Infamously self-taught, Tom Dixon (OBE) is an internationally renowned British Designer, Creative Director of eponymous brand Tom Dixon (est. 2002). His works are included in permanent collections of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the V&A and the MoMA. Tom Dixon has built his universe through intensely diverse experiences, from music, contemporary lighting, furniture and accessories to high profile projects including Mondrian Sea Containers (London), Alto (Hong Kong), Himitsu (Atlanta), Le Drugstore (Paris), Bronte (London) and a brand-new HQ in London called The Coal Office.
A curator and critic based in Beijing for over 17 years, in 2019 Beatrice became the executive director of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (maat), Lisbon. She is the former creative director of Beijing Design Week (2013-2016) and chief curator of the ongoing research program Across Chinese Cities featured at the Venice Architecture Biennale at the 2014, 2016 and 2018 editions. She is co-founder of B/Side Design which has spearheaded the establishment of The Global School, the first independent institute for design and creative research in the PRC. Her writings and projects have appeared in publications such as Artforum, Abitare, CNN Style, Domus, Dezeen, Disegno, Frieze, T Magazine (The NYTimes), The Good Life, among many others.
David Gianotten is the Managing Partner-Architect of OMA. As such, he is responsible for the overall organizational & financial management, business strategy, and growth of the company worldwide.
As Partner-in-Charge, David currently oversees the design and construction of various projects, including the Taipei Performing Arts Centre in Taipei, the Prince Plaza Building in Shenzhen, the newly completed KataOMA resort in Bali, the New Museum for Western Australia in Perth, the masterplan of Feyenoord City - including the architectural design of new Stadium Feijenoord for 63.000 spectators - in Rotterdam, and the Bajes Kwartier - a conversion of a large 1960’s prison into a new neighborhood with 1.350 apartments- in Amsterdam.
David has, amongst others, been responsible for the design and realization of the MPavilion 2017 in Melbourne and of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange headquarters in Shenzhen. He has also been responsible for the end stages of the realization of the CCTV headquarters in Beijing and OMA's conceptual masterplan for the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong.
David joined OMA in 2008, launched OMA's Hong Kong office in 2009, and became partner in 2010. He became OMA’s Managing Partner – Architect in 2015 upon his return to The Netherlands from Asia. Before joining OMA, he was Principal Architect at SeARCH in the Netherlands.
David studied Architecture and Architectural Engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology where he received his Master-degree with honors. He is currently a professor at this same University at the Architectural Urban Design and Engineering department.
Lars Nittve is an art historian, curator and writer. For almost thirty years he was the director of a number of major museums around the world, including but not limited to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark; Tate Modern, United Kingdom; Moderna Museet, Sweden and most recently M+, Hong Kong. Since the spring of 2016 he has, with his company Nittve Information Ltd, been an independent writer and advisor to museums and foundations worldwide based in the mountain resort Åre in northern Sweden.
Franch is an architect. In 2004 she founded her solo practice while building in Catalonia. Since 2010, Franch is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture. Franch has taught at Columbia University, the IUAV University of Venice, SUNY Buffalo and at Rice University. At Storefront, her most recent projects include the launch of the global platform WorldWide Storefront and a new publication series in partnership with Lars Müller, In 2014, the State Department selected Storefront and Franch jointly with a curatorial and design team to represent the U.S. at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale with the project OfficeUS. She lectures internationally on art, architecture and the importance of alternative practices in the construction and understanding of public life.
Mr. LIU Xiaodu is a founding partner of URBANUS. He co-founded Urbanus with his partners MENG Yan and WANG Hui in 1999, now Urbanus has become one of the most influential architectural design firms in China. Urbanus developed its branches in Beijing, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Many works have become new landmarks of urban life. The projects have received numerous prominent awards, exhibited and published worldwide. The partners are invited to lecture at influential academic institutions and as a juror for international competitions. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from Tsinghua University and Master of Architecture degree from Miami University.
Founding Partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office.
