Little Hay Street Lanterns

Related to City Art
Installed 1997
A close view of a lit, cube-shaped lantern. On one visible side is the head of a bird on a blue background, and on the other visible side is a full bird on a green background. Over this is a translucent layer with black outlines of clouds.
A city street at night, lined with cars parked along both kerbs. Above the sides of the street, attached to the sides of buildings, are two rows of square lanterns. The lanterns are green-blue and encased in a translucent resin.

Wall lanterns forming part of a series of lighting artworks that enlivened Chinatown for 2 decades.

Artist:  Peter McGregor

Artwork description

Working with Hassell urban designer and architect Ken Maher, and architect and feng shui specialist Howard Choy, architect/artist Peter McGregor drew on Chinese architecture, mythology and philosophy to create these artworks. Heaven, Earth, the Sussex and Dixon Street I-Ching light screens and the Little Hay Street wall lanterns were all laid out and colour-coded using Choy’s feng shui diagrams.

Designed as a complement to the major lighting elements – Heaven, Earth and the Sussex and Dixon Street I-Ching light screens – the Little Hay Street wall lanterns depict modern interpretations of traditional iconography such as dragons and phoenixes. They continue to adorn the precinct’s latest buildings.

“Drawing on Chinese architecture, mythology and philosophy, the work is colour coded based on feng shui diagrams, which place the work at the symbolic centre of Chinatown.”

– Peter McGregor, 2017


Peter McGregor has studied both art and architecture and continues to practice the fine line and at times large void between both, in a range of projects. These include new parks and squares, street and lane upgrades, small public buildings, as well as apartment buildings and houses.

Deaccession of related works

In 2024, 27 years after their original installation, Heaven, Earth and the Sussex and Dixon Street I-Ching light screens were deaccessioned as the elements used in them had reached the end of their life. The artist was consulted as part of the process.

The Little Hay Street wall lanterns have been retained and complement a new body of lighting works in the precinct.

Chinatown public art strategy

A new series of public art projects began in 2010 to revitalise and extend Chinatown’s public spaces.

The program is based on extensive community consultation and development by curatorial advisor Aaron Seeto as part of the Chinatown public domain plan.

The approach recognises the existing artworks commissioned in 1999 and the character of this vibrant urban area.

Related artworks

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