In educating the next generation of design talents, HKDI always emphasises interdisciplinary and overseas learning so that students can absorb broader knowledge and better understand themselves in an international context. In this issue, we interview five award-winning outstanding graduates from different design fields to learn about their signature works, and how their exploration abroad further inspired their design-learning and practices.

Leung Chun Ting, Anthony
Signature work: Reality

Video games should be for all. Seeing the difficulty of including elderly people in video games, Anthony Leung, together with a group of students, designed a video game called “Reality” that is particularly for the elders. As a student specialising in Creative Media, Anthony led the team consisting of peers from various design disciplines to create this work. The team took 360-degree pictures of streets of Hong Kong and recorded the ambient sounds to create virtual reality scenarios in the game, so that elderly and disabled people can explore the world while staying indoors. In addition, the game involves tasks that encourage users to move their body more. The design process of “Reality” deepened Anthony’s curiosity about the difficulties senior citizens face in an urban city, which provided him a fresh perspective as he went on an exchange programme in the Estonian Academy of Arts in March. “I was particularly enlightened by the concepts of Social Design for the welfare of senior citizens in Europe, such as co-living and time-bank.” While in Estonia, Anthony took a Human-centred Design course. “It taught me that a good design is not only about making innovations, but also being considerate about the actual experience of users and fulfilling their needs. It was an impressive journey,” he shared. Recently graduated from the school, Anthony aims to keep exploring the possibilities between technology and human interaction, and is planning to pursue a master’s degree in art and design.

Lau Tsz Chun, Jordan
Signature work: Tri Cane

Jordan Lau has long reflected upon the use of folding cane seats by people in need, which include his father, who is a working man with leg problems. Going through the struggles of using a folding cane seat with his father, Jordan realised how the product is stigmatised as an object for the disabled and elderly. Consequently, as a student in Product Design, Jordan started brainstorming a better folding cane seat that is lighter with a trendier look, and finally created “Tri Cane”, earning him “The Red Dot: Best of the Best” award, a high recognition for ground-breaking product designs. With all the accolades, however, Jordan emphasised that the key feature of “Tri Cane” is actually its subtlety. “I consulted my father, relatives and many elderly people with a number of draft drawings.” Hoping to reduce the stigma of cane seats, Jordan initially tried to design the seat with fascinating shapes, but from the consultations, he learned that users actually hope that the cane seats will not attract much attention. That is why the seat of “Tri Cane” is designed to be expanded from the cane handle or is otherwise “hidden” in it. “I hope that this low-key cane seat will make it easier for the people in need to accept the tool for improving their lives.” As the prototype of “Tri Cane” was showcased at the Milan Furniture Fair in April, Jordan collected valuable feedback from international audience and learned how to improve the product. With the recent announcement of his Red Dot award, Jordan is looking forward to working with a manufacturer to launch the product
and truly help people in need.

Wong Chi Kin, Kenny
Signature work: Sidekick

While being a student in Furniture and Lifestyle Product Design, Kenny Wong time and again felt the difficulty of using a cane. Once, he was injured and was struggling to pick up one of his crutches from the floor. It reminded him of a similar situation he saw as an old man’s cane fell. The personal experience pushed Kenny to design a cane that is more user-friendly, one that will not require the user to bend the body in order to pick it up. The innovative cane, “Sidekick”,was born as a result, with which the user can just step on its base to elevate it from the ground, so that the cane handle will return to the user’s reach again. “Sidekick” soon earned the opportunity to be showcased at the Milan Furniture Fair this April. It opened new doors for Kenny as he got to learn from countless design works from all over the world. “I saw a variety of furniture designs. Some furniture works were simply created from slight twists of unexpected materials,” he shared. The eye-opening experience at Milan encouraged him to study more about design. “I hope to enrich my design techniques so that in the future, I may try to play with different materials and combine them to create a unique product.”

Chung Lai Yau, Lyau
Signature collection: No One Heard A Thing

Winner of the Best Menswear Award and the first runner- up at HKDI New Fashion Force 2019, Lyau Chung created her signature collection, “No One Heard A Thing”, from a memorable journey. As Lyau took a one-year working holiday in New Zealand prior to enrolling in the Higher Diploma in Fashion Design Menswear programme at HKDI, she had to stay apart from a depressed friend in Hong Kong. Her worries and empathy for the friend had her constantly reflect upon the lack of care in the Hong Kong culture, which finally inspired her to create “No One Heard A Thing”, whose title reminds people that sometimes, we are not aware of the voices within us and others. Later, Lyau won the first runner- up at the Hong Kong Fur Design Competition 2019, earning her the opportunity to go on exchange to Kopenhagen Fur in Denmark. She was amazed by the professionalism and advanced tools in the studio. In particular, Lyau saw a contrast in the design culture and consumerism in Copenhagen and Hong Kong. “Denmark values sustainability and design very much. In the streets of Copenhagen, you can often encounter stores selling handcrafted products that are meant to have long lives. It is such a contrast against Hong Kong where fast fashion thrives. I think there is a lot that we must learn from Denmark,” she shared. Before studying at HKDI, Lyau was not sure if fashion design could be her profession. Now, having graduated and won several awards, Lyau is more confident in her designs and is planning to study further in the field.

Yau Chi Yan, Coco
Signature work: Tearing Off

Recently graduated from the Higher Diploma in Fashion Image Design programme at HKDI, Coco Yau’s final-year project, “Tearing Off”, is a refreshing dress reminding Hong Kong people of the everyday practice in their tradition - tearing off sheets from the Chinese daily calendar. This habit of Coco’s grandma inspired Coco to create the signature piece. Coco likes the idea of starting a new day by tearing off outdated calendar sheets. Therefore, ruffles were added to the design to create a cheerful mood. Coco also hoped that the spirit of the dress would really speak to her audience, which is why she incorporated such feminist element as the shoulder pads to symbolise women’s desire for more power in society. During her design process, Coco participated at the Macao Fashion Week as one of the dressers, which gave her the opportunity to explore the designs and structure of fashion pieces made by various world-renowned brands. “It broadened my horizons in terms of the use of fabrics and cutting methods,” Coco shared. Previously, she did not realise that she was actually curious about the ways of creating a garment from scratch. However, her creative experience with “Tearing Off” gave her a sense of achievement, which encouraged her to keep exploring fabrics for more of her own designs as she completed the programme. Currently working hard, Coco looks forward to creating her own online store in the near future.