Having trouble finding a souvenir that represents Hong Kong? You are not alone. Although there is a growing range of goods being produced locally, finding them is surprisingly difficult since the places that sell them are scattered across the city.
An exhibition organised by Gallery 27 and design company MIRO will solve your problem, although only temporarily. Running from October 22 to 23, “Hong Kong Department Store” will showcase a wide range of products created by emerging Hong Kong designers (despite its title, the exhibition, held in a factory building in Quarry Bay, is actually more of a pop-up store).
We have a soft spot for some of them, and they aren’t just beautifully made but also capture a piece of the city’s history.
The laptop sleeves made by Kevin Cheung Wai-chun caught our eye immediately, as they look chic and functional. We loved them even more when we found out that they are upcycled products, made with felt carpet thrown out by the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Another creative design by Cheung is the rice bell, a bicycle bell made with the interior of a rice cooker. Each one has a unique pitch and pattern, formed by the scratches and burn marks made during cooking.
The founder of Little Jadeite, Eddy Tam, learned the art of jade carving from his craftsman father. Noticing the declining popularity of old-fashioned jade accessories, especially among younger generations, the young product designer combines stoneware and metalwork to create contemporary rings, necklaces and earrings.
Zoe Siu, who studied fashion design, makes intricate patterns with ropes of various thickness and colours to form wall decorations, chokers and necklaces. She uses a ropework technique called macramé, where ropes are knotted together as opposed to knitting or weaving.
Siu buys all her supplies in Sham Shui Po, a heaven for handicrafters in search of cheap, good-quality materials. Unfortunately, though there were dozens of rope stores in the area five years ago when Siu first started her business; they have since dwindled to just a handful.
“There are creative talents in Hong Kong, but there is a lack of platforms for them to showcase their products,” says Michael Leung, founder of design company MIRO and a curator of the event, who hopes that Hong Kong Department Store can continue to run in other places or even other cities. It includes DIY workshops teaching how to make tie-dye garments, ceramic moon bowls, thumb pianos or paper lamps (those interested will need to register in advance).
If you have a few cents to spare, you can always head to the outdoor terrace in the evening to enjoy some live music.
Hong Kong Department Store, Space 27, 10/F, Block A/B Tung Chong Factory Building, 653-659 King’s Road Quarry Bay, 22-23 Oct
Inquiries/workshop registration: www.facebook.com/events/264510313947516/