The Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale is one of the largest international outdoor art festivals in the world and now Hong Kong artists and creative designers have an opportunity to win a commission to be part of it.
Held every three years in the Echigo-Tsumari region of Japan’s Nigata Prefecture, the festival attracts art installations from around the world which aim to rebuild the relationship between mankind and nature through artistic appreciation. For many than 20 years, artworks by world-renowned contemporary artists such as Marina Abramovic, Christian Boltanski, Leandro Erlich, Yayoi Kusama, Jimmy Liao and James Turrell have been installed in the breathtakingly natural fields of the region, creating a perfect pilgrimage for art lovers.
Hong Kong’s Art Promotion Office (APO) has collaborated with the Triennale organisers to create Hong Kong House as a showcase of Hong Kong art talents and a sustainable platform for arts and cultural exchanges. It is now inviting Hong Kong artists and cross- disciplinary creative talents to submit artwork proposals for the Hong Kong House project in the lead-up to the next Echigo-Tsumari festival in 2021.
The APO says it is looking for “Hong Kong artists and creative talents to showcase outstanding works through this international arts platform and to bring exceptional works to global audiences.” Three artists or art groups will be commissioned for the artist-in-residence programme, to create and exhibit their artworks in Hong Kong House in 2021, 2022 or 2023 respectively. Proposals will be assessed on four key criteria: creativity and elements to interact with other cross disciplinary media; past work; resonance with the festival theme and experience in exhibition production.
The deadline to submit proposals is June 30.
For more information go to: www.lcsd.gov.hk/CE/Museum/APO/en_US/web/apo/apo_main.html,
Email the APO at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (852) 2512 3018, 2512 3019 or 2512 3020.
For more information about the festival, check out the official website www.echigo-tsumari.jp/en/
Thirty years on, Moscow still loves its McDonald’s
It was 1990 and long queues of Muscovites snaked their way across a snowbound Pushkin Square for the opening of the first McDonald’s in Russia. Now, some 30 years later, a new flagship store has opened on the site.
Built over three floors with multiple mezzanines, the new design is an experiment in “Non Design” according to Sydney-based designers Landini Associates. The intention is to hero the food, the service and the people who come to enjoy it. To create a ‘recognizable neutrality’ that allows this to happen.
Concrete, glass, stainless steel and oak form a palette of modern simplicity. The colourful graphic environments that long ago became the signature for McDonald’s internationally have been replaced with a different approach. The walls of the store intermittently celebrate the menu items, with stylized laser cut line drawings of McDonald’s iconic products as well as coffee beans that nod to both the heritage and evolution of the brand.
Pushkin Square has one of the highest guest counts globally of any McDonald’s restaurant and so the seating layout has been designed to maximize privacy, utilizing mesh screens to achieve this. Zinc, concrete and oak tables and benches help define separate zones, to accommodate families, groups and individuals, and challenge historical perceptions of quick service restaurants by elevating the environment.
Pushkin Square is an evolution of Landini’s global format for McDonald’s, Project Ray, named after the brand’s founder Ray Kroc. Iterations of the Ray Concept have been rolled out across Australia, Asia, Europe and America, and most recently at the McDonald’s Headquarters Global Menu Restaurant in Chicago, as well as many other cities.
The brief: to transform the vaulted interior of an Old Town house in one of the world’s most beautiful cities into an inviting and cosy place to enjoy the exquisite taste of natural wines. The result: the Autentista Wine Bar in Prague, a venue as luxurious as the wines it serves, yet simple and natural, in keeping with the way natural wines are made.
“By definition, a natural wine should be produced without any extra added ingredients and with respect for nature,” explains architect Dagmar Stepanova, of Formafatal, the design studio behind the stunning recreation. “Similarly, the bar’s design stays true to these principles…. all materials are presented in their original and pure form. Prefabricated steel sections are not concealed by pigmented coating; their natural patina shines through. Sanded steel joining elements are left on show, unconcealed. This is what makes such constructions truly authentic.”
Above the bar table, there is an atypical lamp, made of scorched acacia log. Like other features, it is faithful to the poetics of wine. For many years acacia wood was the go-to material for fence posts enclosing vineyards because its burnt finish increased the wood’s soil resistance and therefore longevity. Further references to wine and nature can be found in the gradients on the table prints, the cement‑texture paint on the floors and backyard walls. Eye-catching Moooi Meshmatic chandeliers, suspended from the striking vaulted ceiling, complement the interior concept thanks to their pure form.
