Sino Group has collaborated with the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong to present the ‘Sino Group Robotic Architecture Series’ and an architectural structure made of robotically-manufactured bricks.
The architectural structure was constructed by university students under the tutelage of lecturers Donn Holohan, Holger Kehne and Christian J Lange. and is now exhibited at North Atrium of Olympian City 2 until July 4, 2017. Students of the university will also host tutorials to explain the process of robotic architecture to the public.
‘Robotic architecture will have a profound impact on construction as well as costs and efficiency in the decades to come. Facilitated by building information modelling, robotic application will give architects more control in the building construction process. Some architects are moving ahead from using robotic systems as reconfigurable spaces or “smart furniture” to applying robotic fabrication to the design and construction of high-rise buildings. We hope that young architects can gain an exposure to this exciting technology and let their creativity shine through in architectural and building designs,’ remarks Mr Christian J Lange, Project Lead of the Robotic Fabrication Lab and Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Hong Kong.
Set up in February 2016 and fully fitted in October 2016, the Robotic Fabrication Lab of the HKUrbanLab, the Faculty of Architecture’s research arm is the first specialised research centre in Hong Kong, leveraging robotics to invent, inspire and innovate building design. The combination of robots and digital design tools enables architects to build novel, complex shapes and patterns that would otherwise be difficult to achieve.
The Robotic Fabrication Lab workshop culminates in a structure that illuminates the role of architecture within public space and the growing global trend of robotic architecture. The inaugural workshop explores clay, a soil material that is found almost everywhere around the globe, and has a significant tradition in Asia. It studies revitalising ceramic material systems for architectural purposes today and how to generate new technologies, material systems and craftsmanship with the aid of the robot.
With nearly a century of history behind it, Alessi has established itself as a leading housewares and kitchen utensils brand, translating the most advanced cultural, aesthetic, design and functional quality into mass production. Luca Alessi, the brand’s commercial director for Asia-Pacific, talks to Perspective about working alongside internationally-renowned designers as well as local artists
Founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi as a ‘workshop for the processing of brass and nickel silver sheet metal, with foundry’, Alessi has always been synonymous with quality. With almost a century of history, it has gradually evolved to become one of the leading ‘factories of Italian design’, capable of applying its expertise and excellence in design management to a wide range of products.
Alongside its open-minded approach to change and international development, Alessi has steadfastly maintained its strong bonds with the traditions and cultural background of its origins, and continues to be synonymous with handcrafted objects produced with the help of machines.
[caption id="attachment_17798" align="alignnone" width="550"] Marcel Wanders brilliantly captures the enigmatic characters, glittering lights and vivid colours of the Circus in his recent collection of tableware and homeware items for Alessi[/caption]
Creating household items and tableware with extraordinary workmanship and finishing, Alessi gradually expanded its business beyond Europe and into the rest of the world, including the Far East. The vast distance between places such as Hong Kong, however, involved more than just physical distance — there was also the issue of an entirely different market, with preferences and needs which could not be easily grasped from afar.
Realising that they needed someone on the ground in Asia with local and regional expertise to steer the company, Luca Alessi, currently commercial director – Asia-Pacific of Alessi and a member of the family’s fourth generation, stepped up. He faced a tremendous challenge — and huge opportunity — but he came to the job well prepared.
“I had worked for De’Longhi before, managing the brand’s activities in Asia, America, and South Africa,” Alessi says. “I was also sent to Hong Kong by the company, which meant that I gained knowledge of this region, which has proven very useful for my current role in
the family business.”
[caption id="attachment_17799" align="alignnone" width="550"] Architect Zaha Hadid, who worked with Alessi in 2003 to produce the Tea and Coffee Piazza, as well as in 2005 for the Crevasse vase, partnered with the brand again in 2015 to create the Forma grater[/caption]
Generations of the Alessi family have joined the company’s management team, and Luca is no exception. With a Master’s degree in business administration from Hawaii Pacific University, he initially joined De’Longhi as product manager. His promotion to trade marketing manager in 2012 also marked his relocation to Hong Kong, where he has been based ever since.
Asked why he didn’t just join the family business straight away, Alessi explains that he decided to work for other companies first to gain experience. “The family always encourages the younger generation to [find work outside the company],” he says. “It enabled me to gain a lot of confidence, as I proved myself during this time.”
[caption id="attachment_17800" align="alignnone" width="800"] Last year, Alessi launched the vividly-coloured multi-functional Ellipse collection, created by Australian designer Abi Alice[/caption]
His ultimate goal was always to return to the family business after several years, and this he did in 2013 when he was appointed international sales and development manager for Alessi in Asia-Pacific, using the professional knowledge he gained in Hong Kong. “I think the major challenge is that the Asia-Pacific region is very far from Italy,” he says. “The headquarters doesn’t necessarily know what the Hong Kong market needs.”
This is an excerpt from the "Making high design accessible to all” article from the April 2017 issue of Perspective magazine.
David Irwin designs the M Lamp for Juniper
The design of the M Lamp seeks to create a contemporary play on the aesthetics and function of the Geordie, Davy and Carbide miner’s lamps, integrating features such as a handle for carrying and hanging, and a rotating conical reflector for directing light. Environmental sustainability is central to the M Lamp design. Its LED consumes an average 1.2W of power and lasts 50K hours.
Portuguese furniture designers Bitangra have released the latest edition to their range, the Osiris Side Table
Inspired by the pyramids of egypt, the Osiris Side Table is a statement piece predominantly made of brass, with the top finished with Palisander Wood Veneer. The use of these materials is a combination of tradition, lightness and sophistication, making the table a unique piece of furniture that is also a work of art.
Ben McCarthy has designed Lateralis for Innermost
The award-winning lamp features artisan crafted glass that seems to pour upwards and outwards following the breath of the glass blowing artist, producing a honey-coloured dome with a similar syrupy consistency. The light collects in a pool of dark timber below. At the heart of the table light, dark ripples of wood reflect off of polished brass.
Parisian bathroom fittings manufacturer THG has joined forces with Lalique to create a new collection entitled Pomme
Inspired by themes of beauty and temptation, the new range features basins, taps and accessories that incorporate the form of an apple into the design.
Coloured Bag Vases by Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal
The 1997 Paper Bag Vases that Tapio Wirkkala created for Rosenthal are among Wirkkala’s most popular designs. Perfect for use as a decorative piece or to hold a small floral display, the vases, which were originally available only in brown and white, imitate the structure and feel of a paper bag and replicate these details in porcelain. To mark his birthday, the iconic vases are now available in mint, peach, macaroon, dove, and gold.
Philippi has created Bouquet Black, a vase where individual blooms are celebrated
Even without flowers, Bouquet Black, with its black smoked glass and aluminum, is a strong piece. With only 500 in production, the vase is certain to bring an element of fun to any home or office interior.