Knowledge of Design Week 2024 Concludes with Over 2,300 Attendees

By That's GBA, July 5, 2024

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Knowledge of Design Week (KODW) 2024 wrapped up successfully, drawing over 2,300 participants to its diverse array of events. 

Held at the W Hong Kong hotel and other offsite locations, the three-day event featured 30 forums, 7 workshops, 5 masterclasses, and a series of meet-the-speaker and networking sessions. The theme for this year was "Inter/Section: Crafting Tomorrow's Design."

Prominent pioneers and creative leaders from various industries worldwide gathered to exchange ideas and envision the future of design, business, and society through innovative fusions of craftsmanship and technology. 

The event bolstered Hong Kong's position as a hub for design, technology, and innovation between Asia and the world.

The success of KODW 2024 was largely due to the support from the Lead Sponsor, the Cultural and Creative Industries Development Agency (CCIDA), along with year-round Partner Country France, and Regional Strategic Partners Guangzhou Design Week, Macau Designers Association, and Macau Design Centre.


Laurent Ungerer and Nathalie Crinière presented a Paris Notre-Dame poster, designed by Ungerer, to the Hong Kong Design Centre. Professor Eric Yim, Chairman of the Hong Kong Design Centre, was on hand to receive the gift. The poster showcases the brand-new identity of Notre-Dame, created by Ungerer, and premiered globally at the KODW 2024 forum. Image via KODW

Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), said, "HKDC is fully committed to our mission of promoting Hong Kong's design economy, inspiring design thinking within the creative sector, and elevating Hong Kong's desirability as a nexus for East-West exchanges in design business and tourism, with continued initiatives alongside France, our partner country extending throughout the rest of the year. Our calendar of events includes the annually recurring Business of Design Week (BODW) 2024, the Maison&Objet trade fair, as part of the 'Design December' initiative, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Sino-France bilateral relations, and help shape the future of Hong Kong as a true design centre for high-quality arts, culture and creativity." 

Building on the momentum from KODW 2024, the upcoming BODW 2024 summit later this year promises a three-day program that will showcase exceptional talent and creative visionaries at the forefront of design, brands, and innovation under the theme "Inter/Section: Design, Artistry, and Innovation." 

The BODW 2024 and the Maison&Objet trade fair in Hong Kong are also sponsored by CCIDA.

Prof. Yim expressed his gratitude for the continual support from CCIDA, formerly known as Create Hong Kong, and thanked Kevin Yeung, GBS, JP, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, and Victor Tsang, Commissioner for Cultural and Creative Industries, for officiating at the InnoDesign Leadership-Forum-cum-CEO Dinner and the Opening Ceremony of this year's KODW.

The theme "Inter/Section: Crafting Tomorrow's Design" covered a wide range of topics, including Scenography and Exhibition Design, Communication Design and AI, Architecture and Built Environment, Craftsmanship & Artisans, Design Education, and Furniture & Product Design.

Some of the pointers raised by speakers are as follows:

Speakers from France

Nathalie Crinière, Founder and CEO of Agence NC, in in great detail about today's designs taking inspiration from the past during her forum, "Scenography Unveiled: The Art of Inter/Section," sharing that "It's a complex topic in France, particularly when it comes to the question of easy replication versus reinterpretation. How do you handle your own history? I believe that maintaining your own inspiration is crucial because it signifies your roots. It's important to communicate to others that you're not just a designer who creates from their own thoughts or imaginations. Culture plays a vital role – you need to understand what came before you and respond accordingly. It's a way of following the story, and that's how I envision the process of designing."

KODW-02.jpgThe InnoDesign Leadership Forum featured two distinguished speakers from France, Nathalie Crinière, CEO of Agence NC, and Laurent Ungerer, Founder & CEO of c-album. These two design masters, who have collaborated seamlessly for over 20 years, shared their insights on design under the theme "Inter/Section: Crafting Tomorrow's Design." Image via KODW

During their panel "Crafting Aesthetics in Exhibition and Curation Design," Nathalie Crinière, Founder and CEO of Agence NC, and Laurent Ungerer, Founder & CEO of c-album, shared insights on scenography and communication design. 

They believe that the location is of utmost importance in scenography design, and that designers need to consider its physical conditions alongside their own emotional reactions. 

They stressed that designers and curators must work together, as location and scenographic design "are really to help visitors understand the content, and has to touch the heart of every visitor," serving the critical role of conveying the exhibit's intent to audiences on behalf of the curators.