While the new space is all about wine, there is a nod its past use as a literary café, with night sky graphic prints covering the sides of the bar, courtesy of artist Janko Dočekal. If you really needed another reason to visit Prague and revel in the joy of its architecture, bridges and streetscapes, then it could well be a visit to the Autentista Wine Bar.
The 2020 edition of Ambiente came face to face with the inevitability of the future. In many aspects designers find themselves in a position where they have to navigate and adapt through rapidly shifting values and demands of the world. At the world’s biggest trade fair, conscious designs, carefully thought out and manufactured commodoties to leave minimal impact and waste, took centre stage.
It’s a very strange time to be putting out a piece about the new and exciting finds of the consumer world, nonetheless it’s all the more the appropriate time to the wonders of the human ability--our creativity, what excites us and puts us in awe, and the good intentions in people to make the world a better place. Perhaps this can be a refreshing reminder of what determined minds are capable of. Here we revisited the sprawling grounds of Ambiente and picked out some of our favourite finds of the year.
[caption id="attachment_29865" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Photo: messe frankfurt[/caption]
Putting the Fun in Functional
[caption id="attachment_29997" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The GRAVITY dish. Photo: Fundamental Berlin[/caption]
These quirky yet highly practical homeware goods are by Berlin-based brand Fundamental. Known for furniture, accessories and artworks inspired by the mathematical principles and the geometry of nature, Fundamental was founded by architects Steve Molloy and Gunnar Rönsch in 2011 by a shared passion for intelligent design. They look at patterns and forms that occur in the natural world, using them as starting points for all designs.
[caption id="attachment_29999" align="aligncenter" width="700"] PUSH, a highly customisable unit. Photo: Fundamental Berlin[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_29998" align="alignright" width="250"] Photo: Fundamental Berlin[/caption]
Their GRAVITY dish, a gridded centrepiece, was a clear favourite among fair goers, with its intricately cross-wired pattern, the bowl reminds one of a sketching of a black hole.
PUSH, a collection of cleverly flat-packed metal plates that can be easily customised into dishes of different depths and shapes. By gently applying pressure on its pliable titanium triangular-shaped folds, the flat plates are transformed into little vessels of varying depths to store valuable trinkets.
[caption id="attachment_30010" align="alignnone" width="700"] A bubbly fun way to keep memories safe. Photo: Yellowdot Design[/caption]
Homegrown practice Yellowdot Design was selected to join this year’s talent lineup, and brought with them their whimsical collection of storage units, Momento. Visually reminiscent of soap bubbles, the collection is an allegory to the ephemerality of memories and explores practical and visually impactful ways of storing keepsakes.
[caption id="attachment_30009" align="alignnone" width="700"] Photo: Yellowdot Design[/caption]
Their Bubble Capsules, colourful iridescent glass orbs made for the storage of small-sized belongings, reminds us of the gachapon, the once ubiquitous capsule toy vending machines that were a delightful childhood memory of many.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Kēnko's range of home and gym friendly workout gear is unlike anything you're used to working out with. Photo: Kēnko[/caption]
The range of fitness devices by Berlin-based studio Kenko looks starly different from the monotonous plastic equipment we are used to working out with. Founded in 2017 by interior design students and sport-lovers Fritz Grospietsch and Andreas Bachmann, the duo takes their design cues from the Japanese holistic approach to wellness, as suggested in the brand’s name, which translates to “health” in Japanese.
[caption id="attachment_30024" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Push-up Bars by Kēnko[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_30025" align="aligncenter" width="225"] Not your ordinary dumbells. Dumbells by Kēnko[/caption]
The sleek, minimalistic gym equipment range is made of natural wood and cork, whittled into unique geometrical forms and finished with brass detailing. Each of their aerobic dumbbells features a weighted iron core covered in dark, cylindrical walnut exterior that makes for a sturdy, and aesthetically pleasing tool. The range also includes expanders, abdominal rollers, push-up bars and massage balls.
[caption id="attachment_30029" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Photo: HEYMAT[/caption]
Weaved from its norweigen roots, HEYMAT’s weather-proof floor mats are made of 100 percent recycled plastic. Introducing the HEYMAT+ collection at the fair, the design of these rugs takes inspiration from the natural surroundings of the nordic country, and features an unassuming, largely monochromatic palette.
[caption id="attachment_30028" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Photo: HEYMAT[/caption]
The patterns that emerge from the mats’ surfaces is a meditative nod to the soft sand of a Japanese Zen garden, or the stirred waters of the fjords. While such three-dimensional patterns promote a balance, calm and harmonious vibe, they also act as a dirt attracting, absorbent brush.
