Design Trust Futures Studio’s Yi Pei Square Playground opens to the public: a testament to cross-disciplinary community collaboration, participation and innovation

25. 6. 2021

A Testament To Cross-disciplinary Creative Efforts And Collective Participations From Diverse Communities from Hong Kong, the Region and Beyond

Left: The Yi Pei Square Playground in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, before transformation 

Middle: 'The final Yi Pei Square design concept, "The Communal Living Room", was presented to the public as a prototype exhibition in January 2019 

Right: The Yi Pei Square after transformation. Photo taken on April 15th 2021

Design Trust, an initiative of the Hong Kong Ambassadors of Design, is pleased to share the update that the first of the four pilot micro-parks – Yi Pei Square Playground – in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong officially opened on 15 April 2021 for the enjoyment of the neighborhood and public. As part of the programme “PLAY IS FOR THE PEOPLE” (2018) under the Design Trust Futures Studio (DTFS) initiative, the launch of the Yi Pei Square Playground is a testament to Design Trust’s continuous and dedicated efforts in bringing together the local communities and other stakeholders from both private and public sectors to transform the unique concepts by cross-disciplinary design experts into meaningful outcomes that impact society or public spaces in Hong Kong.

DTFS’ timelapse video - The construction of Yi Pei Square Playground. Three years in making from research, concept, public engagement, prototype to construction.

Yi Pei Square Playground officially opened on 15th April 2021.

Curated and conceptualised by Marisa Yiu, Co-founder, Executive Director of Design Trust, DTFS is Design Trust’s flagship programme launched in 2017, advocating for the positive values of design in the role for shaping a better Hong Kong and the region we live in. “We are thrilled to be able to go beyond conceptual ideation to bring our first pilot micro-park design into reality. It is an outcome of numerous site research and analysis, various public engagement sessions and collective efforts from public and private agencies, aiming at introducing this unique ‘communal living room’ in Yi Pei Square for the local Tsuen Wan residents, and encouraging the concepts of inclusive and intergenerational play, with design innovation generated out of a participatory process,” says Yiu. “I extend my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation for the patrons and institutions involved – from private and public agencies, individual donors, advisors to all the contractors, and I look forward to sharing this wonderful mentor-mentee design to the community very soon.”


Yiu continues, “The revitalised Yi Pei Square Playground is the culmination of many months of discussions, refinements and collaborations across the board. It demonstrates how creative curiosity can challenge norms to improve the design of public space for the benefit of the public. I invite the wider Hong Kong community to enjoy the transformed Yi Pei Square, and continue to support the construction of the other three micro-parks in the Yau Tsim Mong and Central and Western districts in the coming years.”

Image from 2018 DESIGN TRUST FUTURES STUDIO workshop and design public reviews held at Spring Workshop, Wong Chuk Hang. April 2018

The Yi Pei Square Playground proposal was designed by a creative, cross-disciplinary design mentee team composed of Stephen Ip (architecture and landscape), Kay Chan (industrial and product design), Christopher Choi (architecture and landscape) and Jonathan Mak (graphics and branding), mentored by Mimi Hoang (architect), international mentor for the project and led by Marisa Yiu, Lead Curator of the DESIGN TRUST FUTURES STUDIO community programme. It explores the idea of creating a “communal living room” within a densely populated residential area in Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong, that is surrounded by subdivided flats, suitable for residents of all ages. The design of the space incorporated the residents’ needs researched through a series of public engagement and workshops, facilitating multi-generational interactions for residents. The public space allows the public to enjoy the inclusive and custom-made play equipment, dedicated leisure and activities zones for different users as well as the specially designed graphics and floor patterns.

Image from YPS Booklet, highlights of the Yi Pei Square.

Design Trust Futures Studio Media Highlights

Design Trust is grateful for the continued support and recognition we receive from the media. We are pleased to share press highlights on Design Trust in the past few months, covering the community impact of the Design Trust Futures Studio programme.


