Keep going! Design can always find innovative solutions
DMatters December 2022 Issue
Design is the continuous exploration of new ideas and innovative solutions to improve human wellbeing. To this end, Hong Kong designers keep moving forward to light the way for better times. As Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) commemorates its 20th year, Design Spectrum presents the ‘always’ exhibition to invite the public to discover the sustainable development of Hong Kong across the decades fuelled by good design, echoing our anniversary theme ‘Design for Sustainable Community’.
One of the accredited events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Establishment of the HKSAR, the exhibition has just been held at Central Market and is now running till 29 January 2023 at PMQ. To offer a glimpse into the thinking behind ‘always’, curators cum local designers – Benny Au and Teresa Chan of miniminigallery – share their perspectives and thoughts about their selections.
Curators of ‘always’ exhibition, Benny and Teresa of miniminigallery.
The exhibition elaborates on the concept of ‘always’ – an ever-going path that begins with a spark of an idea, be it a thought to preserve a city’s cultural heritage or an urge to raise environmental awareness. ‘Promoting sustainable development should not simply remain at the material level, ’as Benny and Teresa point out, ‘cultural heritage, tradition, and aesthetics are also vital nutrients that provide a continuous supply of inspiration to nourish our city’s future development.’
Promoting sustainable development should not simply remain at the material level, cultural heritage, tradition, and aesthetics are also vital nutrients that provide a continuous supply of inspiration to nourish our city’s future development.
Featuring over 50 sustainable design projects, the curator duo believes ‘each work introduces a different perspective on how design connects people, communities and traditions’. Local designer Benny Lau’s Tree Bark Bookend (2007) is made of tree bark that is often discarded due to irregularities during a standardised manufacturing process, thus challenging the user-centred design approach. The design puts the focus back on the material, and underlines the value of making time for reading.
‘Tree Bark Bookend’ spotlights the potential behind tree bark which is often discarded during manufacturing process.
Another project that encourages the formation of a good habit is the rebranded community recycling network GREEN@COMMUNITY (2020) by the Environmental Protection Department, the Government of HKSAR. Covering all 18 districts, this new recycling system has changed the general perception of recycling facilities, and attracted support for eco-friendly practices with visually appealing instructions. ‘Green living does not mean sacrifice… as designers, we often stand at a point which we need to work with sustainable means and design for a good cause – and its purpose is not only about aesthetics but to elevate the value of things, and provide solutions to problems,’ says Benny and Teresa.
Green living does not mean sacrifice… as designers, we often stand at a point which we need to work with sustainable means and design for a good cause – and its purpose is not only about aesthetics but to elevate the value of things, and provide solutions to problems.
GREEN@COMMUNITY is a rebranded community recycling network that aims to strengthen the recycling support at district level.
Good design can transcend time as what matters is ‘the values it upholds and its relevance to us as we move forward’. From pollution to resource scarcity, a total of 29 exhibited posters from the 1970s to now by 20 Hong Kong designers, both established and up-and-coming, illustrate how powerful designs make their impact towards sustainable development across generations. Also at the exhibition is an interactive touch-screen showcasing the biographies, project photos and introductions of 14 winners of DFA Lifetime Achievement Award and DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer, featuring industry masters such as William Chang Suk-ping, Kan Tai-keung, Freeman Lau, Lo Chi-wing, Lo Kai-yin and Vivienne Tam.
Some of the exhibited posters from 1970s to now.
Design Spectrum has also organised public guided tours exploring how old and new architecture is shaping our city, talks on design and cultural heritage, and parent-child workshops centred on environmental protection. For those who have a taste for design goodies, there’s even a DS Pop-up at Spectrum (Shop 116) located in Central Market running until the end of January 2023 for some shopping fun.
The DS Pop-up at Spectrum (Shop 116), Central Market is open until the end of January 2023.
Whether it’s an environmental or social issue, there is always something design can do. Benny and Teresa hope that by appreciating design, visitors can understand themselves better, think about their needs and consumption desires, and eventually find the motivation to live their ideal lifestyles. Come see for yourself and explore all perspectives, and follow Design Spectrum’s Facebook and Instagram for the updates of interesting design sharing sessions and workshops coming up in January.