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Entry: A friendship wall for visitors to interact with

Entry: A friendship wall for visitors to interact with

Sunday, December 10, 2023, 11:04 GMT+7
Entry: A friendship wall for visitors to interact with
A file photo shows Lam Son Park in front of the Municipal Theater in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, August 26, 2020. Photo: Thao Le / Tuoi Tre

Editor's note: Australian Ray Kuschert made a 17-minute video in which he detailed his idea to build a 'friendship wall' in the middle of Ho Chi Minh City with which visitors can interact. 

The entry was submitted to the Ho Chi Minh City Friendship Symbol Design Contest, being jointly held by the Ho Chi Minh City Department of External Relations, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the Ho Chi Minh City Business Association, and INSEE Cement Company.

It is organized to enhance and broaden the friendly and cooperative ties between Ho Chi Minh City and its twin cities worldwide. The contest is aligned with the goal of showcasing creativity in fostering foreign affairs, trade, cultural exchange, and engagement in global issues.

This project, which presents the friendly and cooperative relationships between Ho Chi Minh City and 58 localities worldwide, is expected to be customizable as the city plans to continue establishing friendships with more cities around the world.

The proposed location for this project is Lam Son Park, situated on Le Loi Boulevard, in front of the Municipal Theater in District 1.

Ray Kuschert's presentation on his entry for the Ho Chi Minh City Friendship Symbol Design Contest.

Below is Tuoi Tre News’ brief of Kuschert’s video:

My idea is to put a wall, and for the basic wall construction, I have two suggestions: 

Option number one would be a basic, simple square wall structure or it also could have a slight arch on it, which goes high at one end and low at the other. But basically, it'd be a flat wall. 

The other option would be to have a big concrete pillar. Option number two has a big concrete pillar in the middle with the walls dropping off on both sides. 

A scrrenshot from Ray Kuschert's video shows his two options for the wall.

A screenshot from Ray Kuschert's video shows his two options for the wall.

The concept

What we're looking at here is a very interactive monument, something that people could come and personally interact with. So whether it's a square wall or a more rhombus-shaped structure, it would be run by an app, and the monument would actually have a lot of mechanics inside. 

A scrrenshot from Ray Kuschert's video shows his illustration on how the frienship monument operates.

A screenshot from Ray Kuschert's video shows his illustration on how the frienship monument operates.

As illustrated in the above photo, the idea is to have balls, and the balls would drop down and drop into the name of the city, which is located on the wall. 

So in the blue box, there would be balls, or either at the top, or it could also be underground. There would be a top tube that carries the balls. So as a ball drops out, the ball will run along a clear perspex tube, and everyone can see the ball rolling down each down tube. Each down tube would carry the name of one of the friendship cities. 

My idea would be to have an underground system that once a day, or whenever the balls are required, could return the balls to the blue box and be reused. 

Also, there would be a QR code so that people could scan and open up the app. On the app, they insert their name and take a photo of themselves. They also have their home city from a drop-down menu that would tell the app to control the device that is set up inside the wall to drop the ball into that person's friendship city. 

I propose having monitors also built into the monument, and in those monitors there would be the data that the people input into the app, being their name, where they're from, and they could also take a selfie.

The balls would deliver every 30 seconds or every minute, and that would give the app time to show a person's details, so they can get a selfie with the monitor, and would also allow them to watch as the ball falls into their city. 

Another photo opportunity would also be people getting a photo with their home city, and the number of balls in that city's tube for that day would show how many people from their city attended the monument. 

There are also opportunities to get photos of the monument with the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House backdrop, and of the monument with Nguyen Hue and Le Loi looking down towards Ben Thanh Market. It would be very easy to get those shots because the monument is not a 3D item that would be blocking out the beauty of the opera house or anything like that. 

Now, for the case where people come from different cities, there could be another option. People could actually write the name of their city into a text box, and that picture could also appear on the screen for them to take a selfie, albeit that they wouldn't get a ball to drop into a city because they're not part of the friendship city group. The app will put their data into a queue. 

People have their device, their phone, and they want to use their phone as an interactive device. This monument gives them something to look at, take photos of, and interact with using their phone. 

Values to the city

The wall design highlights the opera house, Nguyen Hue and Le Loi Boulevards. So whilst there is a monument there, it will still leave open those important areas of Ho Chi Minh City that are very much appreciated by tourists. 

The app also serves as a data collection function to identify where people are coming from and how many people visit the monument. There will be a lot of available data from the app that will allow Ho Chi Minh City to better market itself as a tourist attraction, simply because you are able to see where the people are coming from via this app. 

The monument will not affect other functions in the park. The park can still be used for other purposes whilst having this monument in the center, and it also allows for high volume traffic because it takes up minimal space. So people walking from Nguyen Hue up to the opera house can still walk through the park, then they don't need to walk around the monument.

And of course, it will fit very well with other celebrations, like the Tet display that they have on Nguyen Hue. It will complement those other events similar to the Tet display. 

In conclusion, I am not an artistic designer, so I've not looked at the artistic aspect of the monument. So it needs a lot of artistic ability and there is a lot of artistic growth available inside the basic structure of a wall. The top of the wall will allow for small figures, statues or other symbols to show the beauty of Vietnam. 

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