At Hong Kong's DesignInspire event, home-grown talents showcased both futuristic and heritage-themed designs, while creatives from Melbourne also shone
In December 2018, more than 230 exhibitors from around the world gathered at DesignInspire at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, where the three-day event and its 635 projects proved to be a source of inspiration for all who attended.
Organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), the event was in its second edition and covered everything from robotics to educational toys and countless other clever design solutions. DesignInspire aims to create better cities and improve daily life through better design – and what was on display lived up to those goals.Robots stole the show, particularly their broader repertoire of capabilities. At the Urbanovation pavilion, where designs by 21 local and international creatives were on show, the innovations ranged from robotics to smartcity concepts and educational toys. Those attending were particularly impressed by the Aeolus dancing robots, educational machines with voice-recognition software that were invented by the Shenzhen-based Leju Robotics. STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) toys are aimed at young learners, and were also a hit with the public. At the Robobloq platform, for example, young participants were able to create their own robots and interact with the machines. Other highlights included Welbot Technology's UR10e robotic arm that served as a bartender, mixing and serving alcoholic drinks to event visitors.
The event was in its second edition and covered everything from robotics to educational toys
Each year DesignInspire has a partner city; for 2018 Melbourne was chosen. Some 100 works from the city and its surrounds were showcased at the Melbourne Pavilion. With Think, Collaborate, Create as the theme, highlights included the sculpture-like lighting fixtures from Christopher Boots, Tait's latest Seam range of furniture, plus the Nuraphone – the world's first personal audio device that automatically adapts to the user's own hearing range.
Homegrown talents were showcased at the Hong Kong Creative Force Pavilion. Standouts included the Miniature Depicting Unique Hong Kong, where observers toured the city's landmarks in tiny model interpretations in artful detail, courtesy of the handiwork of the Joyful Miniature Association. Other highlights included RetroInnovations, where installations from 26 local designers from the fields of architecture, fashion and design created projects that paid tribute to the city's past.
Inspired by the humble 'Good Morning'-emblazoned towels beloved by many Hong Kongers, Michael Leung gave this design a modern interpretation, with the 'Good Morning' message reimagined in neon lights. Another piece evoking old-school Hong Kong was designer Kenji Wong's student desk and chair set, the classic variety given a sleek revamp with the use of Bing Kee copper ware, including the hand-hammered copper-finished desk surface. Meanwhile Sunnie Lau presented the Biophilia piece, an unconventional wooden chair that employed cybernetics and information technology in its design, to highlight a new and creative approach to traditional furniture craftsmanship.