PROJECT HK-UK: DESIGN, ARTISTRY AND CRAFTSMANSHIP

Both Hong Kong and the UK are vibrant and culturally diverse societies. This mix of culture and background creates a forum for new and exciting perspectives. Most importantly, the creative realm benefits from the contrasts provided by viewing a project through prisms of differing cultural frames of reference.

This project is intended to share knowledge and discussion, to strengthen existing bonds and to shape new ones, to elaborate the issues around the creative processes and challenges, and to reinforce furniture design and craftsmanship skills. ‘Project HK-UK’ will serve as a single platform, endorsing our efforts in education and design. To build a sustainable creative economy, artisans need to be comfortable with collaboration and critical thinking, and must be ready to take a risk.

‘Project HK-UK’ is a creative collaboration — an exploration of what can happen when designers from different disciplines and worldviews come together. ‘Project HK-UK’ asks you to step out of your normal working pattern to collaborate with fellow designers on the other side of the world, to create a unique, fresh and imaginative piece of furniture. This is not an abstract exercise: the result will be original, state-of-the- art pieces of furniture with both functional and aesthetic value exhibited internationally to further promote Hong Kong as an Asian creative hub.

‘Project HK-UK’ is a Multiculturalism and Multidisciplinary Mentorship-focus Programme. It links start- ups, emerging designers and students (mentees) with established design professionals (mentors) from HK and the UK. Mentors and mentees will meet regularly during a seven-to-eleven-month period, and share resources and experiences while they work together on real-life projects.

‘Project HK-UK’ is a curated design showcase — participating in design shows is essential for start-ups and emerging designers. In appreciation of the participants’ creativity and ingenuity, the pieces from this project will be exhibited at Hong Kong’s premier international design event, BODW, and Italy’s Milan Design Week. These are the most highly respected and successful shows that bring new design talent to Asian and European industries and consumers.

BACKGROUND

This project has been initiated by the Hong Kong Furniture and Decoration Trade Association (HKF&DA), with major support from CreateHK, for BODW 2019, where our partner country is the United Kingdom. The programme will explore design partnerships and cross- and multiculturalism, not just through discussion and debate, but also through the design and evolution of live projects, engagement in mentorship and participation in displaying design.

British furniture designers and designer-makers are recognised for quality contemporary work, and also for their brave, independent spirit distinct from the European mindset. The UK, and London in particular, have a wealth of groundbreaking design institutions such as the Royal Society of Arts, The Design Council, The Victoria and Albert Museum and The Design Museum, which all encourage innovation. These institutions are both established and accessible, providing knowledge, historical archives, platforms for local and international design, and practical support for the whole industry.

‘Project HK-UK’ has invited UK-based Samuel Chan, who was born in Hong Kong and maintains strong personal and business ties with the HKSAR, to be one of the UK designers and, crucially, the Project Coordinator. He has invited five other outstanding British furniture designers to work on the design briefs outlining the deliverables and scope of the project, defined by six established Hong Kong designers from different disciplines. We will has also invited 12 design mentors from Hong Kong. Each HK mentor will work with two or three mentees on the same design briefs to created 18 original pieces of furniture.

Samuel and the other mentors will offer advice and guidance in professional skills to these Hong Kong emerging designers, new start-ups and design graduates involved in ‘Project HK-UK’ through organised seminars, lectures and assessments, and set up exchanges with UK design institutions. Joined and Jointed and HKF&DA will also participate, and arrange for the production of the prototypes. The result will be a line-up of outstanding pieces, which will be launched at BODW 2019 and the SUPERDESIGN SHOW at Milan Design Week 2020.