BODW 2014 presents design seminar led by renowned Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa and creative dire
Last Thursday, the trio of design experts teamed up to discuss the user-centric philosophy behind their products. Held at the polished Eslite bookstore in Causeway Bay, the turn-out was much bigger than expected: after forty-something seats were taken, a crowd of design nerds crammed themselves next to bookshelves while enthusiastic Fukasawa fans were spotted asking for his autograph. The hour-long seminar, a lead-up event to this year's Business of Design Week, focused on functional simplicity: the concept behind the designers' minimalist, user-friendly approach to product design.
Fukasawa, the creative mind behind best selling appliances such as MUJI's wall-mounted CD player, discussed how he "designs with the human life in mind." He says that the success behind his products stems from the ease of use associated with his designs. As part of a project for MUJI, Fukasawa modified a traditional rice cooker by adding a clip for the rice paddle on top of the lid. Hungry diners could balance their bowl on one hand and use the other hand to un-clip, scoop, and re-clip the ladle. Like many of his products, the function and style of the appliance appealed to the fuss-free modern lifestyle of many consumers.
Chow and Tang, two of the creative directors from local furniture brand Outofstock, also took to the stage and explained the inspiration behind their low key, user-centric decor pieces. Designed with the busy, working-class Hong Kong lifestyle in mind, they teamed up with a few other like-minded designers to form their furniture company. Headquartered in the New Territories, their second outpost is in the renovated police dormitories now known as creative hub PMQ.
Since most locals live in small apartments, Chow and Tang say they wanted to create pieces that were multi-functional to solve teeny-apartment riddles—where to put your bowl of ramen, where to place your drink, where to type that report? Part of their latest collection, the Pikku Desk is a table complete with sliding drawers suitable for at-home work hours, with an extendable section meant for plates, cutlery and drinks. After all, an expandable desk means a comfier workspace and reduces chances of spilling coffee on pricey laptops. Chow says the furniture is inspired by traditional Scandinavian aesthetics, but the core of their creative vision is to continuously improve the possibilities of a small living space. The pair of designers offer a refreshing take on local craftsmanship, and hope to grow their operation into a global brand.
This event is part of a series of monthly seminars leading up to Business of Design Week 2014—and if learning about ultra-cool, modern Scandinavian design sounds appealing, this year's conference will surely surpass expectations. Check out why so many Swedish imports are coming to speak at December's BODW by clicking here.