Design in Post-Covid Future from Asia's Top Design Leaders
In extreme circumstances like the one we are in now, good innovations and designs are more vital than ever. Saving lives, restoring our well-being and helping us live as normal as possible in the pandemic – they deserve wider recognition. Like previous years, this year the prestigious DFA Awards continues to celebrate design leadership and exemplary designs with Asia perspectives to reinforce the importance of design in societies. "We at the Hong Kong Design Centre believe that design can provide a way of helping the world to navigate through the storms and better adapt to the new normal. This year’s awardees are all influencers in the design community. They have innovated to create humane designs that are able to solve problems, enhance our lives, connect our communities and sustain our cultures," said Professor Eric Yim, JP, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre.
With this year’s results announced in October, the DFA Forum was held in early December as part of Business of Design Week (BODW). It brought together some winners and judges to share their insights on design beyond the pandemic from an Asian perspective.
In the "Culture and Sustainability" session, winner of this year's DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer, Stanley Wong (anothermountainman), Founder & Creative Director of 84000 Communications Limited, cast light on how he finds alternatives to commercial values and engages the public with a unique visual language in his four decades of practice. "The Covid-19 crisis is a tragic situation, but with it comes new inspirations – the new normal, resetting and rebooting a new future – which to me encompasses new social values that pursue inner enjoyment and genuineness rather than superficial pleasure. I believe there is already a large group of people, from creatives to corporates to the public, who champions this direction."
The Covid-19 crisis is a tragic situation, but with it comes new inspirations – the new normal, resetting and rebooting a new future.
Stanley Wong (anothermountainman), Founder & Creative Director of 84000 Communications Limited
Lyndon Neri, Founding Partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, who received the DFA Design for Asia Award – Grand Award this year and DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer in 2018, shed light on cultural sustainability through their architectural project The Walled which is deeply inspired by the historic Geyuan Garden in Yangzhou. "We get so caught up with newness that we often forget what history can teach us. I think it's key to have cultural sustainability, especially in the pandemic when things are so uncertain. It's even more important and imperative that we hold onto our root, to understand where we come from, so as to have a better understanding of what the future holds. Without this lineage and continuity, as a humanity, we face the possibility of not having relevance."
It's even more important and imperative that we hold onto our root, to understand where we come from, so as to have a better understanding of what the future holds.
Lyndon Neri, Founding Partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office
In the "Experience Design" session, Akichika Tanaka, Director, Business Development of toio™ Business Development Office, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. and Dr Alexis André, Researcher of Sony Computer Science Laboratory, Inc. shared the design goals and process of toio™, a groundbreaking toy platform combining robotics, programming and physical experience. "Everything that toio™ is doing is to make toys as interesting as video games, and bring all the interactivity we have in the virtual world back to the physical world. We provide you with the technology to make your toys come alive and leave the play part up to you," they said. Their design won the DFA Design for Asia Awards – Grand Award with Special Mention this year.
Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia and one of the judges of the DFA Design for Asia Awards 2020, shed light on how they re-established the Australian Design Council to spur design-led innovation in the face of the many challenges of this year. "The question we ask is how do we change the traditional definition of good design, which converges viability, desirability and feasibility, into one that includes community, climate and commerce. Our world is crying out to design right now. Everything needs to be redesigned from scratch, from our banking to health to government systems. Design is the opportunity to look at everything with a fresh set of eyes."
Everything needs to be redesigned from scratch, from our banking to health to government systems. Design is the opportunity to look at everything with a fresh set of eyes.
Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia
Other awards this year include the DFA Lifetime Achievement Award which went to Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, who pioneered human-centred design thinking which shapes the face of contemporary design; and the DFA Design Leadership Award to Frank Wang, CEO and Founder of DJI, who successfully demonstrated the critical relationship between strong corporate leadership and design excellence. Furthermore, the DFA Design for Asia Awards recognised 197 outstanding design projects, and 16 emerging local designers were granted the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award.