Hong Kong awards open a window on the world of design

Click to follow
The Independent Online

When Hong Kong seven years ago started hosting the annual Business of Design Week ( http://www.bodw.com) the idea was that by gathering together some of the world's most creative minds for a series of seminars and speeches the event might inspire.

And already organizers are claiming they've made an impact, not least on the likes of Hong Kong's Eric Chan who was named the "World's Outstanding Chinese Designer" when this year's event came to a close with the Hong Kong Design Centre-sponsored Design for Asia Awards on December 3.

BODW this year attracted more than 50,000 people to hear the likes of Coca-Cola's vice-president of design, David Butler and the New York Museum of Modern Art's Kathy Halbreich and attend various design workshops while it also featured a number of awards handed out to Asia's innovators and also to international designs that have become, in short, iconic.

Hence this year there were awards given out to Apple's iPhone and iPad, a Japanese capsule hotel and a "green" school made from bamboo and mud bricks in Bali.

But there was also the likes of Chan - a 57-year-old local designer whose bamboo chair captured the judge's imagination.

"Simple and humble things can be good products as well. Bamboo is cheap but can give comfort and body-support to its users. We have to connect the two worlds of logic and magic,'' he told reporters on picking up his award.

A group of seven Hong Kong students also picked up the Hong Kong Young Design Talent Awards and four of them will now be subsidised to study overseas.

Like the similar A Better World By Design ( http://www.abetterworldbydesign.com) event held annually in Rhode Island, Hong Kong's BODW says it aims to change the way people look at the world of design. And its awards are now seen as the Asian equivalent of America's prestigious International Design Excellence Awards ( http://www.idsa.org) and the European Design Awards ( http://www.europeandesign.org).

"Design is about people working to produce better solutions for the world, so people are the core of design,'' Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Rita Lau, told the awards dinner. "A good designer can turn ideas into tangible and attractive offerings for customers."