Crafting Design Future with installations, exhibitions, workshops, forums, screenings & guided tours
HONG KONG SAR – 27 November 2023 – Held from 24 November to 3 December 2023 at PMQ, deTour, the most anticipated design festival in town is back. deTour 2023 is presented by PMQ and sponsored by Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. This 10-day grand design festival will present various programmes for the art and design communities both in and outside Hong Kong. These programmes include creative installations and exhibitions, workshops, design dialogues, movie screenings, guided tours, and many more.
10 years of deTour at PMQ
Started in 2014, PMQ’s deTour celebrates the 10th anniversary this year. A unique theme has been assigned to each edition of deTour to explore how design could solve social problems and improve our lives. To commemorate this journey, a 10-year retrospect exhibition will be featured in this year’s deign festival to look back on the highlighted exhibits and behind-the-scenes of the past decade of PMQ’s deTour. This part of the exhibition will be held during the same period as deTour 2023 Design Festival at PMQ and admission is free, as everyone is invited to witness the road to success of deTour, as the contribution of PMQ and deTour in pushing forward the development of the local design industry.
The theme of deTour 2023 – “New Know How” – the Interweaving of “Craft”, “Design” and “Technology”
Working around “New Know How” as the theme, deTour 2023 aims to pave the road to craft design future which takes off with appreciation of traditional craftsmanship. When working, craftsmen are laser focused, highly precise and people oriented, and these qualities are collectively deemed as the “spirit of craftsmanship”, which are also regarded as “Know How”. Curators of deTour 2023 stated that “this valuable artisanship ought to be applied to different industries. It, together with design thinking and advanced technology, will help take each industry to a new level. By achieving this, problems can be solved more effectively, and through analysing obstacles from a new angle and perhaps trying solutions with new materials and techniques, new creations that are more thoughtful might be possible – this is what we meant by ‘New Know How’.” Through this design festival, curators hope to bring the industries to re-appreciate traditional crafts from a new angle and make good use of “New Know How” in different sectors.
Three Exhibition Areas with 20 International and Local Works
The exhibition of deTour 2023 Design Festival is divided into three parts: International Collaboration, Feature Exhibitions and Selected Entries, which are curated under the five specific directions of New Value, Storytelling, Craft Enhancement, Innovation and Heritage. Scattered all over the PMQ premises, 20 design works from the Nethelands, Japan and local designers are open to the public for free appreciation. . In addition, over the 10 days of the design festival, there will be a fruitful programme of a total of 40 workshops, 12 design dialogues and sessions of documentary screening of “Food and Design”.
International Collaboration: Craft by Nature by Biobased Creations (The Netherlands)
deTour 2023’s International Collaboration has invited Biobased Creations from the Netherlands, which is a creative studio formed by a group of designers, researchers and artists who aim to encourage the use of biomaterials – also known as renewable eco resources – in daily lives, so as to evolve our world into a regenerative and circular one. Biobased Creations presents Craft by Nature which is an exhibit specially designed for deTour 2023. Shaped like a house, the exhibit allows visitors to find multiple designs made from biobased materials such as furniture, clothes, shoes and socks, and household items. All of these designs are eco-friendly, light in weight and with a minimalistic design, created by designers from Hong Kong and the Netherlands. Outside the house in the garden, visitors can see the “originals” of the materials used in the designs, including common reed, silvergrass and shells, something that we are familiar with. Other than that, Biobased Creations will also display 40 biomaterials that can be applied in architecture and heat insulation, and visitors are welcome to hold and feel these materials and scan the QR code to instantly learn how these biomaterials are made. Craft by Nature is an innovative installation demonstrating how materials that are ignored or abandoned can be transformed into chic designs, and this allows us to rethink our relationship with the nature and invites us to take one more step forward to make our world better.
Feature Exhibitions: Exploring traditional crafts with a fresh eye
- TATAMI ReFAB PROJECT by HONOKA (Japan)
Tatami mats often remind us of Japan because they have been an essential part of almost every Japanese family in the past. However, with the culture changed, the demand for tatami mats has been dropping in recent years. Bringing back tatami mats into every Japanese home is HONOKA’s goal. Traditional tatami mats are made from plants that are fragrant and have the ability to adjust humidity and reduce odours. Igusa grass from discarded mats are crushed and mixed with cellulose acetate to create a new material which, added with 3D printing, can be turned into household essentials like tables, chairs and lampshades so as to “re-embed” in Japanese homes. HONOKA has found a way to keep tatami mats alive and to pass the Japanese culture to future generations. deTour 2023 invites visitors to appreciate these furniture and items that have perfectly combined Japanese culture with the 21st-century technologies.
