Hong Kong Business of Design Week

Asia’s premier annual Business of Design Week (BODW) program of events, tradeshows, awards and conference was held in Hong Kong from December 3 - 8.

After a five-year campaign led by the Design Institute of Australia and Creative Victoria, Melbourne was chosen as the international partner city for 2018 – the first time that Hong Kong has selected a partner from the southern hemisphere.

Photo: Jayne Russell.

Past DIA Victoria President Dominic Russo, DIA Design Ambassador Geoff Fitzpatrick and Past DIA National President Joanne Cys were instrumental in establishing links with the Asian design community and membership of the Hong Kong-based Global Design Network.

The DIA’s Claire Beale FDIA, Jo-Ann Kellock FDIA (Hon), Caroline Caneva FDIA (Hon) and Scott Lewis were in attendance to see Victoria’s significant strengths in design come to life under the theme Think·Collaborate·Create, designed by coowhi.

The partnership created exciting opportunities for designers and businesses to reach a global audience and generate new export opportunities. An over 270 strong delegation of Melbourne designers were in attendance, three times what was originally expected. This was due to a strong engagement drive across design industry associations including the Design Institute of Australia, Australian Fashion Council, Australian Graphic Design Association, Australian Institute of Architects and Indigenous Architect and Design Victoria plus the Creative Victoria travel grants.

“Business of Design Week provided a fantastic opportunity for designers to demonstrate our strong design capabilities internationally,” says Jo-Ann Kellock, DIA CEO and co-chair of the BODW management committee.

Melbourne design on show. Photo: Jayne Russell.

“I was delighted to see such an excellent level of engagement between the Hong-Kongese and Melbournians, matched only by discussions between the Melbourne delegation itself. This unprecedented opportunity for designers couldn’t have happened without the backing from Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister Martin Foley and the Creative Victoria team.” says Jo-Ann.

Andrew Abbott, Tim Dillon, Mr Anthony Howard QC, The Honourable Linda Dessau AC, Martin Foley MP, Phip Murray and Ewan McEoin Photo: Jayne Russell.

Carole Whiting MDIA, Ian Wong FDIA, Jo Pritchard and Gillianne Griffiths Photo: Jayne Russell.

Designed by DesignOffice and built by Diadem, the Melbourne Pavilion featured over 90 Victorian designers and the work of researchers and students from five Victorian universities.

NGV’s Ewan McEoin and Phip Murray curated an excellent representation of Victoria’s design with the theme ‘Shared Values’. The exhibition demonstrated to the world how design shapes everyday life in Melbourne including work from the fields of fashion, architecture, technology, ceramics, interior design, graphic design and industrial design.

The Governor of Victoria, the honourable Linda Dessau AC officially opened the Pavilion. Photo: Jayne Russell.

This year, the BODW conference and Design Inspire speaker programs featured 70 from more than 15 countries. One third of the speakers hailed from Melbourne including DIA members Claire Beale FDIA, Fiona Lynch MDIA, David Flack MDIA, Professor Laurene Vaughan and Dr Leah Heiss.

Black Pack: Gordan Tait, Susie Tate, Mark Robinson, Carole Whiting, Neil Hugh Jenna, David Flack, Vanessa Bird, Jo Kellock and Claire Beale. Photo: Caroline Caneva.

Melbourne’s involvement in the BODW City program extended across the island with DeTour at PMQ (Police Married Quarters) Central, where Australian Fashion Council presented their Curated PopUp store featuring seven emerging fashion designers. A new venue this year at Mallory Street featured the Melbourne Fashion Showcase, a presentation of four fashion showcases featuring around 90 local fashion designers, as well as student work from RMIT and Kangan. WE ARE LUXURY, curated by creative stylist Virginia Dowzer and Recognition, a First Peoples’ exhibition and film, curated by stylist Philip Boon drew strong crowds and high praise from locals and visitors alike.

Malloy Street Fashion Showcase. Photo: Jayne Russell.

DIA President Claire Beale's highlights of the event included a site tour to The Mills - a landmark revitalisation project consisting of a business incubator, experiential retail and a non-profit cultural institution. “In Hong Kong, it is extremely rare to find this scale of industrial real estate remaining, and its transformation by Nan Fung Group into an innovative space to reconnect with textiles and industry is a fantastic way to foster emerging talent and pay homage to the unique and rich local history of manufacturing”.

Site tour to The Mills. Photo: Caroline Caneva.

Such a successful partnership between industry, government and education in Victoria provides a strong case study to develop similar project in other regions across Australia. The DIA team are reflecting on where next, in order to keep championing Australian Design and Designers to a global audience.

Paul Charlwood FDIA, Charlwood Design with daughter Tamara. Photo: Caroline Caneva.