27 June 2012
Designers at Work
Pure Creative designed Dior’s biggest store in Taipei
Hong Kong is enjoying something of a creative renaissance. London’s White Cube and New York’s Gagosian are among the international galleries that have recently opened in the city, while Le French May this year raised the ante by exhibiting the largest Picasso exhibition ever seen in Hong Kong. And collectors are investing in paintings by up-and-coming artists and enlisting Hong Kong design consultancies to head up creative projects.
Darryl W Goveas set up
“Most of my designers are local, and they’re definitely my biggest asset,” Mr Goveas said. “I place a lot of focus on training and don’t segregate creativity from other aspects of the business; it’s a more holistic approach to design.”
As a luxury interior designer, Mr Goveas has benefited from the consumer goods explosion on the mainland, which now accounts for more than one-third of his business. “We're moving into such second- and third-tier cities as Shenyang, Dalian and Harbin,” he said.
Danielle Huthart and Louise Wong are behind Creative City, a design-focused map of Hong Kong
Creativity on the Map
Another Hong Kong design success is Creative City, a design-focused map masterminded by graphic design consultancy Whitespace and Lancashire Road, a communications and strategy consultancy. Following its launch last year, a second edition was published in May. The boldly designed, graphically rich map zooms in on six districts that hold the city’s most creative spots, from galleries and architectural gems, to visually striking restaurants and cafés.
This boldly designed, graphically rich map zooms in on six districts featuring some of Hong Kong’s most creative spots
Ms Huthart said she and business partner, Louise Wong, set about devising a Hong Kong map focused on creativity, with help from the local design community. “We had a great response to the first edition, without even any marketing,” she said.
The second edition features four limited-edition map sleeves designed by local illustrators and, as with the inaugural map, features contributions from the Savannah College of Art and Design, design collective Graphic Airlines and fashion label Daydream Nation. “It’s about getting people who are living and working in that area to identify the most creative spots,” she said. The map also includes a spread on the best coffee shops to sharpen creativity.
Textile designer Leanne Claxton serves international brand clients from her base in Hong Kong
Art Meets Fashion
Independent creatives are also reaping the rewards, including Briton Leanne Claxton, whose bold prints were featured on a suit for Canto-pop star Eason Chan. A textile graduate of London’s Central Saint Martin’s, Ms Claxton landed a job at Christian Lacroix in Paris on graduation. She then moved to Hong Kong to design for British fashion brand Next and Hong Kong fashion chain Esprit.
Hong Kong artist
After a second spell in Paris for Lacroix, Ms Claxton returned to Hong Kong. “I missed going to the factories, being in the thick of things. I’ve learned so much working in Hong Kong,” she said, adding, “It seems like there’s a real underground scene beginning to take off here like you’d find in London. It’s not just about Chinese contemporary artists like Yue Minjun any more.”
Sculptor Jaffa Lam, whose large-scale work incorporates such recycled material as crate wood, old furniture and fabric, is also finding success in Hong Kong. Her latest project, “Micro Economy,” features a parachute made from recycled umbrella fabric, and has been exhibited in Hamburg, Melbourne and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong.
Doveen Schecter, founder, Dove of the East
Dove of the East produces scrapbook items, including intricately patterned paper and boxes with Shanghainese, Russian and Parisian themes
Ms Schecter believes that scrapbooks can be a sentimental journey. She recalls the emotional response to her display by a visitor at the local art exhibition Detour last year. “He’d lost a close friend that he’d travelled with 20 years ago, and the exhibition reminded him to make a scrapbook for the friend’s brother.”
While her largest market is the United States, Ms Schechter is hopeful that her business can take off on the mainland. “The children of the Cultural Revolution didn’t receive any photos from their families, so scrapbooking is an opportunity for them to create their own memories.”