- Bird/Cage/Twist by Dylan Kwok and Open Birdcages authors
Having a bird in the cage with you while you dined at tea houses used to be a typical Hong Kong cultural scene, in which the bamboo birdcage was a key cultural symbol. With the disappearing culture of taking their birds in cages out to the park or tea houses, the craft of bamboo birdcage making is slowly fading. To preserve this iconic handcraft, local designer, Dylan Kwok, took an apprenticeship from the last bamboo birdcage craftsman in Hong Kong, Master Chan Lok Choi. Apart from jotting down every detail, with his training in design thinking, Dylan modified the steps of the production process for it to be passed on more effectively. In the Bird/Cage/Twist exhibition, Dylan will show the major steps in making bamboo birdcages combining the traditional and innovative ways, for example, cutting bamboo rods, building the base and binding the rods to the body of the cages. It is the perfect showcase of how to elevate traditional crafts and how design can help preserve and carry on heritage.
- Ne-on-Ne-on by @streetsignhk
Neon sign was once an iconic symbol of Hong Kong. The neon sign boards are generally big and heavy, and neon tubes are fragile for transportation, and installation of them is strictly a job for qualified technicians. Members from the creative team of @streetsignhk are attempting to tackle these issues and the results are displayed in Ne-on-Ne-on. One of the ways is to break neon signs into smaller parts for easier transportation, installation and dismantling; another experiment is to explore the use of plug-in connectors for the neon signs to be installed in minutes. Visit these neon signs 2.0, which have the same aesthetics as the old ones, while they can also be transformed into smaller indoor decorations. This is how the history and artisanship of neon lights can be continued.
- Together We AppreciEAT by Ka Chun Lui and Cam Wong
Culinary art can be realised by planting of crops, mixing and matching of ingredients, designing dishes and every step along the way as they all require careful planning. However, the culinary scene in Hong Kong is often affected by price and supply of ingredients. Thinking on this, professional chef, Cam Wong, and seasoned journalist, Ka Chun Lui, aim to bring a “feast” to deTour 2023 with local food produce. Displayed on seven dining tables are products of six food and beverage brands that are important in Hong Kong’s culture, and through them, visitors are encouraged to explore local resources, production and development. Each visitor will have a chance to taste the new flavors re-created from the ingredients provided by these brands.
- Foraging For The Local Aroma by BeCandle
Each city has its unique scent that represents the culture, spirit and aura of the city, yet, these scents are often overlooked. Foraging For The Local Aroma exhibition is divided into four parts: materials, production process, aromas and experiences. Visitors can “discover” materials and extract scents from them to learn about the creation process. BeCandle invites visitors to set aside existing knowledge of essential oils, to slow down and pay close attention to surroundings such as traffic, food and happenings around town, in order to rediscover scents that are Hong Kong-exclusive.
Selected Entries: Full-on design-thinking energy from carefully picked entries from open-call proposals
- Future Soil by Arthur Cheung, Carolyn Tam and Yvonne Wong
The exhibition, Future Soil, focuses on emerging technologies in computation and floral craft making. The project attempts to digitally create bio-receptive structures that can integrate with plant species, which the structures will be infused with a tailored nutrient mixture. This highly sophisticated process and design can simulate the plant’s soil condition while controlling the breathability and water-holding capacity of the plant. The integrated structures can provide various densities for the roots of the plants to grip onto. Over time, plants grow in a soil-less environment and blend with the integrated structures, and eventually become art pieces that are also full of life.
- Mending * Connections * Stories by Cman Chiu, Shirley Hung
Owners and their objects are connected in a special way, and mending items through needlework signifies the reconnection of the two emotionally. This project is where Cman Chiu, a new media artist and designer, and Shirley Hung, an embroidery artist, meet. Through embroidering with conductive threads, Cman and Shirley attempt to mend the broken items brought by the visitors to the Mending * Connections * Stories exhibition. With this special thread and intricating needlework, the mender not only can feel the stories between the owners and their objects but also hope to weave the two back emotionally.
- Sounds of Suzumushi: a Weaved-bamboo Pavilion by Craft Design Research Lab
Bamboo weaving is a traditional craft commonly found in baskets and dim sum steamers, but only a handful of bamboo craftsmen are still working on it in Hong Kong. Professor Hiroyuki Shinohara has been leading architecture graduates Ian Chen and Lincoln Chan in this study, in which they strive to preserve the know-how of craftsmanship in bamboo weaving and to further develop it by adapting it for use in architecture. What they are presenting at deTour 2023 Design Festival are several bamboo woven pavilions using the traditional Japanese Kagome Weave technique, which allows visitors to walk into the pavilions and enjoy the pre-recorded Suzumushi sounds to relax to the aroma of fine bamboo creations.
