Design Trust 2021 February Cycle Grant Recipients | April Cycle Call for Grants

26. 3. 2021

Design Trust 2021 April Grant Application is now open. Share with us your ideas and proposals by 20th April 2021. Design Trust offers grants to designers, curators, collectives and non-profit organisations for project proposals that are relevant to the context and content of Hong Kong and the region. We are also pleased to announce the Grant Recipients from the 2021 February cycle.


2021 February Cycle Feature Grant Recipient

"UnitHome Project" by Tat Lam is a collaborative project by many domain experts in Hong Kong, led by Dream Impact and CUHK School of Architecture, aiming at resolving the Subdivided Unit (SDU) Housing problem in urban poverty in the context of Hong Kong. In 2020, the team developed the ‘gamification’ strategy turning complicated knowledge about housing financing schemes, co-living conflict resolutions, and strategies to exit poverty into user-friendly games. They propose to further develop the game, adapting APP software to support the game experience and create a train-the-trainer curriculum, in response to the numerous requests from organizations who are willing to adopt this methodology in their practice after they piloted the initial design in 2020. Meanwhile, NGO can benefit from the games and be equipped with the ability to conduct workshops with SDU residents. The proposal aims to provide alternative community tools for NGO staff in their everyday practice.


2021 February Cycle Seed Grant Recipients

“The Neon Girl” by Karen Chan Ka Lun is a cross-cultural neon light design, study and practice project that reaches 3 generations, 6 countries, and 2 genders. As the only female neon light designer and practitioner in Hong Kong, Chan investigates and incorporates new technology in her design, and produces 6 new distinctive pieces with 6 different neon light masters around the world in her project. Targeted at enhancing female empowerment in the male-dominant neon light production industry, Chan will demonstrate the geographical, cultural and economic impact of neon light design and its production through her attempt to work with the new media and technology, giving new meanings to neon light design. For her, heritage preservation does not just stop at a sifu’s (master) passing on the technical skills of neon-light-making, but the continuation of the craft from the cultural and historical perspectives, as well as how it eventually shapes our streetscape.

Chan Ka Lun's previous experimental neon work with organic neon walls

“Re-imagine our community” by Annette Chu attempts to investigate the open plaza in front of a community hall, the dark tunnel under an old housing estate, the park next to a promenade with standardized canopies, the covered passages connecting residential blocks - examples of some familiar public spaces in Hong Kong. However, with Hong Kong’s ongoing redevelopment and subsequently the increasing density, some public spaces have disappeared while others have lost their communal roles. There is an urge for new definitions of communal spaces, new ways for reactivating the abandoned urban spaces, and research projects which explore new forms of communal spaces in our city. Chu and her team have been researching into and designing educational spaces for nearly a decade. They create shared spaces, connecting different students and activities within a confined community of a school campus, aiming at extending the idea and applying similar logic to re-connect neighbourhoods and re-compose communal spaces in our city.


"RO-RO" by Yu Yan Tsui is a piece of modular furniture designed with Rolling Books - a social enterprise that promotes reading experience and advocates for social issues including poverty alleviation of minority groups, literally rolling out second-hand books and story-telling activities to reach out to children and ethnic minority families in Hong Kong. Originated from the idea of “rolling out”, RO-RO is a piece of furniture + play system designed to be stackable and expandable. The idea is to create a book container that can fit into a retired wheel-chair accessible taxi that tours around the city, and serves as a pop-up library for children’s participation upon destination. RO-RO is a combination of recycled & new materials - by easy interlocking of wood panels, they can be transformed into chairs, tables, bookshelf, shelter, etc - a colourful reading club is created instantly. RO-RO brings fun, meaningful and free-reading experience to children and, at the same time, delivers an important message on upcycling materials.


“Secret Societies” by Chun Lam - Lam notices that small businesses in Hong Kong lack flexibility in a highly competitive market. These independent entities are essential to the enrichment of urban life, and that they contribute significantly to the socio-economic diversity of the community. However, their obsolete business model presents an inflexible way of functioning in a world that is on the contrary seeking flexible commitments. For that reason, the proposed solution is the creation of a platform called “Secret Societies”, which removes small businesses from their sedentary obligation to a monthly mortgage or rental fees, the burden of unprofitable schedules, and the risk of a large start-up capital, to a system of rentable mobile vending carts fittingly designed for the street parking spots in Hong Kong, where it would act as a temporary home for a small business. The system is managed through a smartphone application by the entire community. “Secret Societies” was selected for the 2021 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.


Felix Chun Lam (R) and his team Yi Ran Weng