NHDRO is an inter-disciplinary international architectural design practice based in Shanghai, China. In 2014, Wallpaper* announced Neri&Hu as 2014 Designer of The Year. In 2013, Mr. Neri was inducted into the U.S. Interior Design Hall of Fame with partner Rossana Hu. The practice was selected as the 2011 INSIDE Festival Overall Winner, won AR Awards for Emerging Architecture 2010 by Architectural Review (UK) and one of the Design Vanguards in 2009 by Architectural Record (US). In 2006, Mr. Neri was selected by I.D. Magazine as one of the 40 designers globally who deserve more attention in “I.D. 40”. Mr. Neri received his Master of Architecture at Harvard University and his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of California at Berkeley. Mr. Neri is also designing products for brands including MOOOI, LEMA, Parachilna, Classicon, Gandia Blasco, Stellar Works, Meritalia, BD Barcelona Design, and neri&hu.
Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. A curator and author, her projects focus on exploring the impact of architecture and design on society. Her recent exhibitions include, In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019) and Past Forward: Architecture and Design at the Art Institute, a major installation of the modern and contemporary architecture and design collections (2017–ongoing). In 2017, she published As Seen: Exhibitions that Made Architecture and Design History, the first volume to explore in depth the important role that exhibitions have played in the history of these fields of practice.
Her past exhibitions include: Making Place: The Architecture of David Adjaye (2015), Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, and Sandra Backlund (2012), and Bertrand Goldberg: Architecture of Invention (2011). In 2014, she was the curator of the second Istanbul Design Biennial, The Future Is Not What It Used To Be. Ryan has taught graduate seminars on design history and theory at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the Design Trust International Advisory Council, Hong Kong.
Thomas Heatherwick is a British designer whose prolific and varied work over two decades is characterised by its ingenuity, resulting in some of the most acclaimed designs of our time.
Defying the conventional classification of design disciplines, Thomas founded Heatherwick Studio in 1994 to bring the practices of design, architecture and urban planning together in a single workspace. The studio is currently working on approximately 30 projects in ten countries, including 1000 Trees, a 3 million sqft mixed-use development in Shanghai; Google headquarters in Silicon Valley and London (in collaboration with BIG); and a new terminal at Singapore’s Changi Airport (in collaboration with KPF).
Recently completed projects include the public centrepiece for New York’s Hudson Yards; Zeitz MOCAA in Cape Town; and the Coal Drops Yard retail district in London. Thomas has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a Royal Academician and, in 2004, became the youngest Royal Designer for Industry.
Executive Director, Design Miami/
Appointed as Executive Director of Design Miami/ in January 2014, Rodman Primack has spent his career immersed in the world of design and art, and has held leadership positions in every aspect of the market. He was most recently a Senior International Specialist at Phillips de Pury & Company in New York, and Chairman of the auction house’s London office from 2004 to 2010.
Rodman had previously served as a Director of the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, CA; Associate Vice President and Head Specialist of Latin American art for Christie’s, New York and Designer for Peter Marino Architect, New York. He served as the Director of Auctions for the online platform Paddle8 for the past two years, and also ran a successful design consulting practice, RP Miller.
A fifth generation Californian, Rodman resides in Miami and New York City.
Giovanni Alessi Anghini
Giovanni Alessi Anghini
Executive Creative Director and Founder of GAA DESIGN FARM
After conducting his primary studies in Italy and Switzerland; his professional training began at the University of Florence where he focused his attention on courses in cultural sociology and anthropology.
As part of the 4th generation of ALESSI family, in 2002, he returned to Milan with a view to translating and applying his studies to industrial design, collaborating with Stefano Giovannoni and working freelance. Over the following years, he worked with companies such as ALESSI, PHILIPS, VITRA, FOREVERLAMP, OPPO, LENOVO both through experience within the companies themselves, and as an external consultant through his own studio, GAA Design Farm, founded in 2006.
In the following years his work (notably: POP-UP, LUMIERE, FLAME, ABATJOUR) was recognized with the 2008 and 2012 GOOD DESIGN™ AWARD, and was included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Architecture and Design in Chicago, "The Chicago Athenaeum".
