One of the things people always notice about the Mass Transit Railway in Hong Kong is the mosaic tiles that line the walls, and the dual English / Chinese station names on the pillars.
The first MTR stations were opened in the 1980s: these have entire walls covered with the tiles: for example Prince Edward.
Shau Kei Wan.
Tsim Sha Tsui.
Most stations use just a single colour of tile, but Lok Fu highlights green tiles with red.
And Mong Kok swaps between red and grey.
But Choi Hung is unique in having rainbow stripes (because in Cantonese it means rainbow)
When building the Island Line stations the builders had a bit of trouble: due to the stations being deep level bored tubes instead of cut and cover boxes, attaching mosaic tiles to a curved surface was difficult, leading them to use fibreglass panels for the curved sections.
By the 1990s the MTR moved on from mosaics: stations on the Tung Chung line (opened in 1998) just have fibreglass panels. However the Tseung Kwan O Line opened in 2002 reintroduced the traditional mosaics on station columns, paired with fibreglass wall panels.
The former KCR also got into the mosaic tile game, the Ma On Shan Line opened in 2004 uses slightly bigger tiles on the walls.
However, it is not just on the Mass Transit Railway that you will see mosaic tiles: everywhere you go in Hong Kong they seem to lurking nearby! The Housing Authority is another big user.
Their apartment towers are covered with the stuff!
They appear to be still using it as well, as this under construction tower shows:
It isn’t just low income housing that use mosaic tiles.
Developers of middle and upper class apartment blocks also love tiles.
You will also find them covering the wall of your local shopping centre:
And post office:
I’m sure there is hundreds more examples of mosaic tiles around Hong Kong: the big question is why are they so popular?