The Business of Design Week (BODW), Asia’s leading annual design event, returns 30 November to 3 December, 2016, to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre for another informative year. The conference gathers pioneering designers and creative executives from across the world and different disciplines to share their insights and stories, and to explore new ideas and trends in design, business, technology and branding.
2016 Partner City – Chicago
With an illustrious reputation as the influential centre of American architecture, the ‘Windy City’ in Illinois has long been associated with landmark buildings. As BODW’s 2016 partner city, its ‘ChicagoMade’ slogan will be a theme at this year’s forum. Numerous Chicago architecture and creative experts will offer their insights on design and architectural topics from urban renewal to public space use.
A prime example is the Chicago Riverwalk, a contemporary urban planning project on public land started in 2001 and completed this year. Its new waterfront has redefined the downtown core integrating a scenic new pedestrian walk with its historic neo-classical skyscrapers. Carol Ross Barney, Founder of Ross Barney Architects, the head design firm for The Chicago Riverwalk, will speak on the topic on the first day plenary this year. She will share her architectural insights and experiences on sustainability issues and working on public space. In the same plenary, Carlo Ratti, a Director at MIT’s Senseable City Lab and Founder of carlorattiassociati, will discuss his interactive vision of architecture that senses and responds.
Plenary II (Design Thinking II) will feature the unique creative vision of industrial designer Tim Brown, CEO and President of IDEO, as well as Dutch landscape architect Winy Mass, founder of MVRDV; and French botanical artist Patrick Blanc.
Online Business Trends
This year's Brand Asia Forum theme is ‘Brand & Innovation’ and Tencent’s Corporate Vice President Julian Ma will be the keynote speaker imparting his thoughts on growth trends and strategies of Tencent’s map, vehicle connectivity and autonomous driving business.
Two retail experts from prominent brands will enlighten with their expertise. Rowan Lodge, Head of Retail Design and Development at Aesop, and Miguel Fluxa Orti, CEO of Spanish shoemaker Camper, will lead the discussion with their branding genius and experience.
In addition, Raaja Nemani, Co-founder and CEO of Bucketfeet, the Chicago label specialising in artist-designed casual footwear, will elaborate on his effort in turning art and creative design into economics.
Local artist going global
Hong Kong illustrator Victo Ngai, who will appear in the Communication & Design session, produces works of vivid colours with fantastic imagery. She will detail her inspiring story from dreaming in Hong Kong to achieving success in the United States. Plus, Wesley Grubbs, Founder and Creative Director of San Francisco’s Pitch Interactive, will detail his data visualisation work in infographics.
The Product & Design session features Scott Wilson, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Chicago-based MINIMAL, a design firm known for its innovative product design. He will share his expertise in product development and technology integration. Joining him is Nicol Boyd, who will explain the importance of simple and practical design and why he moved from London to Hong Kong to launch Office For Product Design.
3D printing for product design
Those curious about the potential of 3D printing should check out the Tech & Design session. Speaking is Netherlands’s Gijs van der Velden, Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of groundbreaking robotic 3D print tech firm MX3D, who has used 3D printing technology to create bicycles and bridges.
For the new Workspace & Design session, South Korea’s Younjin Jeong will elaborate on Urbantainer, the famous Seoul shopping mall created entirely from shipping containers.
A ‘Food & Design’ new entrée
Food-lovers can whet their appetite for the new session titled Food & Design, featuring Martin Kastner who is on the Future Laboratory's list of the 100 most influential individuals in contemporary design. His company Crucial Detail collaborates with Chicago’s top chefs to create innovative tools and utensils.
Other inspiring guests include internationally acclaimed American artist Janet Echelman, who incorporates wind, water and light to create multi-media public environment art. In the Culture & City session, she will talk about her experience combining art and technology.
In the second Culture & City panel, architect Minsuk Cho, Founder of Seoul studio Mass Studies, and Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, the Helen Hilton Raiser curator and head of the Department of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, will explore the interaction between architecture, design, culture and cities.
Apart from the four-day BODW conference, this year's schedule will include deTour’s series of exhibitions, workshops and programmes for the general public, and the annual DFA awards dinner organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre to promote and recognise outstanding industry professionals. The diverse range of events brings the design world’s best to Hong Kong, allowing creative and professional experts to network and exchange ideas, while encouraging artists and businesses to unleash the power of design. It is also a chance for Hong Kong to showcase its dynamic design and innovation appeal.