Sep 07 2020

Homemade Design Prototypes To Tackle Pandemic Issues

by Ariana Heffner

UUENDY LAU‘s metronome Dancing with Nature, 2020, is one of more than 70 entries to Design Trust’s micro-initiative “Design Trust: Critically Homemade." Courtesy the artist and Design Trust.

Following months of Covid-19 induced isolation and social distancing, creative industries have continuously sought out innovative ways to reconnect and combat the virus. Charity and grant funding platform Design Trust, established by the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, announced on September 7 the entries to its micro-initiative, “Design Trust: Critically Homemade,” aimed at inspiring designs to tackle current social and environmental issues brought about by the pandemic. An exhibition of the homemade, functional prototypes submitted by more than 70 Hong Kong and international designers will be on display at the city’s Soho House House Studio from September 21 to October 4.

In the press release, co-founder and executive director Marisa Yiu explained that the program arose from the unprecedented events of Covid-19, further adding that, “While some handicrafts are means of survival, making objects with our hands serves as a creative release . . . many designers have expressed a need to connect, collaborate and create . . . I believe design can enact positive change.”

Designers were asked in late May to respond to the call for designs of objects no larger than 20 by 20 cm, resulting in works ranging from antibacterial door handles to self-care kits. Among the entries, Design Trust seed grantees and Design Trust Futures Studio (DTFS) mentees Florian Wegenast and Christine Lew created Hong Kong Brick (2020), a brick shaped object comprised of the construction waste from shops shut down during Covid-19, focusing on the duality of the current situation and of the possibility of rebuilding in the future. Hong Kong design and art laboratory UUendy Lau designed a metronome, Dancing with Nature (2020), a therapeutic object to highlight an alternative way to reconnect with nature. SO-AP: Rinse and Repeat (2020) by New York-based architecture firm Solid Objectives – Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) created bars of soap from repurposed model molds taken from the studio’s archive.

Design Trust, in collaboration with its patrons and brand ambassadors including Kapok, Chinachem, ZS Hospitality Group, and Cookie Smiles, among others, will determine which objects will be developed into final products following the exhibition, with the objects to also take part in a series of community fundraiser programs in the coming months. All proceeds from the fundraisers will be going towards funding for the ongoing Design Trust seed grant, as well as other community social and design programs.

Ariana Heffner is an editorial intern of ArtAsiaPacific.

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