Jan 04 2013

Detour Art and Design Festival

by Beryl Kwan

The former Police Headquarters in Wan Chai off Gloucester Road, the main venue of Detour 2012.

The just past Detour, Hong Kong’s annual art and design festival, moved from its usual main venue, the Police Married Quarters in Central (demoted to a secondary site), to its most recent location, the former Police Headquarters in Wan Chai, a smaller albeit more structurally sound building than the former. Both are designated heritage sites, built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, respectively, their cultural significance making them an apropo setting for the design fair.

Over three weeks, from November 30 – December 16, 240 artists from Hong Kong, Denmark, Germany, Japan and the United States exhibited new works at these two sites and at satellite venues and public spaces on both Hong Kong Island and Kowloon.

The festival was established in 2006 by the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design to showcase local and international creatives, with an emphasis on cultural exchange and the promotion of emerging designers in Hong Kong. True to its founding doctrine, Detour 2012, under the theme “Design Renegade,” a cool moniker for sustainable urban design, organized residencies for 14 Hong Kong designers and design studios at Copenhagen’s Danish Design Centre in July and commissioned new works by them as the centerpieces of the festival. These were photographer Rraay Lai, artist Micchy Tang, Billy Potts (founder of the design firm HandsomeCo, which recycles taxi upholstery and other discarded materials to create upcycled accessories), design studio Lazehero Visionary Duo, comic artist and illustrator Little Thunder, fashion design studio Yesterdayskin (Eileen Chan and Ka Lun Leung) that modifies vintage pieces in their clothing, artist duo Yuen Yeung (Patricia Choi and Dennis Wong) who also utilize discarded everday objects in their work, Amus Leung, a designer who specializes in leather accessories, designer collective Start From Zero, the Cave, Mutt Museum (Janko Lam and ArKoo), Trilingua Design (Adonian Chan and Chris Tsui) and Anyway (Amus Leung and Gladys Chun Yin).

Below is a slideshow of works by Hong Kong’s “top emerging designers” and other local artists and designers at the former Police Headquarters, who were selected by Detour’s curators—Aidan Li, John Bela and Justine Topfer—in collaboration with the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design.

A participant in a workshop lead by Stickyline poses in front of the collaborate artwork Coast Modules / Polygon Landfilling.
A participant in a workshop lead by Stickyline poses in front of the collaborate artwork Coast Modules / Polygon Landfilling.