Heritage and Innovation - Emerging Design Talents 2022: Culture Future

"Emerging Design Talents 2022: Culture Future", an exhibition presented by HKDI and Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE) (Lee Wai Lee) in August 2022, was a runway where young designers showcased their history-inspired designs and contributed to preserving heritage and paving way for a new "culture future".

Hong Kong Design Institute14 Mar 2023

[The following content is provided by Hong Kong Design Institute]


Culture and design are intertwined: we can find our cultural identity and experience human connections through clever designs, from which we can envisage the future by tracing the evolution of culture and exploring how humans interact with everything. To demonstrate how young designers create their culture future, the HKDI and IVE (Lee Wai Lee) hosted the "Emerging Design Talents 2022: Culture Future" in August 2022. The annual design exhibition gathered the fine works of graduates across 40 programmes covering areas of Architecture, Interior and Product Design, Communication Design, Digital Media, Fashion and Image Design, Information Technology, and Jewellery Arts and Design, serving as a platform to showcase their innovative ideas and to reflect how new-gen designers infuse their creativity into everyday life.


The home is where the heart is

Culture and history are often first experienced at home: we learn about different aspects of life and our roots through our parents and carers; we incorporate new ideas to adapt to new changes, creating new wisdom and passing that on to our next generations. Noting the importance of family and the disconnections triggered by social issues and the new wave of emigration, HKDI graduates from the Department of Architecture, Interior and Product Design and the Department of Communication Design came up with ideas to encourage positive communication to strengthen family bonds. They worked with industry practitioners on the "Family Emotional Bonding" project to remind us that our family is our strongest supporter. "Cuddle" is a robot prototype under this project. It has a range of facial expressions and isable to mimic the warm hug of a loved one in the family.


A new face for traditions

Warmth can also be felt from traditional festivals and design is the perfect connection to link up custom from the past and new energy from the present. HKDI joined forces with the Stanley Dragon Boat Association for the "Dragon Boat Festival – Ritual, Community and Environment" project. With a mission to revitalise the culture of dragon boats and to deepen the public's understanding of the Stanley community, graduates from different programmes formed six groups to delve into the culture of the festival. They applied artistic designs to establish a new image for the Stanley Dragon Boat Association and developed new conceptual designs for the future, revamping the Stanley Cultural Water Sports Centre, the Dragon Boat Centre, the Stanley Promenade and four hand-painted dragon boats.


Old culture, new chic                         

The annual design exhibition also saw up-and-coming designers expressing their creativity through authentic originals from the past. A representative new chic based on old culture is a vintage vanity case by a VTC graduate of the Diploma of Foundation Studies – Design programme. Elements of Cantonese opera are blended into the work to honour the jewel of the Lingnan culture. Visitors are invited to decipher hidden codes of cultural origins: the outer frame is decorated with Tang dynasty patterns to symbolise the peak of the performance art; the peony drawing is inspired by Du Liniang, the central character of the classic Peony Pavilion.


A graduate from HKDI Higher Diploma in Visual Communication also found new charm from the "it" item of the past century. Flow is a magazine that explores the world of graphic design and encourages the public of the digital age to revisit the wonders of the tangible world. In addition to visually appreciating the vibrant colours on each page, the sense of touch, smell and hearing can all be employed to reconnect with paper and the long-standing culture of reading – an experience that is irreplaceable by any e-reader or tablet.


The wearable history

HKDI graduates from the Department of Fashion and Image Design found inspiration from the changes of historic culture and projected their creativity onto stylish models. The collection follows the different styles of street cleaners since the 16th century. Using patterns and designs from the tools of street cleaners, patterns of street tiles and photos from modern street scenes, natural fabrics were digitally printed to create a strong contrast between modernity and history. The unlimited possibilities generated by combining the past and the future are fully visualised. While the new outfits may not become the uniform of today's street cleaners, they definitely tore down the boundaries of time and professions and paved new paths for the culture future of fashion design.


Be imaginative, be young at heart

Memphis is a classic Italian furniture style that emerged in the 1980s. The contemporary furniture pieces that feature bold colours and pronounced shapes have been integral to many meticulously decorated homes for decades, inspiring generations of new designers. Collaborating with the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Furniture and Decoration Trade Association, Memphis Group and Novalis Art Design, graduates from HKDI's Department of Architecture, Interior and Product Design formed five teams and created the "Memphis and the Post-Contemporary Object" project. Memphis-styled furniture pieces were reimagined to align with the aesthetics of today's digital networks. In this collection, "Playful" is inspired by merry-go-rounds, seesaws and other classic playground facilities. Visitors are urged to put down their digital screens and to reminiscethe carefree joy and great company at the park. The innocence of childhood will fill the home, where "culture future" is crafted with bold visions.