From Home to Abroad, Fill Your Life with the Best of Asia Designs

Whether you are in the design industries or not, letting design infiltrate your everyday life may not be as difficult as you think — you just need to heed some design awards. Take the DFA Awards. In its fifteen years of history, it has celebrated thousands of successful designs and design talents and formed a prominent repository of good Asia design cases. The awards provide the perfect window through which we can get to know some of the acclaimed designs of our time.

On top of organising the awards, Hong Kong Design Centre also promotes prized designs to the public through different channels. Since the beginning of this year, the DFA Awards have been touring around Asia under the theme “Design for a Betterment.” We have put great designs in interaction with diverse crowds in Shenzhen, Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Bangkok and Tainan. In some stops, we even mounted exhibitions to showcase winning designs of “DFA Design for Asia Awards” and “DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award” (DFA HKYDTA), like the one currently showing in Tainan's cultural landmark, Hayashi Department Store. Some awardees even travelled along with us to greet and exchange views with audiences of the “Design Dialogues” series.

If you want to do something other than visit exhibitions or attend talks, there is no better way than to start at home. DFA Awards have buddied up with trend-leading lifestyle store Kapok to put up a three-month pop-up store in their Sun Street shop, featuring thirteen designs which were either granted the DFA Design for Asia Awards or designed by DFA HKYDTA designers.

As the DFA Awards have a vast geographical reach in Asia, you can imagine how culturally diverse and interesting the products could be. These cherry-picked products were made by talents from Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Like the “Lucky Iron Fish,” a cooking tool for people with iron deficiency, is modelled after the shape of kantrop fish, a Cambodian symbol of luck. Other items include an anti-skid soap, an alternative Hong Kong guidebook, a temperature and humidity monitor, a wearable translator, etc. Visit Kapok before 26 July to experience them up close, or even bring some of them home.

While some designs can easily follow you home, others may require you step outside your door to experience. It can be as much a good excuse to travel as a good chance to explore good designs first-hand. This May, we debuted a DFA-themed overseas tour to Taipei and Taichung. The four-day-three-night tour was packed with a variety of design experiences based on a number of DFA-awarded projects. As an emerging force in the Asia design scene, Taiwanese designs have snatched up multiple DFA Awards every year. Its strong sense of localness and humanity is also well-loved by Hongkongers.

Landing in Taichung first, we visited Giant Global Group, whose former CEO, Mr Antony Lo Hsiang-an, was crowned with the “DFA Design Leadership Award” in 2016. A cycling aficionado, he advocated the sprawl of bike lanes in Taiwan and propelled the YouBike project with Taipei Municipal Department of Transportation. This public bicycle sharing service provides valuable learnings for Hong Kong to reflect on its transport culture, where bike sharing has also been tested.

Hopping to Taipei, we then met with other DFA award-winning companies and explored their design projects, such as Tea Party II by Ateliea Tea, winner of “DFA Design for Asia Awards - Culture Award” in 2015; the Sun Tanning Project, winner of the Grand Award of “DFA Design for Asia Awards” in 2014 by Pinmo Studio; and “DFA Design for Asia Awards 2007” Grand Award winning project Xue Xue Institute, etc. This proves that good designs are much more than just pictures in glossy magazines or prototypes inside of studios. It’s time to be on the lookout for the best designs in town and abroad by staying connected with Hong Kong Design Centre!