Greater Bay Area Design Council
Artistic Director, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Rotterdam
Aric Chen is the newly-appointed General and Artistic Director of Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch national museum and institute of architecture, design, and digital culture in Rotterdam. Previously, Chen was the curatorial director for Design Miami/ and an independent curator and writer based in Shanghai, where he is a professor of practice and director of the Curatorial Lab at the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University. From 2012 to 2019, Chen was the founding lead curator for design and architecture, and later curator-at-large, for M+, a museum for visual culture in Hong Kong's West Kowloon Cultural District. Prior to founding M+, Chen was the first creative director of Beijing Design Week. He has organized dozens of projects and exhibitions internationally, in addition to serving on numerous juries and as a curatorial adviser to the Shenzhen Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial, and the Gwangju Design Biennale. Chen is the author of Brazil Modern (The Monacelli Press, 2016) and has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times, Wallpaper*, Architectural Record, and other publications.
Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong
Cole Roskam is an associate professor of architectural history and theory in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong, where he has taught since 2010. His research examines architecture's role in mediating moments of transnational interaction and exchange between China and other parts of the world. His articles and essays have appeared in AD (Architectural Design), Artforum International, Architectural History, Grey Room, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, among others.
Stephanie Poon is a seasoned cultural strategist with extensive experience in strategic planning, direction and idea generation. Recognised for her strengths in art advisory as well as partnership alignment, she has over a decade of communications experience locally and globally. She has worked with major global museums and institutions, art fairs, luxury brands and corporations on integrated public relations campaigns and digital marketing solutions. She currently teaches Master of Arts in Creative Communications at the University of Hong Kong, and has authored her debut book Modern Art for Kids published by Quarto Group. Stephanie sits on the Advisory Panel of MILL6 CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts & Textile) and serves as a Board Member of Ocean Park Corporation, chairing its Conservation & Education sub-committee.
With a diploma in Graphic Design and Communication from Penninghen School in Paris, Marc Cansier co-founded Marc & Chantal after arriving Hong Kong in 1993. Since then, Marc has established the company’s brand consultancy services and led the team in a range of integrated projects. The company is now a leading cross-disciplinary brand agency in Hong Kong, with a holistic approach to branding, encompassing strategic consulting, brand creation and experience design.
As Creative Director, Marc now focuses on developing the company’s creative direction, brand strategy and place-branding functions. Recently completed projects include the Tai Kwun, Centre for Heritage and Arts, RYSE Hotel (Seoul) and The Hari Hotel (London).
Born in New Zealand and based in Asia for the past 14 yrs, Kate works as a Creative and Cultural Director through her company At Liberty Ltd whose clients vary from NET-A-PORTER & MR PORTER, Massimo De Carlo to Bulthaup and Lane Crawford. Currently based in Hong Kong she travels extensively developing projects in places as varied as Japan and Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to her work with At Liberty Kate runs get.give an online retail store born from her passion for craft, story telling, arts and minimalist living.
Head of Department, Communication Design Director, Centre for Communication Design
Keith Tam is a typographer, information designer, researcher and teacher. He is currently Head of Department of Communication Design and Director of the Centre for Communication Design at the Hong Kong Design Institute; Distinguished Research Fellow at the Type Lab of the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts, Shanghai University. His previous appointments include Associate Professor and Director of the MA Information Design programme at the University of Reading, UK; leader of the Communication Design discipline and founding leader of the Information Design Lab at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Assistant Professor at the Emily Carr University of Art & Design in Vancouver, Canada, amongst others. Keith’s research focuses on typography and information design, particularly in multilingual communication. Wayfinding is another strand of Keith’s work. Three tourist guides under Keith’s direction had won two merit recognitions at the Design for Asia Awards, organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre. In 2016, Keith received a ‘Best Design Educator’ award from the Hong Kong Designers Association. Keith frequently disseminates his research through different channels, and acts as consultant for various organisations such as Microsoft, Monotype, HSBC and Pleco Software.
Founding Partner, ESKYIU
Eric is a designer focused on the relationships between urbanism, architecture, and art. Together with Marisa Yiu he is a partner of ESKYIU, a studio that has been awarded the Architectural League Prize and featured in numerous biennales. Currently an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, Schuldenfrei received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and has taught at Princeton, Columbia, and the Architectural Association. Schuldenfrei served as the Curator of Exhibition, Education, Film, and Media for the 2009 Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale and has presented his work at Harvard University AsiaGSD, Cambridge University, and the V&A Museum.
