director and coordinator of Design Made in Hong Kong project & Director of ICI Hong Kong
ICI Hong Kong
The Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong (ICI), currently directed by Mr. Stefano Fossati, has been active since 2011 as the official Italian governmental body dedicated to the promotion of Italian language and culture in Hong Kong and Macao through the organization of cultural events. Together with the Italian Cultural Institutes in Beijing and Shanghai, it is one of the three cultural agencies of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in China.
Central to ICI’s mission is a constant effort to encourage the understanding and enjoyment of Italian culture by organizing events that focus on Italian music, dance, cinema, theatre, architecture, literature, design and philosophy, in collaboration with the most prominent local academic and cultural institutions. ICI also encourages the development of academic exchanges, the support of visual arts exhibitions and the promotion of Italian studies.
NMG / 5Vie Network
5Vie is a glocal cultural network based in Milan which puts together different resources and entities that are dedicated to the activation and growth of a community on a social and cultural level. The objective is the promotion of creativity in all its facets, from the research for sustainable development to the consolidation of traditions and knowhow. Located in Milan's oldest and most historic district, 5Vie has the goal to involve citizens, creative hubs, public administration and companies on all levels. In the current period of transition and facing the new scenarios that characterize it, 5Vie addresses new ways of public and private partnership.
5Vie wants to create an authentic and avant-garde platform that respects the territorial identity of Milan as a crossroad of different culture, while promoting the city as a meetingpoint for creative industries (art, design, fashion, crafts, food culture, etc.). In this way 5Vie intends to obtain a global valorization through a national and transnational network. Via 5Vie Art+Design - the seventh edition of a project created for Milan Design Week - 5Vie is internationally recognized as a centre of research and avant-garde design, an operation that has contributed to unite plurality of thought and heterogeneity from all over the world. 5Vie: an Italian hub, both physical and digital, created to promote tradition, culture and innovation.
Mr.Lawrence is a Milan-based contemporary design agency and consultancy. Founded in 2018 by Annalisa Rosso, design writer and curator, formerly editor-in-chief of Icon Design magazine and Domus website, and Francesco Mainardi, brand strategist and creative director, teacher of Design Strategy at Istituto Marangoni Design Management master. Mr.Lawrence works with public and private international clients with the aim of bridging the gap between collectible and industrial design markets. Among the recent curated and produced projects:
DESIGN LOVES MILANO charity auction for Ospedale Sacco with Cambi auction house and Camron Camron PR (2020); NEST, Pop-Up Bar and Lounge by Chiara Andreatti for Four Seasons Hotel Milano (2020); GLASS UTOPIA for Canberra Design Festival 2019 supported by Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre, Ausglass, Design Tasmania, and the Embassy of Italy in Canberra, also part of The Venice Glass Week 2020 and the upcoming Milano Design Week 2021. Mr.Lawrence collaborates with several design professionals from all around the world - among them: set designers, photographers, videomakers, web agencies, 3D artists, writers and others - gathering a specific team for each tailor-made project.
Design made in Hong Kong 2020-2021
I am very proud to announce the launch of Design Made in Hong Kong 2020-2021, a project created by the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong, in collaboration with Milan based 5Vie Network platform and curated by the design and consultancy agency Mr. Lawrence.
Italy is renowned for its art and creativity over centuries of history. A leading country in technology and innovation, it retains a quite distinctive touch of craftsmanship and elegance in the design and manufacture of products.
Dare I say Italy is the playground, the breeding ground and the place of inspiration for the designers of the world?
Objects of design will always amaze us because they have a new unexpected thrilling element. The ability to invent - to make a difference with respect to the conventional route and therefore break a consolidated convention - is typical of creative thinking, of thinking that makes great leaps, often in a direction vertical to common thoughts, in order to devise new, fertile paths.
Every year, the whole design world gathers in Milan during the Milan Design Week to share their views on new paths in the design business.
Thanks to “Design made in Hong Kong”, we are now building a bridge between Italian designers, the Milan creative ecosystem and Hong Kong leading design institutions to promote creativity and develop innovative solutions together.
Clemente Contestabile, Consul General of Italy in Hong Kong
Creating a platform for a new generation of designers and initiating a bilateral exchange between Milan and Hong Kong: these are the objectives which are the base of Design Made in Hong Kong 2020-2021. This extensive program of physical and digital events kickstarted in October 2020 and it will result in a final presentation on the occasion of Milan Design Week 2021.
On the initiative of Stefano Fossati, Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong, and in collaboration with 5VIE - Associazione NMG, the program is curated by Annalisa Rosso and Mr.Lawrence studio. It does not only have the intention to export the concept of Made in Italy to Hong Kong, but also to follow up on the development of a new generation of Chinese designers who, in one of the most innovative and changing global contexts, easily combine traditional techniques and knowledge with contemporary working methods.
