Business of Design Week 2016 concluded with Italy named BODW2017 partner country

Top Quote Business of Design Week (BODW) 2016 came to a successful end after a series of inspirational talks delivered by over 60 top design professionals from around the world, including the renowned personalities from the creative industry in Chicago, this year BODW's partner city. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) December 23, 2016 - During the summit, the Design for Asia (DFA) Awards were also presented to acknowledge outstanding design projects in 2016 and shed a spotlight on individuals who have significantly contributed to Asian designs.

    Expecting a stylish wind from Italy
    In the final plenary of BODW 2016, Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) announced Italy would be its partner country in 2017. Renowned worldwide as a powerhouse in style and design, Italy boosts artists and artisans who have led the way in areas including interior design, fashion, automobile, architecture and many more. Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre concluded, "This year BODW has launched new sessions covering trending themes, such as FASHION ASIA, Food and Design, Workspace and Design. BODW2017 will continue to explore in interesting topics. So, the partner country of BODW2017, Italy, will appeal to the most amazing talents to come to Hong Kong again."

    Learning from the Chicago Experience
    The 'Windy City' starred as BODW 2016's partner city, as a large group of Chicagoan designers, architects, artists and administrators visited Hong Kong and brought the spirit of the event tagline "ChicagoMade" with them. To name but a few Chicagoans, Martin Kastner, Scott Wilson, Raaja Nemani, Carol Ross Barney, Brian Lee and Zoe Ryan shared their experiences in various fields, such as urban planning, technology of branding, food design and museum management. The director of UI Labs, Katie Olsen, best described the latest atmosphere of innovation in the city when she discussed her work at BODW, "The only way you can innovate is through collaboration - collaboration between business people and technologists. The biggest challenge is having competing companies coming together and giving up some of their proprietary information to work on a solution, while the problem has already been identified. We are a neutral ground, a facilitator, and a deal maker with whom different companies can come together to innovate."

    Experts in branding foreseeing the future
    Renowned brand managers from around the world discussed the ever-changing environment of the industry at the Brand Asia Forum. Julian Ma, Corporate Vice President of Tencent (PRC), shared with audience the Tencent's corporate strategy and experience. Ma prompted that, "The media is changing very fast. Media is decentralised by social network and reshaped by AI. We are living in a world that media is direct and personalised. People are easily distracted by the overloaded information."

    In the same forum, Raaja Nemani, the CEO of Bucketfeet explained how he used new technology and his extensive network of artists to speed up the access to market for original artist-designed footwear products. He indicated, "A brand is the emotional connection to your customers. In order to build the emotional connection, it is critical to understand 'why' - why are we producing the product. From the thinking process, innovation is driven and value is created. Responsive commerce is a new way of doing business. We only deliver the products to our customers after understanding what they desire and combining with what our brand does. "

    Design Masters outline tomorrow lifestyle
    Carlo Ratti, the director of MIT Senseable Lab, introduced his recent research in supermarket, "How could a future supermarket be? We started by making clear what we didn't want, that was the 20th-century supermarket where not much interaction was possible between the products and the shoppers. Your digital clicking is possible to be shown in the physical space, such as the nutrition values and the carbon footprint of production. Your desired information will be shown right in front of you. This kind of display is accessible for everybody."

    Tim Brown, the CEO and president of IDEO, also shared his thinking on design and innovation. He had been interested in the convergence of technology and arts for long time that urged him to think of how design can be used to promote the well-being of people living in emerging economies. He said, "Efficiency has been a good thing for business but it hasn't been enough, it can be bad if it focuses on only one thing. Businesses need to be vibrant, diverse, and constantly innovative to address needs of clients. Evolve from efficient systems to abundant eco systems! Businesses need to be vibrant, diverse, and constantly innovative to address needs of clients. Evolve from efficient systems to abundant eco systems!"

    This year, there was a premiere launch of "Food & Design" forum, where Martin Kastner and Marije Vogelzang joined as speakers. Martin Kastner had been a service-ware designer for Chicago's three Michelin-starred restaurants while Marije Vogelzang was acclaimed to be the world's first eating designer re-imagineering eating behavior.

    Interaction between innovative architecture and the city
    Patrick Blanc, a botanist and artist, created the world's first Vertical Garden. At BODW 2016, He discussed the combination of architecture and plants, and also pointed out the value of a green environment and gardening system in the process of urban planning. He prompted, "Technique of building a vertical garden is not most important. First thing I need to know is the plant - put the right plant in the right place in a building. In Hong Kong, you can go to see the green in a few minutes from the city centre, like the Peak. To plant the right species is to propagate the local species. The local one already adapts the local climate."

    Winy Maas, the co-founding director MVRDV, is known for promoting sustainable urban design and planning. One of his major works was the revitalization project of an old factory building on Wai Yip Street, Hong Kong, which was transformed into an entirely see-through glass office building. He reckoned that Hong Kong architecture was interesting - it is hybridized and often seen in crowded spaces. He knew of the old and under-used industrial area in Kowloon East and understood the urge of changing the use and design of old buildings as there was a procedure that could not be bypassed. But he was still optimistic in applying new styles of architecture in old districts.

    Celebrating the lifelong achievement of a Korean master
    The DFA Lifetime Achievement Award (DFA LAA) 2016 went to Mr. AHN Sang-soo, who came to Hong Kong to attend the ceremony. Having contributed in modernising the Korean typography in the past 30 years, he had set his new goal of educating next generations of designers. He said to the anticipating audience, "Everybody wants to star when "I" want to be better and make more money than my friends do. In short-term, competition works. But in long term, by avoiding competition we work better together. Compared with what we teach, teaching environment is more important for students. Education is the most powerful weapon by which you can change the world." His mesmerising speech prompted the audience staying along to wait for his idea exchange session with the press.

    Awarding the best design projects in Asia in 2016
    During the eventful week, the DFA Design for Asia Awards presentation ceremony remained the highlighted appealing to the Grand Award and the Gold Award winners to congregate at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Some of the awardees were also invited to illustrate their new ideas at the main BODW summit. Their impressive presentations encompassed their passions in producing works to contribute in solving contemporary social and environmental problems. The Digua Community, the winning project from Beijing, was initiated to encourage residents who used to bear the stigma of living underground. Zhou Zishu, the Digua project holder, discussed his idea of holding a dual-role - as facilitator of co-creation and community builder. The residents who agreed with his idea were organised to perform skill exchanges and provide low-cost services among themselves. Another DFA awardee from Japan was the Line of Life Project. The Japanese project holder Shogo Kishino demonstrated his concern about the declining awareness of bird conservation. He encouraged designers to use their professional knowledge to contribute in protecting the ecological system.

    Boosting the local design community
    Presented in Hong Kong for 15 years, BODW had become a valuable platform for design and industry leaders around the world to network, exchange ideas and explore business cooperation. Apart from the four-day BODW conference, this year's schedule included deTour's series of exhibitions, workshops and programmes for the general public. The diverse range of events brought the design world's best to Hong Kong, while encouraging artists and businesses to unleash the power of design. It was a chance for Hong Kong to showcase its dynamic design and innovation appeal amid the atmosphere of "ChicagoMade" during the week.

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