[caption id="attachment_30033" align="aligncenter" width="464"] Photo: Lind Leather[/caption]
Aarhus-based furniture brand LIND DNA was founded in 2013 with the ambition to inspire consumers with table setting products and interior concepts and to rethink interior design products from a sustainable perspective.Produced locally in a zero-waste environment, these leather goods are made to last and add an minimalist industrial texture to a home space. The brand uses surplus leather from making furniture, bags and shoes, pressed together with natural rubber for a range of tableware, mats and home accessories.
HAWK University and PaperFoam
[caption id="attachment_30042" align="aligncenter" width="960"] Advent without the waste Photo: Dorothea Wagnerberger/HAWK[/caption]
While excess packaging is widely considered wasteful these days, there are certain commodities when packaging is still necessary/ Bachelor students of the Faculty of Design at the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hildesheim collaborated with Dutch packaging manufacturer PaperFoam to discuss and design possible applications and scenarios for its environmentally friendly single use packaging material. "Rethinking PaperFoam" is the title of these sustainable, single-use items.
Made out of a foam paper material consisting of starch, cellulose and a patented mixture of additives, these items are 100% compostable and degrade completely within a few weeks in a natural environment, or can be recycled with paper. Despite that it is surprisingly sturdy, and can act as a quick packaging solution to daily goods such as fresh produce. The students reinterpreted the material in innovative consumer goods, such as a modular advent calendar and a mask-making kit for children birthday parties.
[caption id="attachment_30045" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Bianca Barbato's peculiar looking table lamps. Photo: messe frankfurt[/caption]
A highlight of this year's Ambiente is the launch of a dedicated presentation, Focus on Design, which showcases products and the design insights of a specific country. Brasil has been selected this year, and five of its design studios have been invited to showcase their creative output at the fair. One that caught our eyes was Bianca Barbato from São Paulo, who specialises in developing furniture and lighting.
Her Lixo collection, which literally translates to “trash” in English, consists of absurdly shaped brass table lamps that were the result of moulding inside discarded plastic bottles, Barbatos own playful sarcasm on her hometown’s lack of recycling regulations.
[caption id="attachment_30046" align="aligncenter" width="495"] Cobra Coral Chair by Sérgio J. Matos. Photo: Ambiente Blog[/caption]
Another Brasilian designer, Sérgio J. Matos, works to preserve traditional Brazilian craft from his country, and tries to make a point of crafting by hand in an age of industrial and digital manufacturing, whenever he can. His furniture products emphasise heavily on the use of natural materials, bold colours and sinuous forms that is inherent in his country’s design culture.
Digital VS Analog
These porcelains by Additive Addicted explores the interface between materials research and development, combining the use of coding and various computer-aided manufacturing procedures, they produce unique, one-of-kind, fluid looking ceramic products. The studio advocates the potential and fluidity of 3d-printing, apart from producing and distributing customisable ceramic objects, it also utilises its expertise to offer workshops to share knowledge through education.
Studio Anima Ona
Studio anima ona straddles the line between practical design and research. Their Shape of Colour rug, an abstract looking, 3D-printed twist on their traditionally hand-woven counterparts. Covered on one side with a highly liquid-proof, silk lined material that is spotted with a gridded, reptilian pattern, its reverse side is printed structurally onto textiles, using a printing technology dubbed “GRDXKN” by the studio, which gives a three dimensional texture that lends to the rugs’ acoustic insulation and anti-slip properties. Their reflection on the technical possibilities of design is at the core of the brand, and they are now looking to expand the opportunities of this particular technique and production methods to other forms of design. As co-founder Freia Achenbach explains, “Innovation is an important part of the process. So normally a carpet takes 900 hours to make, in a traditional handmade process. This is a new process using laser-cut stencils, and you can do whatever the pattern you want.”
Household German porcelain brand KAHLA showcased their new RFID smart digital porcelain series at the trade fair. Each of the series’ porcelain cup carries dishwasher-proof, sealed NFC transponders, which can be read out using a smartphone.
[caption id="attachment_30056" align="aligncenter" width="358"] Photo: KAHLA[/caption]
This multi-sensory, interactive upgrade gives KAHLA’s porcelain goods an option to be customised with personal messages, product information and even games. Each porcelain product comes with a personal cloud account, and can be individually programmed to suit a particular demographic, region or collective.
The 2020 edition of Ambiente brought together more than 108,000 visitors from 160 countries, which the organiser noted was a significant reduction from last year’s numbers, impacted directly from the threats of the coronavirus, as well as a raging storm that occurred throughout the fair’s weekend, which paralysed air and rail traffic in Germany and parts of Europe. The next edition of Ambiente is set to return to the messe frankfurt grounds from Feb 19 to 23 in 2021.
In these times of physical distancing, working from home has become the new norm – so we might as well do what we can to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
In-demand interior designer Katharine Pooley has come up with 10 practical tips for brightening the home workplace – whether that’s a discrete office or the kitchen table! And the good news, according to the London-based designer who was a judge of the Best Interior Design award in the 2018 A&D Awards, is that doesn’t need to cost a bundle of money.
“Make it personal”, she suggests. “Add objects you associate with happy memories. Even though your are working, this is still your home. Make it feel happy.” Objects could include artwork, framed photos, colourful flowers or even a jar of your favourite sweets. Other tips include adding a statement lamp on your table top or updating your screensaver to a warm and uplifting image, such as seasonal flowers.
If you’re setting up a table to work from, place it in near a window or alcove, rather than up against a wall. And if you have a bit more budget, why not splash out on a more luxurious chair. “Add a sculptural desk chair for a touch of glamour,” she suggests. “Fluted upholstery or metal tacking both work well.”
For those with a separate office in a small room, opt for a Roman blind rather than curtains. “You want to maximise your natural light and use a large scale patterned fabric for added interest.”
Katharine acknowledges that we’re still grappling with new ways to work and live. “Small changes can make a big difference, so play around, have fun and see what works best with what you have.” Check our more ideas for an inspiring home office at her online boutique store at www.katharinepooley.com.
While Asia’s design community, like so many other industry sectors, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 outbreak, it has already begun to explore innovative ways to help society cope with the challenges the pandemic has brought about for everyday living.
Beijing-based designer Frank Chou says he found inspiration when home became the space for work and life interchangeably. “Life is the best source of design,” he says.
In an interview with the organisers of Design Shanghai, one of Asia’s premier design shows, the founder of Frank Chou Design Studio said he initiated the Create Cures project with a few designer friends as a response to outbreak.
“I designed a sterilizing lamp which functions as a tray and lamp that emits UV light. When people return home, they can place keys, phones, and wallet on the tray to sterilize.”
Design Shanghai interviewed a selection of its participating designers in the leadup to its annual show, which was postponed to May 26-29 due to the virus.
Event Director Zhou Tan explained the team wanted to create a platform for exhibitors and partners to exchange thoughts and ideas about how they were coping with the crisis. This includes a livestreaming channel (see below) to “engage and rally everyone as we endure this episode as a community.”
Designer Xiao Liu says she empathises with the psychological traumas that many people have experienced during the pandemic. The founder of THESHAW, whose visual installations reflect her inner spiritual world, says that the home should be therapeutic.
“We always raise the question of what a good product is. In our current situation, it must be something that brings hope. There should be more empathetic and hopeful products to ease the pain.”
Zhang Lei, Founder and Chief Designer of PINWU, also sees design as a way to respond to different emotional states. “When everyone is anxious, we need soothing design; when everyone is calm, we then need something exciting.”
Lei believes people have higher expectations for design during a public health crisis. He says the focus at this year’s Design Shanghai will be on colours, and the application of colours to new materials. “Design should always be invigorating. We hope to bring excitement with these optimistic designs.”
Design Shanghai will be held at Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center in the Pudong district of Shanghai from 26 to 29 May. It will showcase the best design brands and galleries from across the globe in halls focusing on Contemporary, Classic & Luxury, Collectibles, Kitchen & Bathroom, Workplace and New Materials & Applications.
The Chinese-language live-streaming channel can be accessed via two Chinese streaming platforms, DouYin (the Chinese version of TikTok) and YiZhiBo. You can access Design Shanghai's profile page and download the app via your phone on the mobile link here: https://m.yizhibo.com/member/mpersonel/go_homepage?memberid=42961296. Work is now underway on platforms targeting English-speaking audiences.
Ambiente, the world’s premier trade fair for consumer goods, is now being staged in Frankfurt. The five-day affair is the largest show of its kind, drawing more than 100,000 visitors to the Messe Frankfurt fairgrounds.With an unrivalled range of products, Ambiente provides the inside scoop on the consumer market and the latest innovations in tableware, kitchenware, leisure products, home goods, interior design and gifts – as well as being a valuable networking opportunity for industry professionals. The fair also hosts a programme of events, conferences and award shows that further strengthens its place in the industry.