The Micro-park Programme received wide attention from publications since its official launch in April. Read the South China Morning Post’s coverage and an interview with Lead Curator Marisa Yiu (Co-Founder and Executive Director, Design Trust) by Hong Kong Tatler. Other coverage highlights include VOGUE Hong Kong RTHK, Ming Pao Weekly, HK01, The Standnews, Zolima City Mag, Metropop and Art and Piece amongst others.

SCMP photo by Winson Wong

Coverage by Hong Kong Tatler

“Play Date” in Hong Kong Tatler 2021 June Issue

Coverage by Ming Pao Weekly

Photo by Ming Pao Weekly

The Team -  DTFS’s Pilot Micro-Park in Yi Pei Square, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong


For more information: 

Design team of Yi Pei Square Playground. From left to right: Kay Chan (Industrial and Product Design), Stephen Ip (Architecture and Landscape), Jonathan Mak (Graphic and Branding), Christopher Choi (Architecture and Landscape) and

Lead Curator Marisa Yiu (Co-founder, Executive Director of Design Trust).

Mentor Mimi Hoang (Principal of nARCHITECTS, New York)

The next micro-park, Portland Street Rest Garden, in the Yau Tsim Mong district will be shortly unveiling soon. Concept design team for this park includes Curator Marisa Yiu (Co-founder and Executive Director of DESIGN TRUST), International Mentor Sam Jacob (Principal of Sam Jacob studio) and Designer Mentees Ricky Lai (Graphic and Branding), Xavier Tsang (Industrial and Product Design), Wendy Wu based in Shenzhen (Architecture and Landscape) and Kam Fai Hung (Architecture and Landscape). The Team has envisioned a thoughtful approach to incorporate existing elements from the site, while injecting new energy and ideas.

Prototype of Portland Street Rest Garden. DTFS “PLAY IS FOR THE PEOPLE” Prototype Exhibition in January 2019; Recently DESIGN TRUST hosted a pop- up exhibition at PMQ from 29th January 2021.

Design team’s initial greening strategy to create higher greenery density for the park.

The future park will be a multi-functional space for users of all ages. The open park will feature a new layout with a movable furniture system to be used for a variety of activities while the other part will restore and renew some furniture and equipment. The new design will provide a fresh new visual identity, along with increased seating and flexibility.

About “PLAY IS FOR THE PEOPLE” (2018) under the Design Trust Futures Studio (DTFS) initiative

Since 2018, DTFS has been working alongside public and private agencies including the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office, Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and Architectural Services Department.  From January 2018 to April 2019, DTFS’ “PLAY IS FOR THE PEOPLE” programme was sponsored by Create Hong Kong (CreateHK), while Ng Teng Fong Charitable Foundation was the Education & Community Outreach Partner. As conceptual designer and lead organiser, DTFS led and engaged, conducted research and design four micro-parks as public spaces of the future. These locations include: Portland Street Rest Garden, Hamilton Street Rest Garden, the Sitting-Out Area under Hill Road Flyover, and Yi Pei Square Playground. The aim is to transform the micro-park designs into reality, with Architectural Services Department as the works agent and Leisure and Cultural Services Department as the client and manager of the parks. Capital works and support for the construction of the Yi Pei Playground were sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust and funded by the Hong Kong SAR government. The three other parks capital works are supported by the Hong Kong SAR government.


Seventeen mentees formed the four multidisciplinary design teams, accompanied by one mentor per group, to overlook the projects including advisors from different fields. Led by Marisa Yiu, the team of mentors consist of local Hong Kong-based architect Gary Chang (Founder, EDGE Design Institute) and artist, photographer and designer Stanley Wong (anothermountainman) alongside international mentors Mimi Hoang (Principal, nARCHITECTS, New York) and Sam Jacob (Principal, Sam Jacob Studio, London). Richard Hassell (Co-founder of WOHA) has also been providing ongoing support and guidance to the teams as international workshop mentor, along with Elizabeth Diller (Founding Partner, Diller Scofidio + Renfro) and her team, who shared their design philosophy and processes for the Highline and other public space projects at the DTFS 2018 Research Study Tour in New York.