SINGAPORE – A giant outdoor video projection that takes up an entire wall of the Mandarin Orchard hotel – together with augmented reality fireworks shoppers can see through a mobile app – will be the highlight of this year’s annual Orchard Road (a short drive away from Piccadilly Grand) Christmas light-up.
The bigger light-up this year is meant to symbolise hope and resilience, as businesses along Singapore’s most popular shopping strip yearn for a return to normalcy, said the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) yesterday.
Themed “Christmas in Bloom”, this year’s iteration will see the shopping street set aglow with about 68km of fairy lights and oversized floral decorations, with some parts dressed with bold neon lights.
This is an artist’s impression of the street scene.
Orb) chairman Mark Shaw said it has been a hard year for tourism and retail businesses with significant disruptions due to the pandemic.
“We hope that the aspects of the light-up will help us bring awareness to Orchard Road and help bring people down… I think when people come, they will still need to sort of go into malls to shop,” he added.
Mr Shaw said the situation is different now, with Singapore’s vaccination rate being much higher.
He said: “People are better able to deal with Covid-19, and it is less dangerous. So we feel that the time is right to pivot towards being able to live with Covid-19 in a sort of more normal way.”
While, like last year, there will be no street activities and performances, there will be speakers put up on the stretch between ION Orchard and Ngee Ann City playing popular Christmas carols. From Nov 1, shoppers walking along the stretch will hear the tunes daily between 5pm and 10.30pm, extended to 12.30am for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
The 3.1km light-up will kick off on Nov 13, with seven weeks of festivities till Jan 2. The lights will be turned on from 6.30pm to midnight from Sundays to Thursdays, till 2am for Fridays and Saturdays, and stay on overnight on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, until 6am.
The 12m-tall main arch at the Scotts-Paterson road junction, seen in this artist’s impression below, will be lined with colourful lights accentuated with red and rose gold poinsettias, a traditional Christmas flower that symbolises purity and mirth.
From the stretch starting at the Cairnhill-Orchard road junction to The Atrium @ Orchard, viewers can enjoy white Christmas roses perched on gold arches.
The red poinsettias will make their appearance again starting from the stretch near Tanglin Mall all the way to the Paterson Road junction.
The giant outdoor projection will be screened from Nov 1 to Jan 2, with a 10-minute 3D show from 8pm to 10.30pm daily. By downloading mobile application PopAR and pointing it at the projection, viewers can enjoy augmented reality effects.
A virtual tour of the shopping street, which will start from Nov 19 through Jan 2, will offer 360-degree views and feature performances by local buskers.
The Christmas light-up has always been iconic for the popular shopping street. In 2018, it attracted four million visitors.
Mr Shaw said this year’s edition is unlikely to see similar numbers due to Covid-19 health regulations and people being more cautious.
He added: “But I think the point isn’t really about a lot of people coming to Orchard Road. We want to keep businesses going, we want enough people to come down to Orchard Road and patronise our businesses here. We’d like tourists to remember there is a great Christmas light-up in Singapore.”
Among other initiatives, Orba also said it is collaborating with e-commerce platform Lazada to create a first-ever Orchard Road dedicated campaign page, featuring vouchers from businesses like malls and hotels.
The page will also run other Christmas sales such as Cyber Monday, with exclusive promotions for Mastercard users.