DMatters August 2019 Issue

In many global cities, you will find public-facing design hubs or institutes at prime locations downtown. These design hubs act as crucial portals to promote design excellence to citizens and tourists. For example, Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) is taking an active role in placemaking and shaping creative districts, while many other creative hubs around the world are increasing the public visibility of design. In the August edition of DMatters, we are excited to announce that one more such creative hub is now open to the public!

Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) has just launched a brand new design outreach initiative Design Spectrum to promote design to the public. The programme’s first anchor site has just opened at 7 Mallory Street, Wan Chai last month. As suggested by the programme title, the location is radiating out design signals in the community to a spectrum of audiences - from general public, designers to industry practitioners.

Tightly knit in Wan Chai’s urban fabric and located in a remodelled historical architecture, the exhibition venue at 7 Mallory Street is a perfect springboard for promoting design excellence in the community. The accessible location will become a fun-filled spot for the public to explore design, and serve as an important window for HKDC to reach out to the public.

Design Spectrum will be hosting a series of four exhibitions at 7 Mallory Street in the upcoming months. The debut exhibition “Material Modernity: Incredible Bamboo, Paper & Wood” has just been launched in the Design Gallery in mid-July to celebrate the opening of the site. The exhibition is presenting more than 90 selected Asian design pieces made from the three materials. It explores the visual culture and material appeal of Asian design, and most importantly, the forward-thinkingness ingrained in the choice of materials.

“Bamboo is a reflection of adaptiveness. Wood conveys warmth and vitality. And paper adds friendliness and charm. In the research process, we’ve learned how designers in different cultures innovate while clinging to their ethnic identities and cultural distinctiveness. And these are all happening under the back-- DROP of globalisation and homogenisation.” said Amy Chow, curator of Design Spectrum as well as world-renowned interdisciplinary design expert. Among us in the opening last month were Taiwanese designer Wang Ching Fu and South Korean designer Kim Hyun Joo, who were both presenting memorable designs made of paper.

Exhibit: SAIAN Tea ceremony room, Nara (2015)
Hashiguchi Architect & Associates
Exhibit From Yuhang - Luo
Experimenting with Bamboo Paper: Luo

Exhibit: Bamboo-copter Lamp-Dream
gridesign studio
Special Commissioned Work: The Flower Plaque
William Lim

Exhibit: Forest Notes
JVCKENWOOD Design Corporation

In addition to the exhibition, a special commissioned work - a ginormous traditional Hong Kong Flower Plaque was also erected on the facade in late July. The Flower Plaque was designed by architect William Lim and assembled by traditional Flower Plaque masters. It perfectly blends in with the historical neighbourhood while adding a conspicuous tint of design aesthetics. The exhibition also encompasses concurrent events such as design workshops and designer sharing for everyone.

“Local communities always give me new ideas.”

Coinciding with the exhibition is a feature from selected Hong Kong young designers at the Design Showcase on the ground floor. Three local designers – Maggie Tse, Aries Sin, and Xavier Tsang – are presenting their characteristic local brands, which are famous respectively for their jewellery for compact living, local fabric products, and distinctively Hongkongish scented candles. “I was inspired to create a candle capturing the distinctive scent of Wan Chai. Local communities always give me new ideas.” says Xavier, Founder of Becandle.

“We hope everyone can appreciate how fine design impacts our quality of life.”

The debut exhibition “Material Modernity” is open from 19 July through early-Sept. It will be followed by three other conceptual exhibitions on reading, living and happiness. “This themed exhibition series is addressed to both designers and the public. We hope everyone can appreciate how fine design impacts our quality of life.” says Amy.

As the first public-facing anchor site of Hong Kong Design Centre, Design Spectrum at 7 Mallory Street is unique by engaging the community with relatable design activities. “A spectrum is usually created by a prism. The role of Hong Kong Design Centre is to be the prism through which millions of colours and the variety in design can become visible to all walks of life.” says Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre.

In this issue of DMatters, we will be looking at the 2019 edition of DFA Awards. We will also meet new FIP designers, and explore Wan Chai in a new light with #ddHK!

Click  here  to read the full issue of DMatters August 2019.