Rubber duck to float in Beijing

Updated: 2013-08-29 01:13

By Deng Zhangyu (China Daily)

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After touring 13 cities in 10 countries, a giant rubber duck designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman will be in Beijing from September to October, floating first at Beijing Garden Expo Park and then at the Summer Palace, the Beijing Design Week organizing committee said on Wednesday.

This is the first time Hofman's duck will come to the Chinese mainland. The bright yellow conceptual art piece has already won lots of Chinese fans after it was displayed in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour in May.

Rubber duck to float in Beijing

A Chinese girl poses with "Rubber Duck" badges after a news conference on Wednesday to announce its arrival in Beijing. The rubber duck designed by artist Florentijn Hofman has gained rave reviews after a recent appearance in Hong Kong. An 18-meter-high version will be unveiled in Beijing on Sept 6, with organizers expecting more than 8 million people to view the art installation. Mark RALSTON / agence france-presse

Beijing's rubber duck will be 18-meters-high, taller than the 16.5-meter version displayed in Hong Kong, said Zeng Hui, vice-director of the Beijing Design Week organizing committee office.

"In case the giant duck deflates, we have made two rubber ducks," Zeng said.

That happened in Hong Kong, where the huge inflatable duck was reduced to a puddle of yellow plastic after being displayed for two weeks.

The artwork is a gift to Beijing from Amsterdam — this year's Beijing Design Week Guest of Honor.

The designer will visit Beijing for its launch day on Sept 6 at the Garden Expo, said Anouchka Driel, senior cultural affairs officer at the embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The yellow duck will be on display at Beijing Garden Expo Park from Sept 6 to 23. People can also see the giant yellow duck against a Chinese ancient bridge at the Summer Palace from Sept 26 to Oct 26.

According to Chen Dongliang, another deputy-director of the Beijing Design Week organizing committee office, the final decision to choose Beijing's Garden Expo and the Summer Palace as the duck's Beijing homes primarily lay in the size of the locations and whether they were typical of Beijing.

"The places we plan to install the rubber duck were mainly decided by the Dutch designer, Hofman, and we just gave him some advice," he said.

Complaints over fees

However, people have to buy tickets to the sites if they wish to see the duck that is already making waves on the Chinese mainland.

The duck was installed in public areas and displayed free of charge in the previous cities it visited, including Hong Kong, Sydney and London.

Having to pay to view the artwork has evoked complaints online.

Tens of thousands of people commented following the news of the rubber duck's imminent arrival in Beijing. About half of those complained about having to buy tickets to see the piece.

"If I have to pay for the visit, I won't go to see the duck," said Shi Yao, 25, an office worker for the China National Offshore Oil Corporation Institute in Beijing.

A ticket to the Beijing Garden Expo Park costs 100 yuan ($16.34) and the cost of entering the Summer Palace is 30 yuan.

Ticket prices are the same as usual, said Gao Feng, leader of the park, and Li Linjie, deputy director of the Summer Palace.

"Cities like London and Hong Kong have large enough water features, which is what Beijing lacks. The water in the two places chosen to put the duck is suitable. I think it's reasonable for visitors to buy tickets as usual," said Ge Jianxiong, a professor of history of Fudan University.

The duck will be in Beijing during Mid-Autumn Festival and the National Day holidays, when crowds of tourists from around the nation are expected to visit the capital.

Last year during the national holidays, nearly 1 million people visited the Summer Palace, Li said.

A Chinese rubber duck fan club was set up on Wednesday, led by singer Lin Yilun. It aims to protect the copyright of rubber-duck-related products sold in China.