Marianne-Lardilleux.jpgMarianne Lardilleux during her keynote "Aesop on Store Design." Image via KODW 

On the topic "Aesop on Store Design," Director of Aesop's Global Retail Design Marianne Lardilleux spoke on the necessity of intelligence and sustainability in Aesop's interior designs, and on prioritising both functionality and aesthetic appeal, sharing that "We want to have engaging conversations with our customers, and to do so we have the same level of intellect in the way we designed our stores." 

202407/Sylvie-Corr-ard.jpgSylvie Corréard during her keynote "Craftsmanship, Design and Inspiration: The Unique Role of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs."  Image via KODW

Sylvie Corréard, CEO of Les Arts Décoratifs, on her forum "Craftsmanship, Design and Inspiration: The Unique Role of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs," shared how the intersections of design inspired her practice. 

"We could describe our collection as a polysemic collection. The very principle of the collection was structured around heritage and contemporary creation. The idea was to showcase and preserve objects from the past or from other cultures that could inspire current creativity. It was necessary to acquire and exhibit ongoing creations that reflect technical, artistic, and industrial evolution."

Speakers from Hong Kong

Qeelin's Founder and Creative Director, Dennis Chan, spoke at length about the importance of balancing inspirations from East and West traditions, mechanical ingenuity with aesthetic design, and delivering impactful brand stories through strategic boutique locations and celebrity ambassadors during his keynote "Inter/Section of Cultures: The Qeelin Perspective of East Meets West." 

Dennis shared, "That's why I think the Qeelin design is not only about Chinese design. The inspiration is from China, but we still take on a lot of inspiration from around the world."

Alan-Chan.jpgAlan Chan during his keynote "Tradition, Innovation and Beyond: Journey to the Inter/Section with Alan Chan." Image via KODW

Discussing "Tradition, Innovation and Beyond: Journey to the Inter/Section with Alan Chan," Alan Chan, Founder & Creative Director of Alan Chan Design Company, believes in "Never go for references, but study it if you want to create something.  All your energy, memory, creatives should be from your history and experience of life," which is integral to his design philosophy.   

Olivier Segura, Managing Director of L'ECOLE Asia Pacific, in his power talk on "Preserving the Art of High Jewellery," talked about how the intersection is interwoven with the school's mission. 

"Intersection is there to support and help young talents who have a promising future. Intersection for us also means to create bridges between our experts and our audience." 

Speakers from The Chinese Mainland and Overseas

In his power talk "Tea Beyond the Cup: Sustainable Solutions Across Industries," Calvin Sio, Founder, CEO and Director of Sustainability at Zence Object Technology and Chazence, delved into how traditional Eastern wisdom and philosophy guides his brand's transformative and sustainable vision for innovating tea waste. 

"By providing valuable insights for the application of bio-based materials, we can integrate Eastern wisdom to create an environmentally friendly material system. This approach is rooted in the Eastern philosophy of harmony between humans and nature, ecological balance, and the fusion of wisdom and culture."

Dong-Gong.jpgDong Gong during his keynote "New into Old." Image via KODW

Dong Gong, Founder and Design Principal at Vector Architects and a Foreign Member at the French Academy of Architecture, offered a profound perspective on "integrating new design with existing structures" during his presentation on "New into Old." 

"By respecting existing layouts and natural elements, we enhance living environments, blending the old with the new. This approach not only preserves the historical and emotional significance of the sites but also improves the quality of daily life."

Alexis Georgacopoulos, Director at University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL), and Rama Gheerawo, Director of The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, discussed the necessity of leveraging design to solve the challenges faced by society during their panel of "Empowering Tomorrow's Designers." 

Gheerawo said, "Design bridges ideas to implementation and impact, turning concepts into real-world solutions. This unique ability justifies giving design a critical role in multidisciplinary discussions."

Lex Pott, Founder and Designer of studio LEX POTT, and Frank Chou, Founder & Creative Director of Frank Chou Design Studio, in their panel "Craftsmanship, Culture, and Challenges: Exploring the Evolving Landscape of Design in East & West," Pott shared that "traditionally, when we speak about craft, it's a skill. It's something that you train and that you master. But I think from a design point of view, it's also about intellect, culture, tradition, so many of those ingredients."

Experience KODW 2024 On Demand

The interactive design knowledge platform under HKDC, bodw+, presents new membership privileges including unlimited access to the exciting content of all editions of KODW and BODW. 

The online premiere of KODW 2024 is on July 17, 2024, and members of bodw+ can review full recordings of KODW 2024 from that day onwards on the bodw+ website. 

Join bodw+ and stay abreast of what's happening in the global design and business worlds:

[Cover image via KODW]

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