As part of the #LoveChinatown campaign, Shaftesbury has partnered with the London Chinatown Chinese Association (LCCA) to further revitalise Chinatown London as it welcomes back visitors. The bold multi-coloured lanterns replace the red lanterns that have been hanging for over 40 years.
The new rows of special multi-coloured lanterns are a nod to the rainbow of hope thanking the amazing work of NHS staff and keyworkers throughout the pandemic. As people continue to return to their favourite restaurants and search for new cuisines they have not been able to enjoy in lockdown, the lanterns serve as a positive symbol that adds to the vibrancy and character of Chinatown London.
Chinatown’s tenants, community figures and other stakeholders, such as Kim Joy, Fuchsia Dunlop, Ping Coombes, Ching He Huang, Brendan Pang, Helen Goh and members of the LCCA and The China Exchange, have signed the lanterns. To coincide with the hanging of the lanterns, a virtual messaging screen has been installed in Newport Court where visitors can share messages with their loved ones or their favourite Chinatown London restaurant. Users scan a QR code and their message appears on the side of a virtual sky lantern floating on the digital screen. MasterChef finalist 2020 Sandy Tang, and contributor to the #BringingChinatownHome campaign, was the first to write a heartfelt poem as a wish to Chinatown that has been integrated into the design of the installation.
Karen Baines, Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Shaftesbury, commented: “The #LoveChinatown campaign has been designed to support our operators, residents and visitors as people begin to safely return to the West End. Working with the LCCA, we wanted to create a positive symbol of hope in a revitalised Chinatown London as it welcomes back visitors.”
Mr Chu Ting Tang OBE, Chairman of the LCCA added: “The lanterns in Chinatown have been a recognisable attraction for over 40 years, so we were keen to work with Shaftesbury to create a new display that celebrates overcoming adversity and welcomes people back to the streets of our much-loved Chinatown. We hope visitors will enjoy the change, and it will help support our community and businesses.”
The lanterns are part of the #LoveChinatown campaign to support tenants, celebrate diversity, and safely welcome people back to Chinatown. Other activities forming the campaign include transforming Chinatown London into an open air food destination with additional seating, and offering “Take-Put” boxes for specially-selected dishes from participating restaurants. Adapting the traditional Chinese take-out box, the containers showcase the quality of cuisine on offer in Chinatown London. They also fold out into a makeshift plate for those utilising the additional seating from which to enjoy their Chinatown London experience.