Innovators of Illumination: The Community Float Artists of Chingay 2024 — Hoo Jian Li and Lim Jia Ren

As the vibrant floats glide through the streets of Singapore during the Chingay@Heartlands Parade, there’s an inventive duo behind the scenes whose technical mastery and artistic vision bring to life mechanical wonders that ignite the imagination and captivate the audiences — Hoo Jian Li and Lim Jia Ren, the founders of Junction Studio and Community Float Artists for Chingay 2024. They aim to infuse the parade with their unique blend of technical sophistication and artistic brilliance.

To gain insight into the artists’ vision who are also making their Chingay debut, we had the privilege of interviewing Jian Li and Jia Ren to unravel the captivating tale behind their creative journey and unique artistic fusion.

Inspired by Tradition, Fueled by Passion

From their earliest days, Jian Li and Jia Ren were drawn to the mesmerising spectacle of Chingay, its colourful parades and jubilant festivities igniting a spark of inspiration within them. Guided by a shared appreciation for Singapore’s cultural heritage and a deep-seated desire to leave their mark upon its storied landscape, they felt a pull to participate in this iconic event, to contribute their talents and showcase what they could do.

Chingay Profile Interview Jian Li & Jia Ren - Group 1
Jian Li and Jia Ren at one of the workshops at the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC

Their entry into Chingay was catalysed by encounters with fellow artists Fish Jaafar and Casey Chen, who recognised their potential and encouraged them to take the plunge. Excited by the prospect of being part of such a significant cultural celebration, Jian Li and Jia Ren eagerly embraced the opportunity to co-create with the community and bring their vision to life.

At the heart of Jian Li and Jia Ren’s creations lies a fusion of engineering prowess and artistic finesse. Their community float for Chingay 2024, aptly named “Fire Flower“, is a grand display of their technical ingenuity and creative vision. Inspired by the vibrant bursts of fireworks that light up the night sky, the float recreates this spectacle using a mesmerising combination of mechanical engineering and LED technology.

With meticulous attention to detail and contribution from their community, Jian Li and Jia Ren have brought their concept to life, crafting a mechanical firework that expands and contracts as the float moves, creating a dynamic display of colour and movement. Each petal of the fireworks is meticulously crafted from recycled water bottles, a nod to their commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Community Collaboration: A Shared Vision

For Jian Li and Jia Ren, the journey to Chingay has been as much about community as it has been about creativity. From the outset, they sought to involve residents of their local Group Representation Constituency (GRC) in Marsiling and Yew Tee in the creative process, where their primary aim was to bridge the gap between artistic vision and communal spirit, inviting residents to contribute their ideas and insights to the design of the floats.

Throughout a series of workshops and collaborative sessions, Jian Li and Jia Ren provided a platform for residents to express themselves creatively, encouraging them to share their stories, memories, and aspirations. It was during these interactions that the true magic of community collaboration began to unfold. Residents eagerly embraced the opportunity to lend their voices to the project, offering suggestions and feedback, and even proposing new additions, such as the inclusion of Singapore Turf City, a landmark one of the participants suggested.

Chingay Profile Interview Jian Li & Jia Ren - Petal Assembly
Jian Li engages with members of the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC to guide them through the meticulous process of assembling the petals for “Fire Flower”

“We aspire to apply our engineering skills and knowledge to create a stunning visual display that not only impresses but also piques viewers’ curiosity,” shares Jian Li, reflecting on their approach to integrating community input into their designs. 

“Deliberately integrating the mechanical components in a visible yet tidy manner, we sought to provide viewers with opportunities to explore and understand the inner workings of the float upon closer examination.”

Indeed, the spirit of collaboration infused every aspect of the float-making process, from the meticulous fabrication of mechanical elements to the vibrant bursts of colour that adorn the final product. Each petal of the fireworks display, meticulously crafted from recycled water bottles, serves as a testament to the collective effort and ingenuity of the community.

