Hong Kong designers in California for a nine-day Exchange Tour

Some delegates also participated at the “Co-creating Hong Kong, a Design+ Exhibition” in San Francisco.

The fourth Design Exchange Tour (DX Tour) organised by Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) was successfully held from 14 to 22 September in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Twelve emerging Hong Kong designers were selected to join a nine-day inspiration trip enriched with exchange opportunities as well as study visits that emphasise how design is responding to technology shifts in an ever more connected society. 

Organised by HKDC and sponsored by Create Hong Kong, the DX Tour aims to reinforce HKDC’s mission of establishing Hong Kong as a creative hub of design excellence in Asia, through expanding the global vision of emerging local designers and cultivating their aspirations for producing designs with international impact.  The DX Tour 2019 is an opportunity for Hong Kong to connect with the Bay Area in the US to explore future co-creations in design and beyond. Three DX Tours featuring different Hong Kong designers have been successfully held in Bangkok, Melbourne and Tokyo since 2018. 

“Hong Kong is a dynamic, multi-cultural city known for its can-do, entrepreneurial spirit, understanding of global and local values as well as agility in responding to new phenomena,” said Prof. Eric Yim, JP, Chairman of HKDC. “The twelve designers at DX Tour California represent an emerging force which is well-poised to tap into the design culture in California and create new creative connections between the Bay areas in California and China.”

Two flagship events were staged during the tour, namely the “Co-creating Hong Kong” exhibition in the heart of the theatre district in San Francisco, and a thematic session at the “Think Asia, Think Hong Kong” (TATHK) conference in Los Angeles. Both events discussed the expanding role of design in tackling a broad range of imminent and global challenges from technology, to sustainability and community. Co-creating through design is becoming ever more relevant for tackling complex urban and social issues, and the co-creative spirit shall reinforce Hong Kong’s dynamic exchange with the rest of the world.

Co-hosted by the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in San Francisco and Hong Kong Design Centre, with the support of AIGA San Francisco, the “Co-creating Hong Kong” exhibition featured 14 unique projects by Hong Kong’s leading and emerging creative talent, some of them being delegates of the DX Tour. The exhibition posed an opportunity for the two multicultural and strategically positioned cities to explore future co-creations in design and beyond.

The thematic session at TATHK conference, organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council and Hong Kong Design Centre, examined the topic “Design x Technology: Now and Beyond”. Moderated by Dr Edmund Lee (Executive Director of HKDC), it addressed how design thinking is being progressively adopted to address critical issues and bring forth meaningful human values, experience and impact. The panel featured leading Hong Kong designers Mui Kinoshita (CEO, ASA Innovation & Technology), Chelsea Lau (Design Director of Ford Smart Mobility, Ford Motor), Victor Wong (Multimedia artist, vfxNova), and Karr Yip (Founder, SOSOC). The conference session also gave the 12 emerging Hong Kong designers and panel speakers the opportunity to showcase their work to the American audiences.

In addition to the flagship events, the DX Tour also consists of study trips to studios and companies in San Francisco with a strong portfolio in product innovation, enterpreneurial culture and in applying design thinking in both business and social domains. The delegates visited industry leaders at Autodesk Gallery, IDEO, Oculus, and Whipsaw. The study trips in Los Angeles offered inspiration on the cross-over between design, fashion, spatial experience, entertainment and digital media, such as virtual and augmented reality. Studios visited include Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, Portals XR, Southern California Institute of Architecture, and Virtue (the creative agency by VICE).  

Trying out the VR experience by the emerging Hong Kong designer Roy Lo (Creote Studio; left) at “Design x Technology: Now and Beyond” session at TATHK. 

The DX 2019 delegation comprises emerging designers from various design disciplines from fashion to digital media, architecture and product design. Among them are also past winners of the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award (DFA HKYDTA), and incubatees of the Design Incubation Programme (DIP) and Fashion Incubation Programme (FIP) organised by HKDC. Upon returning to Hong Kong, these designers will base on the “Co-creating Hong Kong” exhibition to present their inspiration from the tour as a finale at a similar exhibition which will be curated for Hong Kong audiences at DesignInspire, to be held in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5 to 7 December, 2019.

The twelve Hong Kong designers who participated in DX Tour include Alan Cheung (onebitedesign), Henry Chu (pill & pillow), ), Ian Hau (XLMS), Bodin Hon (Yellowdot Design), Fiona Lau (FFIXXED STUDIOS), Mazing Lee (Lify), Michael Leung (Studio AA), Roy Lo (Creote Studio), Kat Luk (eMotionLab), Emily Tang (Studio Doozy), Clement Tien (Arical), and Nicholas Tsao. 

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