Forging to the Forefront of Contemporary Asia Design

The twenty-first century, also dubbed "the Asian Century," has seen the emergence of growing economic gravity on this side of the planet. Continuously reshaping the global order, Asian countries are seeking the best technology and design the world can offer to advance their economies and societies. With a regional positioning, DFA Design for Asia Awards — organised by Hong Kong Design Centre and funded by Create Hong Kong — has been celebrating more than a hundred innovative projects and creative talents in Asia every year since 2003. It has flourished into a prestigious platform for showcasing brilliant designs and an extensive network of outstanding design practitioners in the region.

Last year, DFA Design for Asia Awards received more than a thousand entries from all corners of Asia. While this reflects the prestige of the awards and the boom in Asian design, it also means that judging is no easy task. Such strenuous task is shouldered by a panel of world-renowned industry leaders and experts from a range of professional, academic and design backgrounds, who possess a wealth of knowledge of design and regional and international trends.

DFA Design for Asia Awards juries deliberate according to a set of criteria that hone in on four core perspectives: overall design excellence, use of technology, impact in Asia and commercial and societal success. In gauging design merit, the criteria is further broken down into five aspects: creativity and innovation, originality, usability, aesthetic and sustainability. Such a long list of stringent criteria reveals the holistic qualities the judges are looking for. Not only do the works have to be original and visually appealing, but they also need to provide effective and sustainable solutions for proven needs and open up new possibilities.

With such a rigorous judging process and decade-long history, DFA Design for Asia Awards occupies a distinguished position in the design world. It is your go-to platform to garner acclaim and exposure regardless of the nature of your design, and your work will surely fit into one of the twenty-six categories under the four design disciplines. If your project was produced and launched in one or more Asian markets between 1 January 2016 and 31 May 2018, you should start preparing your portfolio now.

Another notable DFA Awards programme that undeniably deserves Hong Kong’s attention is the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award (DFA HKYDTA) sponsored and supported by Create Hong Kong of the Hong Kong SAR Government, Hong Kong Design Institute, School of Design of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and other generous organisations. Since 2005, DFA HKYDTA has recognised the talents and aspirations of over a hundred young design practitioners and graduates. Among them, around 80 have gained financial sponsorship to pursue a six- to twelve-month professional or academic experience abroad.

Many past awardees revealed that the exchange opportunity has proven to be a career-changing experience for them. Emily Tang designed a groundbreaking Libue toilet for Parkinson’s patients. With her design thinking and talent, she was bestowed the award in 2015. Emily spoke about her time in Barcelona. “I learnt a lot about the technical, prototyping and material aspects of design from the engineers there. When I returned to Hong Kong, I was excited to apply this new knowledge to improve our toilet products with my partner.”

As to be expected, the judging process of DFA HKYDTA is equally stern as DFA Design for Asia Awards. The judging panel takes five criteria into account: potential contribution to Hong Kong, personal aspirations, effectiveness of communication, portfolio and overseas plan proposal. Winners could receive up to HK$500,000 or HK$250,000 for realising the overseas venture.

The deadline for DFA Design for Asia Awards is 29 June 2018 and that of DFA HKYDTA is 28 June. If you or someone you know is eager to make a distinctive mark in the contemporary design scene and inspire future designs, don’t pass up the opportunity to participate in these awards!

DFA Awards online application
DFA Design for Asia Awards

DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award