Executive Director, PMQ (www.pmq.org.hk)
William built his career in the advertising industry in Hong Kong. He joined Hong Kong Design Centre in 2005 and was responsible for their flagship events – Business of Design Week (BODW), Knowledge of Design Week (KODW) and Design for Asia Awards (DFAA 2006-08).
In Aug 2012, while retaining his role as a senior consultant to Hong Kong Design Centre, William joined PMQ – a newly launched creative site for design entrepreneurs. Since its opening in 2014, PMQ has recorded 23 million visitors and quickly became a new destination of our city.
Born and raised in France, Arnault founded kapok in 2006 as an antidote to the perceived blandness of Hong Kong retail scene. kapok focuses on designers and brands whose work reflects his attitude towards quality craftsmanship and creativity in design. kapok has grown to a network of 7 stores in 2 countries : Hong Kong and Singapore.
Arnault has developed an extensive knowledge and understanding of the Asian consumer goods and retail environment since 1996, when he moved to Hong Kong. In 2001, he joined the team in charge of the development of the Lomography brand in Asia as the head of Southeast Asian operations. Arnault was also the co-owner and director of Working Unit Limited founded in 2005, the exclusive distributor for the Moleskine brand in Southeast Asia. He also brought to Hong Kong the first retail stores for Maison Kitsuné and l'Officine Universelle Buly.
Suzy Annetta, founding editor in chief of Design Anthology magazine, is a Melbourne-trained interior designer who worked for a number of award-winning firms before founding her own studio. Design Anthology was launched in early 2014 to a strong following that continues to grow internationally. A quarterly, Design Anthology is published independently and is the only design magazine available across the Asia region to focus on a curated selection of high-end projects in the region or by Asian designers internationally. A European edition of the magazine launched in 2018, followed by an Australian edition in late 2019.
Director, Design Society
Ole Bouman, former Creative Director of the Urbanism/Architecture Bi-City Biennale Shenzhen (2013-14), is now the director of Design Society, Shenzhen. Since mid 1990s Ole Bouman has shown outstanding achievements in writing, curating and teaching. He was the editor-in-chief of Volume. His publications include The Invisible in Architecture (co-author, 1994) and Architecture of Consequence (2009). Meanwhile, Ole Bouman was the director of Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI). He was involved in and curated Manifesta 3 (2000), the architecture Biennales of Shenzhen, São Paulo and Venice, etc. Besides, Ole Bouman taught architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Journey & Words
Winnie is a dot connecter; those dots may be people, places, perspectives, ideas, experiences, resources, or media & cultural messages. Before moving to Berlin in 2015, she had lived in Hong Kong for 22 years working on projects ranging from teen development (case studies for The Women’s Foundation) to promoting Hong Kong’s artists and art scene (through The Peninsula Hotel and Hongkong Land). She has degrees in history (focused on art & architecture), business, and psychology from the U.S., France and Hong Kong. Her main interest revolves around exploring how human experiences and potential are shaped and created by investigating and connecting multiple disciplines such as history, language, economics, arts &culture, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, spirituality etc.
Dr. Tat Lam founded Shanzhai City after dedicating over a decade of working in urban, informal, and village developments throughout China, identifying the need for the creation of a social development agency that addresses both market and policy failures in a rapidly developing country. An insightful expert in China’s developmental issues, Tat directed an urban development think tank in China (URB), consulting private and government entities on large-scale developmental projects,, with clients such as China government entities, urban planning commission in many cities, Vanke Group, Poly Real Estate Development, and grassroot underserved communities in both rural and urban China. Dr. Tat Lam developed anthropological research methods for socio-spatial design during his doctoral degree at The UCL (London) from which was applied towards his consultancy practice in China. As lead research scholar and founder at China Megacities Lab at Columbia University since 2007 and faculty member of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Dr. Tat Lam is intimately involved with international academic resources. Most recently Dr. Lam was executive curator of the Hong Kong Shenzhen Bi-city Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in 2013.
