With Good Design, Old is the New Young

Global population ageing is one of the defining issues of our time, and the international design community has been responding to the megatrend with empathy, creativity and design thinking. Whether in architecture, fashion or product, design for ageing has emerged as one of the most sought-after themes in numerous design weeks, exhibitions and conferences. Design Spectrum brings a unique array of perspectives in appreciating the pertinent issue to 7 Mallory Street with its current exhibition 'Brand New Youth' curated by creative parent-child brand OHMYKIDS and co-curated by design house Littleurbanmountain Design.

In the past, ageing was a daunting issue few would want to deal with before the time comes. But as more and more people acknowledge the demographic shift, we now have a more positive understanding of this inevitable life stage. For example, people aged 65 to 74 are now called the 'young-old'. "Still energetic and physically fit, they usually pursue a high quality of life and have high purchasing power. They search for quality products that fit their lifestyles. In two decades' time, they will become a significant population group. Good designs are no longer exclusive to young people. They also need to fulfil the rising demands of the young-old," said OHMYKIDS and Littleurbanmountain.

‘Design for Future Us’ Exhibition Zone 

"Good designs make life dignified, which is especially important for elderly people. They help us maintain or even improve our quality of life, and most importantly, help us stay young." One of the 5 zones in the exhibition, ‘Design for Future Us’, showcases more than 30 products designed with people in later life in mind. "Soft meal is a great example. It helps those with swallowing difficulties to eat with dignity. The award-winning WHILL Model Ci mobility device subverts the stereotype of wheelchairs by enhancing the independence of elderly people who have difficulty walking."

Good designs make life dignified, which is especially important for elderly people.

The key to designing for any specific age group is empathy. The exhibition presents an interactive zone Experience Before Getting Old featuring designs that help us understand what it physically feels to be old. "We invite young viewers to experience the physical deterioration elderly people face every day. Elpathy's 'Elderly Simulation Suit' gives them an immersive experience of stepping into the shoes of their elders. Such experience builds a stronger connection among generations and cultivates empathy towards the elderly," said the curating partners.

‘Experience Before Getting Old’ Interactive Zone

Other zones in the exhibition delve into the theme from a range of interesting angles. In 'The Story of Us and Design', you will see the design stories of 10 long-established local brands and their veteran owners. 'Evergreen Showroom' presents an array of old Hong Kong designs that have remained in many old-timers' precious memories. You can also test your design knowledge and learn more about design and innovation in the interactive game zone 'Guess What' guided by old and young voices.

'Evergreen Showroom' Exhibition Zone 

To local art and design studio MUDWORK, the creative mind behind the exhibition's commissioned work Beat of Table and Stool, youth is about imagination and curiosity. "Seeing everything as an experiment and staying curious about life and the world are the best sources of energy and motivation keeping us young." Their work turns wooden folding stools and tables, which are exceptionally practical, ubiquitous and uniquely Hong Kong, into a series of musical instruments. Visitors are invited to interact with them using their bodies to make music and unleash their energy. "As we open our imagination about everyday objects, we will explore things around us with greater curiosity. When one can see wonders in ordinary objects, life will always be an adventure," said MUDWORK.

Beat of Table and Stool - by MUDWORK, a Local Art And Design Studio

When one can see wonders in ordinary objects, life will always be an adventure.

The ‘Brand New Youth’ exhibition offers a rich public programme, including free guided tours, workshops and a sharing session, to inspire you to see ageing in a new light with hands-on experiences. Regardless of your age, visit the exhibition before 18 July* and find out how design can liven up the latter half of your life!

*Remarks: Pre-registration is required. For more information, please visit the Design Spectrum website.