Skip to main content

Hong Kong's giant rubber duck

By Kate Whitehead, for CNN
updated 8:25 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
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
updated 8:49 PM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
As the new season of "Game of Thrones" approaches, we pick out 20 stunning spots in one of its most oft-used locations.
updated 5:40 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
They're hot, they're popular, they're stylish. Now they're your tour guides to Italy's fashion capital.
updated 12:10 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
A quarter of the year's flown by, it's time to plan a vacation. TripAdvisor's list of Top Destinations should help.
updated 1:23 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
You may not have those $10 Heinekens and $6 bags of M&M's to kick around anymore. Happy now?
updated 3:25 AM EDT, Mon April 7, 2014
Japan isn't a country to which you just show up and wing it. Here's how to arrive prepared.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu April 3, 2014
The Economist is latest to dogpile on the reputation of U.S. airports; one industry leader says he knows why.
updated 2:23 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Laojun Mountain Natural Reserve gave out bags of mountain air to Chinese residents. After seeing these photos, you'll want some too.
updated 9:04 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
Forget space. Our very own planet is ripe for investigation. Here are some of the spots we know least about.
updated 2:51 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
A colossal empire of little houses stacked on top of each other, connected by staircases snaking under dangling wires -- Kowloon Walled City in Hong Kong.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
Move to squeeze in extra passengers brings dose of economic reality to dreams of luxuriously pimped aircraft.
updated 4:03 AM EDT, Tue April 1, 2014
British sound engineer wants you to ditch the camera and open your ears to "sound tourism."
updated 6:56 PM EDT, Sun March 30, 2014
Think bouncing on the end of an elastic rope is tough? Try jumping off a wooden tower with only a vine tied to your ankle.
updated 1:38 AM EDT, Fri March 28, 2014
Decimated by poaching, black rhino numbers are starting to increase again, thanks, in part, to on-foot tracking tours for tourists.
updated 10:59 PM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
Singapore Changi Airport has been crowned the best in the world for the second year in a row at the World Airport Awards.
updated 6:02 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
What do you get when you combine 60,000 photos, eight-hour cliff treks and months of patient processing? One of the year's great time-lapse videos.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT