by Mavis Wong on Mar 15, 2012 in Interiors
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Hong Kong shows its might at the Taiwan Interior Design Awards 2011

After receiving more than 400 entries across nine categories, the Taiwan Interior Design (TID) Award 2011, recently handed out 79 TID awards to lucky winners.

Of just seven Gold awards, Hong Kong designers Joey Ho (Joey Ho Design) and Lam Wai Ming (Design Systems) together took three between them, in addition to two TID awards – surely testament to the territory’s thriving local design scene.

Conceived by Ho, the Arthouse Café and 2 by 4 House projects took Golds in the Commercial Space and Exhibition Space categories respectively, while the Working Space Gold went to Lam’s 780 Tianshan Road, Shanghai office design. Both their exhibition space designs – Ho’s Visual Dialogue and Lam’s First Photographs of Hong Kong – won TID awards.

Perspective managed to sit down for a quick chat with the two designers.

How would you describe Taiwan’s design scene, compared to Hong Kong’s?
Joey Ho (JH): I’d say Taiwan puts more emphasis on ethical responsibility, intellectual aesthetic and cultural awareness, whereas in Hong Kong we pay more attention to visual aesthetic, commercial achievement and international styling.

Lam Wai Ming (LWM): Taiwan’s residential design scene is very well-developed and the design directions are more diverse. From the winning residential projects in the past few years, we could see that their designs incline towards cultural expression. Their design concepts and presentation place a stronger emphasis on ‘poetics’.

You are no stranger to the TID Awards. What motivated you to enter the competition again?
JH: Entering design competition helps me keep a strong sense of commitment to design – just like a sportsman training for years to participate in tournaments. Winning and losing is part of the game; it may lead us into new dimension in design and motivate us to achieve self-excellence.

LWM: Looking at the competitions in different places, you’ll see each has different judging criteria and entries are usually judged by local panel in the initial round. Somehow, this reflects different value or aesthetic judgment – that’s why we want to take part in these competitions, to see if our designs are limited by regional factors or would be appreciated by people from other places.

What would you say are the crucial elements of your winning projects?
JH: In all my three winning entries, I intended to explore the beauty in life, inspiring people to discover and appreciate moments in life. For the Arthouse Café, we created an unprecedented atmosphere for café-goers; the 2 by 4 House symbolises Hong Kong’s density via an attractive showcase in a limited space (2x4m); and Visual Dialogue utilises every interior spatial component to create a dialogue with visitors.

LWM: For all designs, we stick to the same philosophy. We create value for clients and add our design values – especially through detailing – to bring out the depth and intrinsic value of design while creating a sense of discovery. For First Photographs of Hong Kong, the site is a declared monument so we could only utilise free-standing components to create a miniature of Victoria City; and for 780 Tianshan Road, we had to keep the original elements to preserve its historical aura while using brass as our thematic design language.

To you, as a Hong Kong designer, what is the significance of achieving acclamation outside Hong Kong?
JH: I was once told that competition results are important, but design process is paramount. So, I think it’s significant because this process makes me stay away from the comfort zone and face new set of rules and judgments outside Hong Kong.

LWM: To us, winning awards outside Hong Kong means that the system we’re using is ‘okay’, and apart from that, our design techniques or theories outside the economic field proves to be ‘okay’ as well.

In your opinion, what is a successful exhibition design?
JH: A successful exhibition should be able to send a strong message to visitors, touching their hearts at the same time. In Hong Kong, I’d like to see exhibitions with fewer commercial factors but more sensory elements, created based on our cultural or social awareness.

LWM: Designing exhibitions is kind of like Aladdin’s lamp: you only have one chance to fulfil one wish – expressing one theme. So what would that be? Exhibition designs in Hong Kong often focus on visual impact, sometimes lacking a real, central theme.

Now that the year’s got off to a good start, what plans do you have for the rest of 2012?
JH: As a designer, I don’t really make big business plans – I will plan my vacation ahead.

LWM: From international competition results and our clients’ feedback, we’ll reflect on ourselves in order to perfect our design vision. We hope to create designs that are more international, but at the same time with strong individuality and local characteristics… more ‘glocal’, that is.

See and  for more information about Ho’s and Lam’s winning projects.