Design Trust 2022 January Cycle Grant Recipients | April Cycle Call for Grants

21. 3. 2022

Design Trust 2022 April Grant Application is now open. Share with us your ideas and proposals by 20th April 2022. 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. With the ongoing 5th wave pandemic, we will prioritise cultural and community-based Seed Grant research for the 2022 April cycle.

2022 January Cycle Grant Recipients

“Recollection: Tao Ho - a Research and Exhibition Project” by Charles Lai, delves into the history of the late architect Dr Tao Ho, based on newly available archival materials and oral accounts that aims to provide an updated, holistic, and comprehensive account on the subject-matter for local, national, regional, and international audiences. Rather than penning a biography that centres around his professional life, the project intends to portray his persona and philosophies by studying his essays, correspondence, poetry, artworks, and media interviews, as part of the discourses around his works of architecture. Thirty to fifty artefacts are sorted in parallel with his work to elucidate various career stages. The findings, supplemented by interviews with his peers, colleagues, and students, will be presented in a bilingual publication and an exhibition at Hong Kong Arts Centre, a building built in 1977 designed by the late Dr Tao Ho.


“‘BRUTAL! ‒ Unknown Brutalism Architecture in Hong Kong’ Book Publication” by Bob Pang, continues the momentum of the earlier Design Trust supported Seed Grant into expanded Feature Grant. The Brutalism research and exhibition in 2021 into its second phase of book publication for a wider audience to promote a particular architectural history of Hong Kong. The team aims to complete an extended search and survey of Brutalist Architecture cases in Hong Kong, and edited into two books: first book will be in Chinese, focusing on the research discourse and historic content; second book will be in English, in a photographic monograph format. The research will further synchronize the data with “SOS Brutalism” global database by Deutsches Architektur Museum in Frankfurt, which Oliver Elser, the 2019 M+/Design Trust Research Fellow, leading seminal works on this field work. This knowledge exchange with renowned international institute enhances the importance of local architectural history to an international scale.


“By Us, For Us: Atlas and Forums for Hong Kong Housing Cooperatives” by Architecture Land Initiative, a Hong Kong and Swiss based team of architects and academics including Guillaume Othenin-Girard, Kent Mundle, Alexa den Hartog, Dieter Dietz, Aurélie Dupuis and Léonore Nemec, looks into the inception, impending erasure and possible future of Hong Kong’s Housing Cooperatives. Today, the Civil Servant Building Societies, are on the verge of disappearance despite being increasingly relevant as housing becomes increasingly inaccessible and individualized around the world. By Us, For Us is a series of public Forums on the history, current problematic, and potential future of housing cooperatives in Hong Kong. These forums will also generate a publication, the CBS Estates Atlas together with the Federative Drawing will further distil and disseminate the project. With the Forums, Atlas and Federative Drawing, the project aims to establish the foundation for an action plan to reinstate cooperative housing in the city’s future


“Playground Before, Now and Then: A Social Innovative Journey In Search of the New Playground Urbanism” by Kin Wai Siu, is a research and book project that documents the social innovative making process of this new playground urbanism. In 2021, Hong Kong embarked on a wave of renewal for 170 public playgrounds under government campaign. Such critical turning point calls for a correspondingly renewed multi-layered engagement methodology to address the cultural, communal, functional and children developmental needs of the new generation playground design. This research project will document the process and findings of the multi-layered engagement framework experimented by designers and practitioners locally and globally, to embark in a comprehensive discourse about placemaking through playground, play and design, and the power of public engagement since 1960s to contemporary practice today.


“West Point Neighbourhood Lab” by Massimiliano Dappero, is a live project in constant evolution, which investigates the micro-dynamics of our neighbourhood, the people, their activities, and their needs to reinterpret public space in a dense city like Hong Kong. The Neighbourhood Lab will carry out observation and study of the users of the public space, workshops with the university students, community engagement activities and presentations to different stakeholders. With the observation and study of the neighbourhood’s challengers and the community needs, this project aims to generate a neighbourhood toolkit framework to support the West Point Street Line vision, and other existing and future public space projects in Sai Wan district.


“Breathing X: Atmosphere Architecture” by Yixuan Cai, reveals the relationship between climate change and innovative sustainable design, which on one hand thread between the modern term “atmosphere” and the spiritual term “breath” (气), and on the other hand, create a record for emerging sustainable design effort in China. The project will be developed through forums, interviews, field research, design research, and finally a publication. It will contain relevant papers, design analysis, speculative design, interviews/field records and glossaries, aiming to reveal the relationship between climate change and ecological crisis design, which is almost absent in Mandarin environment. The project will also work as a record of practice happening in the Greater Bay Area as case studies and in China at this moment.


“Islands of Hong Kong” by Absence From Island, will establish an online database of islands in Hong Kong including basic metrics, mapping, analysis, 3D island archive and photo documentation. Hong Kong has more than 230 islands which is rare among mega cities in the world. The project looks into the sustainable development between the city and nature, especially these islands which are unique to Hong Kong. The team will conduct a research into their current status and establish an online database that can be shared with other professionals as well as the public. The online database will include all basic information of the 230 islands as well as a series of photo records from the periphery of Hong Kong Island. A physical exhibition will also be held at the conclusion of the research.


“0 x anything = 0 ?” by GayBird Leung, is a multi-disciplinary project crossing the disciplines of semiotics, mathematics and new media art. Through a series of works including visuals, sound and video installations, the project is designed to engage audiences and professionals from different disciplines to further explore how we perceive the world and its current problems with the lens of arts and mathematics. ‘0’ can be reinterpreted through the lens of a semiotic historical reference, a media design experiment or a graphic design investigation of the elongated circle. Fragments of sound, graphics, videos and kinetic machines will be created as new media art installations, designing through an interdisciplinary lens of a diverse and reconfigured interpretations of ‘0?’ for a public audience.


“Urban Fractals: a point cloud documentary of Hong Kong living spaces” by Haotian Zhang, Qian Guo, and Tianying Li, uses photogrammetry to study Hong Kong living spaces across different scales, and reimagines a nonhierarchical fractal cityscape composed of the documented spaces through a point cloud film. Through the immersive cinematic experience, the project subverts the spatial hierarchy by recomposing the scanned scenes into a nested fractal structure, represented as a journey traversing the big and the small reciprocally. The research also explores the representational potentials of 3D scanning, navigating between familiarity and estrangement. It is an experiment with novel working methods in search of the visual provocations specific to point cloud methodology.