Laying Foundations for a Bright Design Future
DMatters March 2023 Issue
As Hong Kong develops into a hub for arts and cultural exchanges between China and the rest of the world, Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) strives to nurture future design and creative talents for realising the city’s unique cultural positioning. Early access to design career exploration opportunities can go a long way in helping children to develop their interest in the field and get a taste of the cultural influence design brings, unlocking Hong Kong’s competitiveness as they become the designers, leaders and innovators of tomorrow.
Collaborating with nearly 50 local design companies, HKDC launches a special initiative ‘Design !n Action’, a design career discovery programme for local students and a concurrent event of BODW City Programme (CityProg). Here, we talk to three participating companies about their activities and views on how design creates cultural values for the city, and more.
Arnold and Tat of ARTA Architects led a guided tour for students to experience a real-world practice on how design brings the community together, benefiting the wellbeing of residents.
The Victoria Harbour – a world-renowned icon of Hong Kong serving as a role model in creative placemaking and creating a public space that engages locals and tourists alike, ARTA Architects believes its beauty can further be enhanced with installations and artwork showcased alongside. Known for its transformation of some of the seaside walkways, the award-winning architecture studio is aspired to ‘provide a platform for the public to creatively connect and interact with the people and places along the beautiful Victoria Harbour’. For ‘Design !n Action’, Arnold Wong and Tat Wong, the two young Co-founders, led a guided tour for students to appreciate the art installations at East Coast Park Precinct, one of its waterfront design projects, and shared insights into the design process and the startup journey as an architecture firm. ‘We encourage students to view constraints as possibilities and to explore their passion with a determined mindset.’ Arnold and Tat said.
We encourage students to view constraints as possibilities and to explore their passion with a determined mindset.
Students were invited to have an exclusive tour of the tram depot.
Next is another symbol of Hong Kong's culture – trams – an over a century-old moving cultural heritage and a collective memory for several generations of the city's people. A sister company of Hong Kong Tramways, tramplus invited students to have an exclusive tour of the tram depot and offers job-shadowing opportunities with Nixon Cheung, the General Manager of tramplus; he is also the Head of Commercial and Brand at Hong Kong Tramways. Nixon expressed, ‘Through deepening the students’ understanding of design and engineering, we hope to foster a culture of creativity and innovation, and instil a sense of purpose and responsibility to make a positive impact on the world.’ They believe design embodies the creators’ roots and messages, and serves as a channel expressing cultural values. Whether it is the collaboration with Pantone Colour Institute for the creation of ‘HK Tram Green’, or with Wah Yan College for adorning a tram’s exterior with local landscape, tramplus embraces the city’s heritage and the value of community-building. ‘Hong Kong is well-positioned as a hub for like-minded creatives to be inspired and inspire others. It is a great place to experiment with new ideas.’
Hong Kong is well-positioned as a hub for like-minded creatives to be inspired and inspire others. It is a great place to experiment with new ideas.
During the plastic waste upcycling workshop led by Homan of FabLab Tokwawan, students were fascinated by the FabLab movement and gained a better understanding of sustainable design and technologies.
Moving on to the design and creative maker cluster To Kwa Wan – an important light industrial district during the city’s manufacturing boom, where innovative ideas turned into reality, Homan Ho, Founder of FabLab Tokwawan shared with students how its fabrication laboratory equipped with various traditional and digital fabrication tools promotes creative doing and local design and social innovation. ‘Hong Kong has its own culture while being culturally diverse. The priority is to facilitate the exchange of cultural values and resources across different aspects and create synergy through design.’ In its ‘rPlastic Machines’ project, FabLab keeps the manufacturing culture alive and produces machines and moulds for the public to recycle plastic, empowering them to turn waste into something new. With this hands-on experience, they are made aware of their daily plastic footprint and consumption habits, learning more about community design, and lifestyle in harmony with nature. For those who want to pursue a career in design, Homan’s advice is to ‘stay sensitive to their surroundings, with a vision to give back to the community through design.’
Hong Kong has its own culture while being culturally diverse. The priority is to facilitate the exchange of cultural values and resources across different aspects and create synergy through design.
‘Design !n Action’ will mark its conclusion in June this year at Hong Kong Disneyland with a sharing session led by engineers from Walt Disney Imagineering, followed by an online showcase featuring design drafts and visual diaries from participating students throughout the programme. HKDC will continue its efforts in supporting the next generation to express their design and creative talents, crafting a brighter future with good design together.