Following the sights

Following the sights

Design students learn some new tricks during a trip to the mainland


Some of the design students who attended the camp.
Some of the design students who attended the camp.
Photos: Kevin Kung/SCMP
A designer's appetite for new inspiration never stops, so when 120 university and design institute students from 11 countries and regions were each offered a chance to attend the second World Design Summer Camp in Hong Kong, they jumped at it.

Besides attending workshops here, they also took a three-day trip to the mainland, touring artistic locations in Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Among the stops were the Guangzhou Opera House, Overseas Chinese Town, the He Xiangying Art Museum, as well as the factory and gallery of Artron Colour Printing in Shenzhen.

Although most of the Hong Kong students had visited the two Guangdong cities many times, they were still excited by the trip. Gabriel Lam Ka-yau, a 22-year-old graduate of environment and interior design at Polytechnic University, says he found a new direction for his career path.

"I saw many opportunities," he said. "In Hong Kong, the government and companies tend to use top designers. But in Shenzhen, there are projects of different scales. They need designs from different designers and they give chances to up-and-coming designers. I may find a career on the mainland when I am no longer an apprentice."

Lin Kong-kit, who studies advertising design at PolyU, found a cultural gap between Hong Kong and Shenzhen, although the two cities are separated only by a river.

"Hong Kong ads tend to be are more visual. We have more graphics in them," he says. "On the trip, I came across many mainland designers' works. I saw they used more words to express their ideas in advertisements."

Foreign designers also learned new ideas. Gunjan Pathak, a 21-year-old student of fashion, lifestyle and accessories at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Chennai, India, says the concepts of town planning in Hong Kong and Shenzhen are different from those in her homeland.

"I was particularly surprised by the designs behind the facilities in Hong Kong and Shenzhen," she says. "I saw paths and road-crossing facilities for blind people in these cities, as well as other set-ups that help disabled people have smooth access to different places. These are not common in my country." She hopes to include similar aids in her future work, Pathak says.

Another participant, Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte - a 22-year-old Frenchman who is doing a master's degree at La Cambre in Brussels, Belgium - says he found during the trip that product usage can vary from place to place.

Lin Kong-kit and Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte, from France, said the camp was meaningful.

"This is my first time in Asia," he says. "I saw many products that we never come across in Europe; for example, UV-proof umbrellas for people to shelter from sunlight. In Europe, normally we only use umbrellas when it's raining."

He said what he had seen in Hong Kong and on the mainland gave him inspiration for creating new products for the European market.

The camp, which ran from June 27 to July 11, was organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre with help and sponsorship from PolyU and the Hong Kong Design Institute.

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