“Design Made in Hong Kong is a project launched in 2019 as an evolution of a project I curated during my mandate as Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Osaka.
The main inspiration and goal of the project was the creation of a working dialogue between Hong Kong and Italy in the field of Design. Both Hong Kong and Italy have a long history of cultural and business exchanges where Design plays a strategic role.
For this reason, it was relatively easy to create a vast network of enthusiastic collaborators and partners, including academics, professionals, companies, and students. The participation of many qualified students was a distinctive highlight of the project.
In 2020, teams from three Universities from Hong Kong, in close contact with Italian designers, worked on subjects crucial for the future of Design: objects and materials that matters; the definition of furniture to enhance communication internally and externally; new concepts of quality living in the tiny home environment.
The exhibition “Milan – Hong Kong Design: New Forms and Functions in Parallel with Italian Iconic Works“, held at the Hong Kong Arts Centre (26th March to 4th April 2020), showcased prototypes and projects made by the universities, and the creations of the three Italian designers (Federico Peri, Sara Ricciardi and Federica Biasi) who had worked with the teams. The third sector of the exhibition, called “Italian Design Masters”, curated by Mr William Figliola, founder of Novalis Art Design, was intended to guide the visitors through works that made the history of Design in the world. Aldo Cibic, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass and Gaetano Pesce, were some of the creators of the “Italian iconic works” on display.
The third part of that exhibition, dominated by the revolutionary style of Memphis design, inspired the present edition of Design Made in Hong Kong 2022. The new edition will be in fact dedicated to this revolutionary design movement from the 80s and its influence in the contemporary visual scenario, also due to its aesthetic languages characterized by bright colours and deconstructed geometries, according to an “insta-friendly” approach designed to look good on one’s small screen smartphone.
The project keeps the same pattern and spirit of the previous editions: creating a solid and practical connection between Italian and Hong Kong creativity in the field of Design at various levels (professional, educational, and industrial) with great attention to the young generation. For this reason the main partners chosen for the 2022 edition are the Hong Kong Design Institute, a leading design institution, and Novalis Art Design, a gallery founded in 2012 by William Figliola, mainly focusing on the Memphis Group design movement.
“For this project each student will design a lamp or a piece of forniture that declines the aesthetic identity of Memphis in a way that is consistent with the brand and, at the same time, in line with the new aesthetic sensibilities native to digital networks, thus bringing the freshness of the new contemporary visual scenarios into the real product, defining a new contemporality in which the physical product speaks the language of the digital image, turning it into a “solid”, physically present element” explains William Figliola, curator of the project.
The project created by the students will be on display, together with a retrospective of the Memphis production, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as a part of the 25 yrs of Design exhibition (May 13-15).”
Happily, despite all the difficulties we had to face in the last two years, the projects and prototypes from the Hong Kong universities will also travel to Milan for the Milano Design Week in September 2022, thanks to the 5Vie Association.
Stefano Fossati Director
Italian Cultural Institute Hong Kong & Macau