In Butchers Deluxe, the iconic butcher’s lamp used in markets and shops all over Hong Kong was transformed by an eclectic mix of designers
Developed and curated by Hong-Kong based collective Johan &Jacob, the Butchers Deluxe exhibition saw 13 designers from various backgrounds reinterpret the Hong Kong butcher’s lamp.
Summing it up as “a simple way of communicating the value of design and what we can add to industrialised goods”, organiser Johan Persson says that in using an old industrial icon and asking top designers to reinterpret it, “we’re also showing what Hong Kong’s about”.
Basic in form and made of plastic, the lamps have a value of around HK$20 and haven’t changed in any way since their inception several decades ago. Used all over Hong Kong in market stalls and open-air butcher shops, it’s a perfect blank canvas and candidate for modern reinterpretation.
Hailing from a variety of countries and cultures, the 13 participating designers are at various stages in their careers, and represent a range of spheres within the design industry.
Hong Kong-based Winnie Lui is best known for jewellery and lighting design, while Dorophy Tang is a young graphic designer. Sean Kunjambu started his career in fashion styling, while Jergun Bey is a renowned Dutch designer who works on a wide spectrum of projects from urban planning and architecture to product design.
As such, the exhibition is comprised of 13 completely different lamps: Alan Chan’s interpretation features a delicately carved shade reminiscent of traditional Chinese laquerware; Danny Fang has hung a halogen strip bent into the word ‘love’ underneath his lamp; Ben McCarthy electroplated his shade and turned it gold; Freeman Lau’s version sees wooden chopsticks protruding from a white shade and Richard Hutten uses chains to connect two lampshades.
Such variation reveals one of the most interesting aspects of the exhibition – the vast scope of human interpretation.