Preview: Business of Design Week 2017 in Hong Kong

A preview of Asia’s leading event on design, innovation and brands — the Business of Design Week 2017

Dec 04, 2017 | By Ilyda Chua

Work by Eduardo Tresoldi. Image courtesy Blind Eye Factory

Boasting an impressive lineup of some of the world’s most influential designers and brand leaders, the Business of Design Week (BODW), Asia’s leading event on design, innovation and brands, returns to Hong Kong from 4 – 9 December for its sixteenth edition.

Serving as a platform for professionals and creatives across industries to network, exchange ideas and explore business co-operation, the week-long event will see thought leaders and experts within the industry sharing their insights and experiences with audiences. With the curatorial theme ‘Italy Makes a Difference’, BODW 2017 will bring to Hong Kong a star-studded cast of leading Italian and international designers, with iconic Italian designer and architect Michele de Lucchi and Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss architect Professor Jacques Herzog among them.

3: Work by Professor Jacques Herzog (Herzog & de Meuron). Image courtesy Herzog & de Meuron.

Gianluca Cinquepalmi, the Associate Chair of Communication Arts at SCAD Hong Kong explains that the design scene in Hong Kong is still predominantly driven by commercial values, while Italy’s design culture spans over two extremes: the classical and the experimental.

“This polarisation creates a varied and fertile nurturing ground for young designers,” he says. “On the other hand, in Hong Kong, there have been signs of a shift in perception, but we will have to continue to work hard to break this operational mind-set.”

In line with BODW’s mission of celebrating design thinking and fostering good design practices, this year’s edition will include two new programmes — ‘Heritage & Design’, which examines family entrepreneurship and traditions, and ‘Cultivating a Future Mindset — Creative Leadership’, which explores the need for design thinking across various disciplines — an issue that is increasingly prevalent in today’s design-centred world.

Speakers include emerging Italian artist Edoardo Tresoldi, who creates large-scale sculptures out of mesh and industrial materials, and Mario Cucinella (Mario Cucinella Architects), whose designs pay particular attention to the increasingly relevant topic of sustainable development. Creatives from Hong Kong — such as internationally acclaimed architect Rocco Yim, and Vincent Lim and Elaine Lu, the co-founders of award-winning design practice Lim & Lu — will also feature prominently at the event, sharing local insights with a global audience.

Work by Eduardo Tresoldi. Image courtesy Blind Eye Factory

Expounding on the developments in the Hong Kong design scene, Cinquepalmi, who will be moderating the programme ‘Product and Design’, says that while the country is moving in the right direction, there are still challenges to overcome. “The Hong Kong design scene is becoming more dynamic and varied, spanning from large commercial spaces right through to the avant-garde,” he says. “However, the real challenge is finding clients or patrons who are willing to be daring with the level of creativity incorporated into designs they commission. It is only by pushing the boundaries and taking risks that Hong Kong will be able to remain relevant within the creative design scene, and become more competitive on a global platform.”

On the key characteristic that separates art from design, Cinquepalmi says, “Great design is never random.” He adds, “Design’s ultimate goal is to create a cohesive culture that grants meaning, not only to our words and drawings but also to people’s emotional and rational intellect — and as designers, we must consciously and discernibly present solutions in the simplest, most understandable and aesthetically pleasing way. ”

Bamboo Pavilion at Berlin by Rocco Yim. Image courtesy Guangdong Museum & Almond Chu.

BODW is a flagship event of the Hong Kong Design Centre. It will be held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre. Tickets available at

ilyda chua

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