Hong Kong’s Business of Design Week 2013

business of design week 2013


Of all the cities in Asia, I find Hong Kong and Singapore to be the best representations of the term ‘East meets West’, this is partly due to their historical backgrounds and links to the British. Even though in recent years, the world’s focus has turned to Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore still enjoy the advantage of being ‘freer’, more matured and global than other cities. Now the two cities are trying to find their competitive edge in order to compete with the upcoming Chinese cities.

In recent years, design has become more important and recognised in Hong Kong, especially with government initiatives such as CreatHK which supports and funds businesses and organisations in the creative and design industry. The annual Business of Design Week in December (organised by Hong Kong Design Centre since 2002) is one of the key events on Asia’s design calendar. The week-long event will comprise the BODW Forum (for global design trends), concurrent events (covering brands, design, technology, city and the culture, design management and education, business of intellectual property etc.), exhibitions (for the public and trades) and the Detour community programme, aiming to inspire the participants about the power of design in building a better tomorrow.

Every year, the BODW parnters with another country, and Belgium is this year’s focus. I have previously attended BODW 2009 and BODW 2010 and the partner countries were France and Japan, respectively. I found the talks and exhibitions in 2010 particularly useful because I was at the pre-startup stage and was glad to hear established Japanese designers speaking at the forum.


hong kong old baileys victoria prisondetour hong kongdetour hong kongdetour hong kongdetour hong kong

Photos were taken from Detour 2010 at the former Victoria Prison in Central except for the bottom left which was taken at Detour 2009 at the former Police Married Quarters with a temporary bamboo scaffolding structure designed by a well-known local architect William Lim of CL3 Architects


Britain has participated in the forum every year since its launch in 2002 and was the partner country in 2006. UK industry professionals have been actively participating in BODW due to the unique position the forum offers to enter the Chinese and Asian market. And Asia’s rapidly growing cities and investments have given international and national architects an opportunity to engage in great project and constructions. Well-known UK architects such as Keith Griffiths, Andrew Grand and Thomas Heatherwick have all designed spectacular buildings in Asia. In the past years, Thomas Heatherwick, Ron Arad, Andrew Grant, and Spencer de Grey have also participated in the forum as speakers. This year, Deyan Sudjic, director of London’s Design Museum will be speaking at the forum.


SONY DSCPacific Place -Pacific Place, the symbol of luxury meet design in Asia - Thomas Heatherwick famed project in Hong Kong Learning Hub at Nanyang Technology University - Thomas Heatherwick - Comptition winning proposal for £360 university redevelopment scheme

Main: The stunning Gardens by the Bay designed by Grant Associates and Gustafson Porter; Bottom left: Thomas Heatherwick’s redesign of Pacific Place, a popular shopping mall in Hong Kong; Bottom right: Thomas Heatherwick’s Learning Hub at Nanyang Technology University in Singapore


BODW is a forum that serves as a platform linking all forms of design, architecture and art by merging disciplines and exchanging ideas, projects, and concepts, as well as a gateway to China and Asia. As we all know, we are living in a more globalised world, and so collaborations between the East and the West is crucial in shaping our future. At the end of the day, we are all codependent of each other, and hopefully through design and dialogues between organisations, businesses and people, we can create a better and more harmonious world.


Business of Design Week 2013 will take place in Hong Kong from 2nd – 7th December at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.


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