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An interview with S.K. Lam, Creative Director and Curator of one of Hong Kong's leading Creative Studios, AllRightsReserved.

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An interview with S.K. Lam, Creative Director and Curator of one of Hong Kong's leading Creative Studios, AllRightsReserved.
1600 Pandas World Tour, Hong Kong. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

S.K. Lam has made his mark in Hong Kong's creative scene as the Creative Director and Curator of AllRightsReserved, a Hong Kong-based creative studio established in 2003. AllRightsReserved is a vanguard in the industry, with a variety of projects ranging from light installations to floating sculptures. They have worked with international brands and collaborated with contemporary artists such as Yayoi Kasuma, KAWS, and Florentijn Hofman.

S.K. Lam and his team are well-known internationally for their large-scale installations and public projects. In 2014, they worked with British artist Lawrence Argent to curate the world's largest Panda art charity project, “I AM HERE”, an unprecedented 15-meter, 13-tonne giant panda art installation. 

In July 2018, S.K. Lam raised the bar and curated a colossal 28-meter long float, KAWS:HOLIDAY, a monumental inflatable sculpture, which made a big splash in Seoul and Taiwan; it was largest sculptural endeavor by KAWS to date. Last year, the monumental sculpture reached the waters of the creative studio's hometown in Hong Kong.

This week, The Artling had the opportunity to speak to S.K. Lam about his story behind AllRightsReserved, and his perspective on the creative scene in Hong Kong. 
 

KAWS:HOLIDAY, Japan. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

Tell us about your studio AllRightsReserved and your journey as the Creative Director & Curator? What's your background and why did you decide to create the studio?


We are a Hong Kong-based creative studio established in November 2003, consistently reaching out to wherever creativity calls. AllRightsReserved (ARR)  actively seeks to collaborate with different creative individuals and collectives, often on an international level. Over the years, ARR has designed and organized numerous bespoke branding and marketing solutions for leading international labels. Projects throughout Asia have regularly commissioned ARR in their respective cities. For many of these projects, ARR has mobilized its vast network of friends and colleagues in the world of contemporary art in order to engineer the most relevant and potent projects. Often monumental in scale, they not only garner unparalleled levels of interest and attention but also serve the public citizenry at large.

I studied visual communication in Australia before acting as General Manager and Creative Director of the digital design magazine, IdN, from 1997 to 2003. I am kind of a positive person, enjoy working on anything creative and always look for something good. I just think life tends to unfold in stages and should move on to another stage at that time, so I started AllRightReserved for a new chapter of my life.
 

I AM HERE, Chengdu. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

What is the story behind the name of your studio "AllRightReserved"?
 

Frankly, I had no idea of the studio name at the beginning...when I flipped the last issue of IdN which I participated before I left, I saw the last word “AllRightsReserved” on the last page. I hope it’s not a real ending and “the end” of my last job becomes a brand new start. “AllRightsReserved” is also how I see and respect creativity.
 

1600 Pandas World Tour, Thailand. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

AllRightReserved is internationally recognized for its monumental installations. Could you tell us about what motivates you to create large-scale sculptures, which are seemingly much more challenging than straight forward exhibitions? 
 

Monumental installation is one of our favourite works, we are happy to share with the audiences around the world and good to see such appreciation.

Creating an installation for the city is interesting. The work itself looks like an observer to accompany and grow with the city, especially a permanent piece. It’s always a good start and surprise that the world is getting attention to the city through the public arts. The work arouses the interest of the public audiences though they may not know the artists. They may just walk by and visit the installation everyday, engaging with the work unconsciously.
 

Bubblecoat Elephant, Shenzhen. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

Which of your projects has been the most challenging to date? Could you share some advice for people (from the client's perspective) looking to embark on similar projects?
 

There is always no standard and boundary for creative projects. We have to customize for each work and spend a lot of time thinking and building. Nothing is impossible just challenging..like locating the artwork on the water is one of the big challenges for us, it involves lots of marine and technical parties. It was like an experiment for us and we made this happen after thousands of trials.

I would say the value and public engagement of the projects is far more important than the result. We should have a vision to build a better space together and not only look for the monetary value.
 

Rubber Duck Project, Hong Kong. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

How did your relationship with KAWS develop and how did those projects unravel?
 

At the very beginning I was just impressed by KAWS’ work and have great respect for him. We met at a project in 2007 and “KAWS:PassingThrough” exhibition of COMPANION at Hong Kong in 2010 is our first collaboration. In these years, we have a very close relationship and share the same values, that’s why we have been working and growing together for over ten years. 
 

KAWS: SEEING/WATCHING, Changsha. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

Tell us about your dream project - who would it be with, where would it be, and why?
 

It’s quite hard to say...I just think every project I have done is what I truly enjoy to work on. We will just keep moving for anything interesting.

 

Having had ample experience in putting these large scale public projects together, what advice can you give artists who are looking to do pieces of a similar scale?
 

It’s just a process of trial and error. If you don’t try, you will never figure out the problem.
 

100 years before the birth of DORAEMON, Hong Kong. Image courtesy of AllRightsReserved

What are your hopes and vision for the future of the creative scene in Hong Kong? Tell us what's in store for the future of AllRightsReserved.
 

In the last 20 years, the creative industries in Hong Kong created lots of interesting works. We are just facing a huge challenge at this moment to keep on and be more competitive. Hong Kong still has the advantage in terms of location and opportunity. It’s still one of the biggest and active cities among Asia-Pacific regions. Art Basel has been held in Hong Kong for years and people are still investing and focusing on monetary value. Yet, it’s a pity we didn’t have much support for artists and they have to be on a difficult road. Scene has also changed since the COVID-19 outbreak. We still cannot foresee the future whether it can be sustained or eliminated, I just hope people with aspirations could save and restore the atmosphere for the city.

Luckily we are successful at making projects that are appreciated. We will just keep doing anything interesting and what we want, be passionate for creative and look into details for perfect work.
 

To learn more about S.K. Lam and AllRightsReserved click here

Discover more on S.K. Lam's Instagram @sklamallrightsreserved



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