Asia’s leading annual design event wrapped up its 11th edition with a final day of seminars at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. With Belgium as the year’s partner country, the event has been a major success and the third day of the BODW forum closed the conference in style. ”The most important thing for city design is to know its culture well.” With that, the West Kowloon Cultural District Association’s CEO Michael Lynch opened the third day of the Business of Design Week 2013. The morning saw two excellent sessions for delegates. ‘Culture & The City’ (Part 1)
expounded on the role of design in society with urbanist Charles Landry, an international authority on imaginative urban change, and founder of Comedia, a network of experts who focus on creativity, culture and urban changes. Belgian architect Hilde Daem related her works to a wider cultural context of science and the arts, stating “We make conversations with the world, the people and the music.” Deyan Sudjic presented a sensational discussion on his career in journalism, academia and as the director of the Design Museum in London. Daan Roosegaarde had the audience mesmerized by his speech that explored his range of high tech designs and projects. In the other morning session ‘Product & Design, Australia-born, Belgium-trained Danny Venlet attracted great interest with his contemporary style in interior projects like the Burdekin Hotel in Sydney and Q-bars, an Australian chain of nightclubs.
Zhang Lei, the lone Chinese member of the design trio PINWU, lectured on his ecologically inspired work in contemporary furniture and objects using traditional techniques and materials such as bamboo, porcelain, water silk floss and paper. Belgium native Pierre Leclercq talked about the high-octane auto industry in China as the Vice President and head of design Great Wall Motors. Tomek Rygalik and Gosia Rygalik of Studio Rygalik offered great insight on the relationship between food and design in their furniture, products and interior spaces, saying they hope their food design can gather creative people with tasty food and interaction. Rounding up the session was Alain Gilles whose fascinating personal approach to product and furniture design, art direction and interior architecture, has won him a number of international awards, including the coveted Red Dot Award.
The conference closed with the afternoon session of ‘Culture & The City’ (Part 2) featuring Lars Nittve, executive director of M+, museum for visual culture of the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong whose highlighted its development. Other speakers were Colin Fournier, co-architect of the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria and partner in architectural, design and consulting firm TETRA. Christine Conix, manager of CONIX RDBM Architects, articulated her philosophy on adjusting to open spaces to create identity and enduring value. Wim Pijbes, general director of the Netherlands’ Rijksmuseum Amsterdam home to one of the world’s most celebrated art collection, enthusiastically detailed the reopening of the museum this year after a 10-year, US$489 million refurbishment.
Wrapping up the event was Ascan Mergenthaler, senior partner at Herzog & de Meuron. Mergenthaler is known for his high-profile international projects such as The Tate Modern in London. He said he is excited about his work on the Central Police Station, the new development to conserve and revitalise the historical site in Hong Kong. It was also announced with much excitement that the partner country for BODW 2014 will be Sweden. BODW culminated with the HKDC Annual Awards Gala Dinner in the evening. Organised by HKDC, the awards are dedicated to design, innovation and brands. It is a major platform to celebrate design excellence with the Design Leadership Award, World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award. Close to 1,000 guests attended the event including business leaders, design masters, professionals and friends of HKDC from Hong Kong and abroad.