Hong Kong, the rhythm of the world in a city
If Hong Kong was a person, she would be in her thirties, far from the teenage years and with a clearer course in life. A kind and open person/city, difficult to know in depth, to read. She would be very ambitious, would have grown suddenly and would be always hungry. She thinks every empty space is an opportunity, every free time has to be used, and every gap has to be filled. Her energy heart pumps almost double than others, supports more, and doesn’t get tired. She gets little sleep, light awakes her, and she always has a place to go. When she wants something, she perfectly knows why she wants it, because every little choice counts for her course.
There are no ingenuous choices, free from intentionality. But it doesn’t mean she is a cold and shrewd person. She is like this because she wants to cause a more chaotic cultural background. If Hong Kong was a person, she would be extremely smart and fascinating, and we would all like to meet her.
If there’s a place in the world where massive consumption can be seen, this is Hong Kong, a city which is specially prepared for this. You can’t avoid shops, because in order to walk through the city, you have to cross commercial areas. It guarantees that all public areas are well equipped and count on quality services, because people are clients. There are only a few public areas, such are squares or parks, free of shops. When walking through the main central neighbourhoods, it is surprising how many times you can see the same European high-end shops, and there is always people buying inside.
Unfortunately, the weight of Barcelona at BoDW couldn’t be felt. It is my personal opinion. I was invited to exhibit in an art gallery in ceramics during this event at PMQ, and I went there to exhibit my work in relation to the city where I live, Barcelona. In spite of considering my experience as a highly gratifying one, I have to admit that I didn’t felt part of an event consisting on group of designers in Barcelona. There were kind of isolated exhibitors with little expectations regarding them, and sceptical people regarding the growing possibilities in Hong Kong. I think that a good exhibition, with better communication and interaction among participants and organizers, would have left a trace in order to attract inversion and people interested in collaborating with future projects. It would have been useful to establish Barcelona as a brand in design for the Asiatic market. Regrettably, I felt that BoDW had been slightly organized, with little interests.
In the future, places such as the PMQ centre should be taken in mind in order to do exhibitions or pop-up stores, with the aim of continue disseminating the so-called “made in Barcelona” design. In fact, in 2014, Stockholm had been the guest city for the BoDW and, in 2015, there was a Swedish designed store. PMQ is a centre for design entrepreneurs and its stands are used as stores and exhibition areas. This space had formerly been a residence for the English police, so that’s why it has a complex structure. This building is H-shaped, with two 6-floor pavilions, which are separated and, at the same time, joined with a central corridor in the 4th floor.
Each exhibition area is around 35 m2. There are permanent as well as limited exhibitions there. Some design spaces have an innovative proposal, while others have well-done handcrafted products, small entrepreneurs with products related to leather, jewellery, glasses, clothes and design gadgets.
There are also spaces where cookery is taught, and a library specialized in cookery (Taste Library). The Japanese company MUJI did an exhibition about compact houses. It suggested organized and aesthetical areas thought for Hong Kong’s departments. For BoDW, a closed stage was built in the central courtyard, and there was a communication about the design week provided with graphics and explanations in each floor and access area.
There used to be a lot of public. The negative side is that, in spite of having suffered some remodelling, the building has a complex structure. You have to go through different rooms, and to go up and down the stairs. It all makes the walk more difficult and you don’t really know whether you have already done all the tour, or you have missed something. However, this centre is very well located, at Soho, and there are many stores and attractive bars. I think that, if Barcelona had organized a more complete and interactive space for the BoDW, there would have been a greater impact.
Finally, we can state that, nowadays, Hong Kong is not a city specially focused on design, but it is a city driven by commerce. Nevertheless, I don’t doubt that, in a none too distant future, this city may turn into the capital of design, because it counts on resources such as money, ambition for a modern culture, and the existence of a small community aimed to design. It is also easy for this city to assemble people, to feel the unstoppable energy and the connection with the Chinese industry. It is one of the most attractive cities in the world: a completely cosmopolitan, open and versatile place.
Agustina Garrigou, alumni of ELISAVA