The arrival of the pandemic has changed our relationship with the public space, being increasingly transformed into a digital dimension. Universities, museums, theatres and various cultural institutions were forced to radically rethink their activities. Blended learning is anything but a temporary phenomenon: combining contemporary technological tools with traditional methods of education and exhibiting is an issue that the whole world (not only the design world) is facing. In these complex times, it has become clear to everyone that remote connections are not only possible but also desirable. We have experienced how easy it is to bring people together from far away and create stable connections. In this historical phase of uncertainty, the most daring are able to grasp the seeds of new ways of thinking about culture and design.
With a complex system of physical and virtual tools, Design Made in Hong Kong 2020-2021connects three emerging Italian designers (Federica Biasi, Federico Peri and Sara Ricciardi) with three educational institutions (Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Design Institute, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University - School of Design). In addition, the students' projects are developed together with partners of excellence: the Milanese gallery Post Design and the Chinese companies Bamboo International (Group) Co. Ltd., TCL Multimedia Technology Holding Ltd. and The Hong Kong Furniture and Decoration Association.
The Hong Kong Design Institute explores new perspectives on domesticity with the project Home - Family Connection Through Design. The current pandemic crisis forces us to address some crucial questions. How do we stimulate human relationships in high-density housing contexts? How does the culture of living change in a contemporary era marked by the disruptive innovation of new technologies? Multidisciplinary working groups - representing the topics of product, interior, and communication - were created to face the complexity of this issue. Federico Peri is the Italian designer who was selected for this dialogue with the Chinese students. Thanks to his approach, which combines tradition and innovation, and his numerous collaborations with the best Made in Italy brands, Peri is able to look at the academic proposals with a critical and palpable eye, while augmenting the experimental potential of the young designers.
Material Life Matters is the title of the survey conducted by Baptist University students. Their project is based on fundamental questions. How to live fully and joyfully in these times? Which materials are really important? "Form follows message" is the motto of Sara Ricciardi, who was selected to guide the young designers because of her multidisciplinary and narrative approach. The Italian designer brings together technique and magic, tradition and contemporaneity. Through the design of ceramic handicrafts, the three working groups at Baptist University reinterpret the rituals of everyday life, producing emotional artefacts and new imagery while encouraging new interactions between body and environment. In this way, the students challenge the concept of “good design” and stress the boundaries between functional and dysfunctional, useful and useless, right and wrong, necessary and secondary.
Superstack is the project of PolyU Design that investigates the quality of life and everyday interactions in a post-pandemic scenario. The students use multifunctional furnishings to interpret the contemporary condition of the home, where activities are increasingly diversified and stratified. From children's online education to physical exercising, from new hygienic requirements to teleworking, the new domestic functions overlap as never before. Federica Biasi, a designer who connects different skills to look at design with a certain complexity and from different points of view, was selected to confront the PolyU Design students. She obtained her design experience working with major Italian companies and this makes her the right partner to investigate the new needs of domestic spaces, with flexible and changing furniture or architectural designs.
These different educational programs have been developed independently and in parallel, but several occasions for meeting and confrontation have been created throughout the year between the different actors involved. The first appointment for the representatives of the three schools was made during the Business Of Design Week in Hong Kong, a digital event where the platform www.designmadeinhongkong.com was launched. This website unites all project developments and it presents an archive with works by Biasi, Peri and Ricciardi in combination with a selection of the most iconic Italian design projects. To celebrate the Italian Design Day 2020 in Hong Kong, a round table discussion was organised during which all the players involved - institutions, schools, partners, curators, and designers - discussed the many concepts and prospects of the project.
Another milestone will be the first exhibition organised in Hong Kong in March 2021. On this occasion we will see the different projects in a physical dialogue with each other, while the Italian designers will enjoy their well-deserved exposure in the East. The bridge between Milan and Hong Kong will be completed in September 2021. The final goal of this long and articulated process is to physically exhibit the students' works during Milan Design Week, in the spaces of SIAM 1838 in the 5Vie Art+Design district and at the Post Design gallery. The result of the initiative is a symbiotic and innovative exchange between two contexts and realities apparently very distant from each other, but "brought closer" by the unprecedented condition that the pandemic has imposed worldwide. The program also states that design must be thought of with a glocal perspective: it can be a tool for telling local traditions and stories, but it is also an agent of connection between distant and different realities.
The project is developed by Mr. Lawrence studio, a contemporary design consultancy based in Milan, founded by Annalisa Rosso, journalist and curator, and Francesco Mainardi, brand strategist, creative director and professor of Design Management at the Istituto Marangoni, in collaboration with 5VIE.
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