhood when there was no stress or economic pressure, no worry about having to pay the rent," said Hofman.

There were a lot of smiles and laughter as Rubber Duck made its splash but Hofman says he doesn't expect everyone to react with big grins.

"If it makes you smile, then that's OK, but maybe it makes you cry because of the urban environment. I make work not to give answers but to question things," said the 36-year-old father of three.

Hofman conceived the idea for the project in 2001. Twelve years on his own reaction to Rubber Duck is no longer simple.

"It's getting complex because I have so many thoughts about it and so many minutes of talking and thinking about it," he said.

He urged everyone who can to get out and enjoy the free public art.

"Be amazed, be creative. Look at it with your eyes and absorb the energy of the work in this location," he said.

Next stop for Rubber Duck is the United States. The exact destination is a closely guarded secret.

"I can't say, it's confidential," said Hoffman.

"In the States it will stay a secret until the last week."

Inflatable Rubber Duck Exhibition, May 2 to June 9, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Ocean Terminal, Harbour City -- Victoria Harbour and Forecourt.

Rubber Duck Photo Exhibition, May 1 to May 26, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Gallery by the Harbour, Ocean Centre, Harbour City.

Both exhibitions are free.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
The Y-40 Deep Joy, the world's deepest swimming pool at the Hotel Millepini Terme in Montegrotto Terme, Italy.
An Italian spa complex adds new depths to the hotel swimming pool concept with a 42-meter plunge chamber.
September 25, 2014 -- Updated 0036 GMT (0836 HKT)
Whether spiraling up mountains or sky-scraping attractions, these stairs give new meaning to the phrase "watch your step".
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 1429 GMT (2229 HKT)
Even during the harshest periods of the communist era, being Shanghainese had a special cachet in China.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 1252 GMT (2052 HKT)
Up the Inside Passage on a heritage tugboat, sport fishermen chase British Columbia's monster salmon.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0741 GMT (1541 HKT)
New York to London in three hours? The European aviation giant is joining the race to make it happen.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Which cities provide the most memorable party times? A self-proclaimed "nightlife connoisseur" names his top 10.
September 22, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
Whether you're looking for a post-meeting pint or a wild night out, creativity is on the menu at these hot Hong Kong venues.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 1028 GMT (1828 HKT)
An image showing the Istanbul district of Beyoglu where gentrification is changing the face of the neighborhood and leading the closure of many old shops and establishments.
Artists and migrants are moving out as a once-crumbling neighborhood goes upscale.
September 20, 2014 -- Updated 0502 GMT (1302 HKT)
They irrigate our farms, are an important means of transport and a source of eco-friendly power.
ADVERTISEMENT