Inside Hong Kong Business of Design week 2015 with Ida Marie Iuel

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Inside Hong Kong Business of Design week 2015 with Ida Marie Iuel

By: Ida Marie Iuel, Head of Business Development at Rosan Bosch Studio 

Attending Business of Design Week 2015 in Hong Kong last week has meant many incredible experiences during what must be one of the most successful design weeks till date for the organizers William Too, Edmund Lee and Victor Lo. Names the likes of Thomas Heatherwick (Thomas Heatherwick Studios),  Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang), David Butler (the Coca Cola Company) grazed the stage. The programme was packed with awe-inspiring speakers, most of who came from this years partner city Barcelona. On day four, Javier Mariscal (Pluridisciplinary Designer & Artist) managed to effortlessly spellbind the audience with his work and finished of to standing ovations. My personal favourite, a lecture by Architect Director & Coordinator behind the construction of Segrada Familia Jordi Fauli who did a presentation on his 25 years of dedicated work to finishing Gaudi’s masterpiece. 


 

Inside Hong Kong Business of Design week 2015 with Ida Marie Iuel

By: Ida Marie Iuel, Head of Business Development at Rosan Bosch Studio 

Attending Business of Design Week 2015 in Hong Kong last week has meant many incredible experiences during what must be one of the most successful design weeks till date for the organizers William Too, Edmund Lee and Victor Lo. Names the likes of Thomas Heatherwick (Thomas Heatherwick Studios),  Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang), David Butler (the Coca Cola Company) grazed the stage. The programme was packed with awe-inspiring speakers, most of who came from this years partner city Barcelona. On day four, Javier Mariscal (Pluridisciplinary Designer & Artist) managed to effortlessly spellbind the audience with his work and finished of to standing ovations. My personal favourite, a lecture by Architect Director & Coordinator behind the construction of Segrada Familia Jordi Fauli who did a presentation on his 25 years of dedicated work to finishing Gaudi’s masterpiece. 


 

 

In between the presentations I was lucky enough to get the chance to sit down with one of the founders behind BODW, William To for a quick chat about the importance of space design.

What are your thoughts on design’s potential in healthcare?

W. In terms of product development I think that everybody knows what design can do. But personally I am more interested in what an environment can do to people, how it can heal. But also how arts and creativity can heal. I have a friend in Taiwan who uses creativity and runs workshops using creativity to work with depressed patients. I find that very fascinating. Because a lot of people, when they grieve or they are in chock and are not used to expressing themselves emotionally letting anybody into their ‘inner world’. But what he is teaching, is using arts and creativity in terms of for example a dance or a performance or art drawings to help these patients express themself.  So the doctors can go deeper into their inner world to help them and this is something I find fascinating - most people don’t realize this. I am in the creative field so I pay more attention to these kind of things and of course I am very sensitive to how the environment can heal. So design in a very general sense - yes it can definitely heal or contribute to healing. 

Do you see it as something that people are opening up to in Hong Kong?

W. People are still not very aware and knowledgeable about this aspect of design. A lot of teaching and sharing is important. Most people especially in a place like Hong Kong, where the pace is so fast, they don’t pay a lot of attention to these kinds of things. They can walk into an environment without knowing what is surrounding them. But somehow at the end of the day, because their senses are so overloaded, they don’t really sit and think about how the immediate environment is affecting them and their mood. We live in a very stressful society in Hong Kong, where people are not aware of what is affecting us.

What do you see as a potential of space design in education?

W. There was this wonderful project done by two Japanese architects Tetsuka. They created this oval shaped kindergarten, the donut in Japan. That is something I find fascinating. How a structure and the way space is divided and created can change the dynamics in a learning environment. If it works for young children it works for people. People are people. Hong Kong students are so stressed out. The cases of suicide amongst young kids in Hong Kong, it tells us that they cannot stand the level of stress.

I think that this is knowledge that we need, but it is also something that people are not paying attention to, because they are so buzzy with their daily life. A lot of effort needs to be put into communicating this wisdom before people can begin to understand and appreciate the value of space design.

Do you have any good examples of space design being used strategically here in Hong Kong?

W. One example is 10 years ago, when one French retail store started to introduce smell into the retail environment. Suddenly it became a trend and now you just walk into spaces where the smells are so overwhelming, because people just killed it. But that is one step further. That gives an identity to something. But people still haven’t gotten a proper understanding and appreciation of how space and the environment can affect our world. 

W. Through my involvement in PMQ, I get to se a lot of overseas projects. For example in a dental clinic in Japan, I got to see how the interior design was done purposefully. They use the entire interior design to calm the patients. Once in a while I run into these projects and I appreciate them. I am not very knowledgeable in terms of these projects, but I am totally aware of the potential and appreciate the value of space design.

What is lacking for this trend to catch on here in Hong Kong?

W. People are just not aware of it. I am fortunate enough to run into projects like these, but most people don’t even get to hear about things like that. When you don’t even get to hear about this work and thinking, get to know about something so important, then you are completely unaware of it. For example, if you are a developer or a business owner and have never heard about how the environment can affect the user, then you won’t even consider it… In Hong Kong developers maximise their profit, by lowering cost. It’s not something they consider during the planning stages. I think, if you ask 10 people 9 out of 10 will say that this is more for education and the medical industries, rather than something they should contribute to. But I think we need to raise awareness, before people will start paying attention to it.

It makes sense in slower economies, but not in the fast economies in cities like Hong Kong, New York or even Tokyo – or yes, maybe Tokyo. Tokyo has a slower way of life and pay attention to the slow way of living. But in cities like Hong Kong our days are so full – we live on another frequency…

I am aware of it, because I have been exposed and I am personally very sensitive to the environment. But it’s not everybody who does that. I think that people in the design field would have more sensitivity towards this topic.

 

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