- Alive Archive: Reveal the Past, Present and Future of Cheung Chau Theatre by Jason Gu Jiacheng
Cheung Chau Theatre was established in 1931. With a history of over 90 years, it is listed as a Grade III historic building. Architecture graduate Jason Gu talked to Cheung Chau residents to learn about the good old days of the theatre and turned it into a record for everyone to enjoy. Creating a 3D photogrammetric model of the theatre and filming a documentary about it, Jason hopes to show them at deTour 2023 design festival to call for the public’s awareness of the preservation of historical buildings and the stories behind them, as well as to create a platform for dialogues to happen surrounding old buildings and modern societies.
- Digital Puppet by HUNG Keung
Traditional puppet shows, where craft, art and culture meet, are brought to audiences by skillful masters. Dr. HUNG Keung and the innov+media lab (imhk lab) combine modern technologies with Chinese puppet shows to create the art of “electronic puppets”. When performing, masters can control the puppets with computing systems and digital technologies to bring a new audio-visual experience to the audience. While modernising old crafts, visitors are able to have more in-depth knowledge of the interplay of design practices, digital art, interactive technologies and cultural heritage.
- The State of Paper by Duy Huynh and Fergal Tse
Drawing attention to the pressing issue of paper wastage in Hong Kong, the duo Duy Huynh and Fergal Tse has created The State of Paper exhibition for deTour 2023 design festival to demonstrate the creative potential of recycled paper and how it could be made into different products. By showcasing the extensive R&D on materials, the duo invites visitors to have more awareness of sustainable materials and the possibilities of local circular economy.
- ICY is THE BEST by KENNIFSTUDIO and D-OLOGY
ICY is THE BEST brings back the enjoyment of ice pops in a new visual and tasting experience. Ice pops are not only loved by children but also are childhood memories of many grown-ups. They come in many different flavours, but which one can represent Hong Kong the most? Savour the Hong Kong tastes brought to you by KENNIFSTUDIO and D-OLOGY, including sour plums, ginger and “Pickled Lemon Seven-up”. To further enhance the experience, the team will be adding new food technologies into traditional ice pop-making to create some with shapes that are more Hong Kong-related.
- RE-RE-SET by Michael Leung
Covid-19 pandemic had impacted our daily lives immensely, and in turn, created an inspiration for Michael Leung from Studio AA. Hong Kong is a globalised city where we rely substantially on imported resources, while we took it for granted, this habit was greatly interriupted during the pandemic. However, it also inspired Michael to look into small-scale localised production with recycled materials. This allows designers to work with micro-factories, from processing wood and metal to digital creation, and opens up more opportunities for the industry. In the RE-RE-SET exhibition, Michael demonstrates household products made from locally sourced materials such as glass, aluminum sheets, bamboo, and some other recycled or upcycled materials.
- Live Edges by MADE
“Live edges” are the outer rim of trees. Lighter in colour and density and hence undesirbale, this part is often chopped off from the wood logs used to make furniture. However, they still have the potential to be made into furniture like tables, chairs and cabinets. Also, due to their relatively soft nature, they can be bent after heating and turned into beautiful decorations. At deTour 2023 design festival, MADE team will demonstrate furniture made from live edges and the how-to. At the same time, the team has brought to the room with “birds” made from the same material, allowing visitors to walk into a flock of wooden birds hanging from the ceiling and be surrounded by the natural aroma of wood onsite to experience the characteristics of live edges.
- Soy Source by New Beans
Soy sauce making is a traditional craft in Hong Kong and the workshops are often located in the rural part of the town. However, more and more historic soy sauce manufacturers have been relocated. How to help the factories find suitable new locations and continue this “Made in Hong Kong” craft is a major topic for architecture graduates Choy Ho Wang, Lo Ching and Ho Hou Yin. By visiting soy sauce masters to learn the fermentation process, steps, tools and specific time required for the manufacturing process, they implemented design thinking and technologies to simplify the operation, and in turn to research whether it is viable to continue this craft inside industrial buildings. At deTour 2023 design festival, Soy Source attempts to look for a place where this local craft has a chance to thrive.
- CTRL + C / CTRL + V by Nice Geeks
Toys are essential in our upbringing. In the past, the toy industry would mass produce toys with moulds; and as time goes on, the toy manufacturing process and technique have been different. Nice Geeks, a group of independent toy creators in Hong Kong, will bring to deTour 2023 design festival their CTRL + C / CTRL + V installation combining the old way of toy production with AR technology for visitors to interact with the giant toy, so as to invent a new way to “play”. This is to encourage designers to merge modern technologies and traditional crafts in order to create new values for toys and to kick off a new trend.
