Unlocking the Creative Energy of Local Communities — BODW CityProg

In recent years, design lovers in Hong Kong have been delighted by the emergence of creative groups and businesses in the forms like cafés, lifestyle shops and crafts workshops. They are opened and run by a new generation of young entrepreneurs and creatives with the conviction to inject more creativity into their communities.  BODW CityProg  acts as an extension of Business of Design Week (BODW) and a platform to activate these Hong Kong businesses and design communities, injecting design energy into a range of neighbourhoods.

Themed ‘Connect City Ideas’ CityProg harnesses the potential of cherrypicked local creative units and businesses to stir up the design vibe in the communities. Among its 3-tier programme, the Anchor Sites Festivals are the lead. The Hong Kong-wide programme invited 16 creative groups based in 7 districts — Wan Chai, Sham Shui Po, Tsuen Wan, Fo Tan, To Kwa Wan, North Point and Chai Wan — to each curate and host an Anchor Site Festival from November to December. Among them, Wan Chai and Sham Shui Po are this year’s highlights.

The festivals in Wan Chai, themed ‘Design is Great’ partner with this year’s BODW Partner Country the United Kingdom (Department for International Trade) to showcase the robust designs from England, Northern Ireland and Wales at 7 Mallory Street. It will feature ecological smart public furniture exhibition Eco Garden, digital exhibition COLLATE HONG KONG and Welsh design exhibition Vital Signs which are all free to the public. In addition, it will also host  Design Spectrum ’s  third exhibition this year, REFINED TOUCH: CROSSOVER BETWEEN DESIGN & CRAFT.

Moving to the quieter side of the vibrant Wan Chai, in the Star Street precinct, lifestyle shop White Do Lab will team up with some businesses in the neighbourhood to present Dark Humour in White Do - David Shrigley exhibition. The Scottish artist’s pool float  Inflatable Swan-thing  became a social media sensation with a whimsical design. His black humour never fails to amuse. Other than his works, Star Street will become an open-air gallery and be strewn with an array of design works.

When it comes to the cultural spots in Wan Chai, it will be remiss not to include Foo Tak Building and Blue House. Indie bookshop ACO will lead 18 creative units in Foo Tak Building to host ‘Door of Teleportation’Foo Tak Building Cultural Festival, inviting the public to open the building’s gate like the ‘anywhere door.’ Visitors will witness local creativity through exhibitions showcasing the works of local designers, cultural sharing, guided tours and music concerts. On the other hand,  Blue House  will present ‘Viva Blue House’ open day. Visitors will experience the community life in the Stone Nullah Street precinct through activities like Blue House Studio Photography, crafts workshops, etc, building ties with the community and having a taste of design thinking.

Under the theme ‘RE-imagine SSP,’ the Anchor Sites Festivals in Sham Shui Po are all about refreshing our perspective of the historic district known to be a creative material supplies hub. Creative space foreforehead will exhibit fly-posts collected in the neighbourhood, zooming in to the grassroots lifestyle and aesthetics through street designs. On top of guided tours and workshops, community tea room  TEA HUB  will display the photographic works of a Sham Shui Po-bred photographer themed artisans’ hands, visually telling the stories of Cheung Sha Wan as it undergoes renewal. Art space-cum-hostel  Wontonmeen  will mobilise the district’s residents and groups to lead sharing sessions, guided tours and workshops for making alma leaves hand cushions and silk duvets. They are also making a digital guide to document the life and culture in Sham Shui Po.  D2 Place  and the  Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre  in the district will also present creative markets and cultural programmes.

In addition to the Anchor Sites Festivals, the two other tiers of the programme include ‘Satellite Events and Specials’ and public education programmes ‘Design EduVation.’ The former will gather more than 100 big and small events organised by local creative brands and retailers. The educational arm will launch a series of workshops targeted at practising architects, emerging young designers, curious students and seniors.

This winter, while design professionals are taking in the latest global innovation trends at BODW on 2-7 December, CityProg will amplify local creative power and beam it out to different corners of the city, boosting the design vibe in our everyday life.