Hong Kong's eco design movement

Posted on March 12, 2012 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Many people will be shocked when they read the title of this blog entry, actually, so am I! For those who know Hong Kong well will know that it is far down on the list for being eco-friendly, way behind other Asian cities like Singapore and Taipei. Yet, from what I have been observing, an eco design movement is subtly happening in Hong Kong, which may even be oblivious to the locals! Beyond the glitz and gloss, there is a group of local and expatriate designers who are making a difference and changing the local design scene. Here are just some of them (you can also click on the links in bold to find out more about them):


Milk design

Similar to MUJI's Found project (see my previous entry), Milk design launched 'Repair' in 2010, a collection of furniture made from old/discarded found objects. Like MUJI, designer, Lee Chi-Wing aims to retain the values and essence of the original objects while incorporating them into furniture that will fit into our contemporary lifestyle. The challenge is to find a solution to extend the objects' lifespan and make them useful again. What is interesting about these furniture pieces is that they are not only original, but also practical and will not look out of place in a contemporary home.


Studio Leung

Born and raised in the U.K., product designer Michael Leung is the founder of Studio Leung and HK Honey in 2010. As Hong Kong's first urban beekeeper, Leung acquired his beekeeping knowledge via two local beekeepers. The aim of the project is to communicate the value of bees and benefits of locally produced honey. With the participation of local artists, designers, photographers, bee farms and cafes, the organisation designs and produces honey, candles, and hosts regular beekeeping and candle-making workshops. There are also cool and educational infographics on their website that are worth checking out.

The decline of honeybees in the last 50 years has caused concern over an imbalance in our ecosystem, as they play an essential role in agriculture. It is refreshing to see these designers and artists raising awareness on an issue that is so critical yet so overlooked. esp. in Hong Kong.


So Soap!

Although not founded by a designer, So Soap's minimalist packaging and informative website with cool graphics and photos will certainly leave a positive impression and change the perception of locally produced skincare brands (is there one beside this?). The founder, Bella, a soap-maker and environmentalist, has created a range of organic products free of chemicals, packaged in recycled bottles that can be collected and reused. The company strives to be socially and environmentally responsible, which includes providing work opportunities for females with low education and skills within the community.

Will So Soap! become the Body Shop of Hong Kong? So far, from the positive responses, this may well happen one day...


Handsome Co.

'Made in Kowloon' is the tagline included in Handsome Co.'s logo, which displays the multi-disciplinary design firm's pride in their locally made products. Walking down a familiar Hong Kong street, Billy Potts saw the waste being generated by taxi garages and decided to give it a second life. With the help of Joseph Ng, they launched a new line of bags and accessories made of discarded taxi upholstery, whilst employing local craftsmen and manufacturers. Their concept is similar to the British brand, Elvis & Kresse, which produces bags and accessories out of used fire hoses.

Looking at the bag (see below), you would hardly believe that it is made out of waste from a taxi garage! A job well done!



For many Hong Kong people, the word,'heritage' is more likely to bring confusion than pride. Heritage conservation has been a hot local topic in recent years, causing many debates and conflicts; it seems that years after the handover to China, many are still searching for their identities.

The jewellery company, Patinova, aims to preserve and make people appreciate the unique history of Hong Kong and so they launched a collection of cufflinks made from collectable coins used in the colonial days. Like the other designers mentioned above, their cufflinks are made by local craftsmen, so not only they are bringing historical objects back to life again but they are also protecting skills that are withering away rapidly in the throwaway culture we live in today.


This post was posted in Eco designs, Eco living & sustainability, Hong Kong design, Design and was tagged with eco designs, eco living, Hong Kong design