“Chingay is a big chance for us to show off our skills in mechanical and interactive storytelling,” adds Jia Ren, highlighting the transformative power of community engagement. “We hope more people can connect with our concept and enjoy the magic of this special way of telling stories.”

Chingay Profile Interview Jian Li & Jia Ren - Injection Molding 2
Jia Ren interacts with members of the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC of all ages, teaching them how to injection mould every petal of the “Fire Flower”

As the floats take to the Chingay@Heartlands Parade, they do more than simply dazzle and delight audiences — they serve as tangible expressions of community pride and solidarity. Through their collaborative efforts, Jian Li and Jia Ren have succeeded in creating a spectacle that not only captures the essence of the Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC but also celebrates the diversity, stories, and experiences that define Singaporean society.

A Vision for the Future

As they unveiled their community float at Chingay 2024, Jian Li and Jia Ren are brimming with anticipation, eager to embark on a journey that transcends the realms of art and technology. For the duo, the parades represent more than just a culmination of their creative endeavours, but also a chance to exhibit their unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of storytelling and innovation.

Jian Li and Jia Ren share their vision for the future. “We aim to inspire audiences to push boundaries and find solutions, given the scarcity of mechanical marvels in today’s creative landscape.”

Chingay Profile Interview Jian Li & Jia Ren - Fire Flower 4
The “Fire Flower” made its debut at Chingay 2024!

With their eyes set firmly on what to come, Jian Li and Jia Ren envision a future where art and technology intertwine seamlessly, creating immersive experiences that captivate the senses and ignite the imagination. 

Their community float at Chingay 2024 and Chingay@ Heartlands serve as a glimpse into their visionary world. “Chingay holds particular significance due to its focus on community involvement,” reflects Jia Ren, underscoring the importance of collective engagement in shaping the creative landscape. “We prioritise meaningful community engagement, aiming to reflect their collective experiences through our collaborative creations.”

As the curtains rise Chingay@Heartlands, Jian Li and Jia Ren extend an invitation to audiences to join them on a journey of discovery and delight. With their float, they hope to spark a sense of wonder and curiosity, inviting spectators to explore the limitless possibilities of their imagination.

“At the heart of our creations lies a fusion of engineering prowess and artistic finesse,” Jian Li remarks, emphasising the transformative power of their collaborative efforts. “Through Chingay, we aim to demonstrate how we can apply our engineering knowledge and skills to engage the public.”

With their technical brilliance and artistic ingenuity, Jian Li and Jia Ren are illuminating the streets of Singapore with a symphony of light, colour, and creativity, leaving an indelible mark on Chingay 2024 and beyond.


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The Chingay Parade may be over, but the celebrations don’t stop. From now till 9 March 2024, Chingay is moving into the Heartlands!

Date, Day Heartlands Caravan Route
Start Point End Point
1 March 2024,  FridayHolland-Bukit  Timah GRC & Bukit  Panjang SMCFrom 5:30pm: Ghim Moh Road From 7:30pm: Petir  Road (In front of  Petir Park)Senja-Cashew CC
2 March 2024,  SaturdayMarine Parade GRC  & MacPherson SMC  and Mountbatten  SMCFrom 4pm: In front of Braddell  Heights CC  Basketball Court  and Sports ArenaLarge Floats: In  front of Blk 311,  along Eunos Link Community Floats: Carpark in front of  Blk 311, Ubi Ave 1
3 March 2024,  SundayPasir Ris-Punggol  GRC & Punggol  West SMCFrom 5pm: Carpark opposite  Downtown East  (Pasir Ris Close)One Punggol
9 March 2024,  Saturday West Coast GRC &  Pioneer SMCFrom 5pm: Carpark in front of  Telok Blangah CCAlong Jurong West  Street 91, beside  Blk 953

More information about Chingay@Heartlands can be found on Chingay’s official website and on Chingay’s socials, like their Facebook page and Instagram profile!

Visuals courtesy of People’s Association.

Jeffrey Lee

A Singaporean raised abroad, you might want to see Jeffrey's different take on things — especially if you frequently find yourself swinging around a climbing gym or with a crossword in hand.

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