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Rejoice! Hong Kong design is alive and kicking

ByYen Kien Hang
Rejoice! Hong Kong design is alive and kicking

Who are Hong Kong's leading designers?

If no names come straight rolling out of your tongue, then the 'Confluence · 20+' exhibition is definitely the place for a crash course. Featuring 20 collaborative design projects that represent the creativity and craftsmanship of Hong Kong’s leading designers,  'Confluence · 20+' started its journey from Milan to Hong Kong and is now ending in Seoul. It has mesmerised audience by blending new elements from various disciplines, including architecture, fashion, multimedia, and more.

And for fans of design/art like us here at The Artling, new creations from the likes of Samuel Chan and Lo Chi Wing will be your priority. The former has worked with Korean design Sean Yoo for the new Willow Chair, while the latter showed the  "Poetic Ink Stone" Collection, a series of desk accessories in hopes to rejuvenate traditional Chinese craft from falling into oblivion.

Poetic Ink Stone Collection by Lo Chi Wing

Column (L) by Samuel Chan, Willow Chair (R) by Samuel Chan and Sean Yoo

Other design talents who are participating in the Seoul edition include graphic designer Freeman Lau who gained international recognition for his Chairplay series, Gary Chang who is a worldly renowned architectural designer for his dynamic spatial flexibility and redefinition of traditional boundaries, Lo Sing Chin who initiates visual excitement through detailed patchwork and contour silhouette of his designs, Chiu Kwong Chiu who uses computer graphics to explore the boundaries of Chinese traditional visual art, among others.

Here are the best three designs at the show:

Elaine Ng with Light B

Light A by Elaine Ng, from Sensus collection

Elaine Yan Ling Ng

One year after winning the Swarovski Designers of the Future Award, Hong Kong based textile design consultant Elaine Ng is back with creations that highlighted her use of high-technology interactive materials and fabrics that can simulate biological response or respond to stimuli. The "Sensus" series of light installation looked like they're some weird, alien-like creatures from the deep ocean, but in truth are lightwieght, texture structures that react to changing footfall and proximity. Much like her previous project "Sundew" , these design fuses traditional knitwear practice with innovative robotics, which is quite a rare and extraordinary combination in the design industry, thus earning her the honour of "techno fairy" - coined by Elle Deco magazine - and "the Chinese designer [who] creates materials that move and grow like trees–but faster” by Wired magazine UK.

Stanley Wong, aka Anothermountainman

One of the vase design from the Back to The Future / Redwhiteblue Vase Series

Stanley Wong
The Back to The Future / Redwhiteblue Vase Series

Mentioning the colour combination of red, white and blue, one might not immediately think of Hong Kong. And yet, these colours always reminded us of the iconic nylon carrying bag that originated from Hong Kong in the 1960s - even fashion brand Balenciaga had a bit of fun with it at its fashion show last year. However, it was Stanley Wong, aka anothermountainman's redwhiteblue series presented at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005 that brought the pattern to a whole new level of sophistication, not to mention a global art phenomenon. This time around, his reinvention of the concept came in the form of a vase, where traditional shapes got the redwhiteblue "treatment". The results are truly objects of paradoxy, playing on the polar opposites of classicism and contemporaneity, toughness and fragility, luxury and economy, and decorativeness and functionality.

Lee Chi Wing presenting at his mobile tea bar

The mobile tea bar featured pull-out metal tables.

Lee Chi Wing
Brewing tea, brewing conversations

While drinking coffee standing up are norms at any Italian city, enjoying Chinese tea, however, is not usually as casual as that. But why not change the status quote? Asked founder of Milk Design and industrial designer Lee Chi-Wing. Not only has his mobile tea bar swapped expresso for tea, it's also a quick stop and recharge station for busy city workers. In this project, Lee has worked with young ceramic artist Joe Chan to create tea ware with the aid of 3D printing. With experience creating coffee sets for TOAST and in-flight tableware for Cathay Pacific Airways, Lee managed to design tea wares that looks contemporary and trendy by using black and hexagonal shapes; they also contrasted well with the simple wooden bar structure. Adding to the mobility aspect of the design, metal plates that double as small tables can also be slide inside the structure for storage. Very clever indeed.

Silkroad collection by Alan Chan (Front) & Learning from Hong Kong: Compact Living - A Global Phenomenon Installation by Gary Chang (Back)

Green Table collection by CL Lam

Here is a quick tour of the show filmed by Wing from Milk Design:

Hong Kong Design Exhibition: Confluence · 20+ is on now until 16 September 2017.
Address: Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) Design Pathway and Gallery
Admission: Free

Further information about Confluence · 20+ is available on the exhibition’s official Web site here.

Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.

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