- RE: move on by PLAYBACK CONCEPT
Old gold jewelleries carry the owners’ emotions, memories and ups and downs. However, when the owners passed away, how should their gold jewelleries be handled? Starting from 2014, PLAYBACK CONCEPT has incorporated various new technologies into traditional craftsmanship of gold, silver, copper and tin and turned them into new jewellery pieces, metalware and installations. RE: move on project was an emotional result of how the designer dealt with own emotion upon the passing away of a family member and by remaking a metal ring left by that member, the ring is given a second life while turning the memories into another form.
- Plant Matter by Studio RYTE
Starting five years ago, Studio RYTE has been focusing on environmental and functional improvements to tackle the climate crisis. Since 2017, the team has been researching and attempting to crate stools with biodegradable flax fibre, and during the process, they have challenged the limitations in design in terms of weight, structure, assembly and end-of-life considerations. In the installation of Plant Matter, Studio RYTE will showcase its results with furniture created with biodegradable materials. Visitors can also touch and feel local plants such as silvergrass, screw pine and banyan trees in order to learn more about these local materials. By using biodegradable materials in furniture making, Studio RYTE hopes to incorporate these local plants in sustainable designs in Hong Kong.
- Steel Fold by Su Chang Design Research Office
Galvanised steel is the main theme for Steel Fold, which was uber-popular back in the old days in Hong Kong due to its low cost and long-lasting feature, with many water buckets and mailboxes made of it. With the development of plastic, products made of galvanised steel were gradually replaced, resulting in the loss of the craft. With galvanised steel’s malleability, wastage could now be reduced in cutting, folding and welding techniques. Frankie Au, Oscar Wong and Tam Wing Huen will showcase furniture and decoration pieces made from galvanised steel for visitors to rediscover the beauty of products made of galvanised steel so as to continue its craftsmanship.
More than exhibitions: Join the workshops, design dialogues and movie screenings to fully immerse in the future of design
deTour 2023 design festival offers a lot more than exhibitions. Apart from feasting the eyes, visitors can join hands-on workshops and are able to get close to local and international designers to learn about their insights directly through talks, as well as to appreciate the documentary Food & Design to get inspired to rethink the relationship between our lives and design. Numerous fascinating activities are open to the public for free registration through the online platform.
Details of two selected workshops:
- Leaves Printing: Dyelicious was the first kitchen trash workshop that was founded in the city. Through teaching and experimenting leaves printing in the workshop, participants are encouraged to pay close attention to their hands and eyes to explore plants and leaves that are commonly found around us. They can also create their works on the floor or on tatami mats to easily link up food with the fun of leaves printing.
- Traditional Herbal Tea and Herbal Postcard Workshop: Crafts are meant to be passed on, and for that, deTour 2023 Design Festival aims to bring visitors workshops that can be enjoyed by parents and children together. One of these workshops is the Traditional Herbal Tea and Herbal Postcard Workshop by kwan.sum.lee. In the workshop, participants will have chances to learn more about traditional Chinese medicine and experience to be Chinese medicine dispensers using traditional measuring tools in old medicine shops. Lastly, participants can design and handmake their own postcards with recycled papers full of herbal scent.
Details of two selected design dialogues:
Take the chance to hear from the two international teams from the Netherlands and Japan invited by PMQ to the deTour 2023 Design Festival.
- Design Dialogue | ‘International Collaboration: Craft by Nature’: Apart from bringing us Craft By Nature installation, BioBased Creations from the Netherlands will conduct in-depth discussion about the current global trends about bringing traditional craftsmanship into the sustainable future, and how can Hong Kong localise the global trends.
- Design Dialogue | Crafting Future of Materials: Apart from bringing TATAMI ReFAB PROJECT exhibition to Hong Kong, Japanese design team HONOKA will share their views on the relationship between materials and design, and in turn the value of them – if great designs can create valuable products from materials, then what are the potentials of natural materials?
Food and Design documentary screening:
Food is everything – it is crucial in our lives, but what does it have to do with design? deTour 2023 design festival presents the screening of Food & Design, a documentary about food and design. Interviewing and recording internationally acclaimed food designers, the film explores the secret of “food aesthetics”. From colour, plating, texture and more, all factors affect our appetite and emotions, for example, food in blue is said to discourage our appetite! Food is more than survival, it is also an art of design.
To register for deTour 2023 workshops and design dialogues, please visit: https://www.popticket.hk/organiser/detour-2023
To learn more about the design dialogues and workshops, please stay tuned to our social media platforms.
For more information on deTour 2023 Design Festival, please visit deTour’s website: http://detour.hk
About deTour 2023 – design festival
Date: 24 November 2023 – 3 December 2023
Opening Hours: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm
Venue: PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong
Admission: Free (some activities require online registration)