Creative Director of Tomorrow's Heritage and Lines Lab
Clara Brito, Creative Director of Tomorrow's Heritage and Lines Lab, is a Portuguese designer and event curator living in China for over 17 years. She holds a Graduate Degree in Equipment Design (Lisbon Faculty of Fine Arts), further studies in Fashion Design (Milan Polytechnic of Architecture and Design) and holds an MBA (Macau USJ University). She also worked as a visiting professor at USJ University. In 2021, Clara founded the project "Tomorrow's Heritage" to bring people and communities together to create intercultural objects. And in 2014 co-founded MunHub, a platform designed to cross-promote emerging designers from fashion and design. In 2007, co-founded "+853 Cultural Association" and the yearly event "This Is My City". A multicultural festival showcasing local and international talent in Macau, China and internationally. In 2004 Clara co-founded Lines Lab.
Director of Human Architects Limited
Before setting up his own practice Human Architects, Human worked at the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron for more than ten years, where he followed the M+ Museum project from the initial competition and design development in Basel to construction coordination and completion in Hong Kong. Human graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Hong Kong. He was one of the founding editors of the New-York-based journal CLOG. His writing has also appeared in other magazines including San Rocco, MONU, Time+Architecture, Architectural Journal, Art Plus, and Dance Journal/HK.
Media Artist, Co-founder and Artistic Director of Art & Technology studio “Dimension Plus”, founder of composite space “openground”. His works have won several awards at international art festivals, including a world-leading art festival Prix Ars Electronica and the Japan Media Arts Festival, etc. His works are exhibited around the world and collected by museums. Also committed to new media art education, he teaches, consults and as associate professor at various universities & institutions with the aim of promoting digital fabrication in art.
Director of Design Society, Shenzhen, China
Zhao Rong is the Director of Design Society, Shenzhen, China. Since 2012, She has led the creation of the Design Society and facilitated the partnership with the V&A. In her current role she manages the exhibition, learning, and development at Design Society, initiating a series of programs on education and social engagement. She has been working with both China and international artists, designers, and architects, especially interested in looking at how contemporary practices are expanding their definition and generating an active impact on the broader societal realm.
She leads the curation of a series of exhibitions, such as Values of Design, China in the Making, a collaborative project between Design Society and the Victoria and Albert Museum. She is a graduate in art history from Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, receiving master degrees successively from Williams College and University of Chicago in the US.
Lead of Arts & Culture Research, Our Hong Kong Foundation
Helen So leads the Arts Innovation team in policy research and advocacy at Our Hong Kong Foundation, the largest public policy thinktank in Hong Kong. Her team’s policy recommendation proposal on the topic of Arts Tech was Hong Kong’s first-of-the-kind to actively call to action the arts and technology sectors to work together. Helen’s public service includes various advisory roles appointed by the Hong Kong Government: she currently serves as Member of the Advisory Committee on Arts Development, and Member of the Museum Advisory Committee. She is also Director of the Hong Kong Palace Museum Board under the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority. Ms So holds a Master of Studies (MSt) in Musicology & Ethnomusicology at St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford. She is a cellist and continues to perform today.
James “JJ” Acuña
James “JJ” Acuña
Founder and Creative Director, JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio
James “JJ” Acuña is the founder and creative director of the Award-winning JJ Acuna / Bespoke Studio. Based in Hong Kong and Manila, Acuña’s considered and humanistic approach to the practice creates high-quality bespoke interiors and environments for hospitality, restaurants, retail spaces, workspaces, and homes. He designs for people who enjoy living well, seeing the world, and experiencing different cultures. Acuña studied Architecture at Cornell University (B.Arch ’04) and Columbia University (MS.AAD ’05).
Mr. Manfred Yuen founded Groundwork Architects & Associates in 2011, hoping to improve the living environment of Hong Kong. Groundwork was later joined by CY Lau and Fiona Bao as the practice expanded into Southern China.
In 2018, he co-founded Groundwork Shenzhen: a research arm of Groundwork that focuses on children play spaces and school designs.
He was invited to be one of the speakers in 2019 at TEDx, Shenzhen, where he advocated humanistic and social responsibilities of architects.