As with the previous 11 editions of the show, design studio Stilbüro bora.herke.palmisano predicted the main trends that shape and define the event. Architecture, fashion, design and art are all taken into account and the tends are showcased in an exhibition by the studio?? in the context of various situations, including work, dining, living and wellness.
The first trend, “shaped and softened”, shows a neutral palette of reduced tones –such as white and grey – are in favour, placing a greater emphasis on materials and their tactile qualities. With furniture, for instance, products are chosen for their sculptural form, interesting silhouettes and, of course, functionality. The new focus on materials and unexpected forms also calls for the creation of more flexible, multi-use products and contributes to the general ambience of a space. The studio suggests that hard surfaces – such as glass, porcelain and ceramics – inspire enthusiasm, while textiles, with their natural flowing forms, speak to movement and irregularities.
“Precise and architectural”, says the studio, is the next trend, with a shift to a more architecturally inspired colour palette and materials that evoke rustic charm. Contrasting materials meet geometric forms in an array of unobtrusive surfaces that put a strong emphasis on proportion and material aesthetics. Terrazzo, wood, glass, steel, bronze and surfaces with a matte finish or a subdued gloss effect are playfully combined with leather and heavy textiles such as cord, tweed, bouclé and velour.
The last trend, “artistic and diverse”, encompasses a collection of objects that are treated as works of art. This concept turns a space into an experimental doodle, and looks to break boundaries with the general conception of contemporary designs. These products are bound to be unusual, stimulating, and cross-disciplinary, and each has its own unique character, owing to a variety of bold new materials, unusual manufacturing processes and unconventional themes.
A highlight of this year’s Ambiente is the launch of a dedicated presentation, Focus on Design, which showcases products and the design insights of a specific country. Brazil has been selected this year, and five of its design studios have been invited to showcase their creative output at the fair.
Among the dizzying range of trends and talents, the notion of sustainability is ever present. To reflect the increasing momentum of the ethical consumerism movement, the fair has produced the Ambiente Ethical Style Guide, a curated directory that features 314 manufacturers from 49 countries that follow eco-friendly and socially responsible production standards.
The aesthetics of the bathroom are often compromised by practical considerations: it may be the only room in the home to miss out on the full design treatment. But beyond the taps and tiles, the bathroom is a place for pamper and retreat—a place to kick-start your day and to melt your worries away at the end of one. The new Armani/Roca collection celebrates this with a range of products that transforms the bathroom into a delicate balance between elegance and functionality.
Staying true to the design philosophy of Giorgio Armani, Armani/Roca products are at once timeless and contemporary, and, as the maestro himself says, are “durable and conceived ignoring temporary trends”.
The brand new Baia collection – the latest in collaboration with the Italian fashion powerhouse – combines sleek, ergonomic designs with high-tech credentials. At first glance the range looks retro, with brass elements and harmonious, fluid forms that make it suitable for a variety of spaces.
The range features a selection of over-countertop and countertop washbasins that come in shades of matte gold and dark metal, exuding sophistication. Each basin is seamlessly extended by a pedestal, while a metal towel rail in various finishes can be added to make full use of a space.
Complementing the pieces is a new line of faucets for basins, bidets, showers and baths in three finishes: greige, brushed steel and chrome. Despite their classic look, each piece is equipped with state-of-the-art thermostatic technology that delivers a pleasant and efficient user experience.
A key feature of the collection is a freestanding bathtub. Its soft, sinuous form – one that can effortlessly take centre stage in any bathroom – is achieved with special attention to ergonomics and comfort, with optional metal handles to add both functional and decorative detail. For the space-conscious there is the option of a shower tray, which can be custom made to sizes of up to 2,000 x 1,000mm; it comes in extra-fine resin, finished off with a choice of textures and finishes.
Another highlight is a multi-functional piece with a countertop washbasin, integrated metal towel rail and lateral cabinets. Available in both off-white lacquered wood and greige oak-veneered wood, it is a practical and convenient solution for small spaces without compromising luxury.
A selection of accessories such as towel racks, wall lamps and a round, metal wall mirror – all embodying the same design ethos – completes the collection.
At the recent Perspective A&D Trophy Awards 2019, the range bagged an Excellence Award for Product Design in the Bathroom Product category. It is available in new display areas at both COLOURLIVING and RocaConcepts stores in Hong Kong.
333 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai, 2295-6263
RocaConcepts1/F, The Hennessy, 256 Hennessy Rd, Wan Chai, 2510-2677