Micro-initiatives and City Culture at BODW 2020

21. 12. 2020

“Design Trust: Critically Homemade” Micro-initiatives and City Culture took place at BODW on 5 December 2020 - a virtual design dialogue on the role of giving, making and new models of philanthropy. The Lead Curator, partners, designers and retailers shared on this panel about the Hong Kong micro-initiative from their unique context to support cultural invigoration and community resilience.


Together with speakers Mr. Donald Choi (Executive Director & Group CEO of Chinachem Group), Mr. Arnault Castel (Founder of kapok), Ms. Clara Brito (Creative Director, of Lines Lab) and Mr. Michael Young (Director of Michael Young Studio), Lead Curator of the micro-initiative and Co-Founder/ Executive Director of Design Trust, Marisa Yiu shared on the “Design Trust: Critically Homemade” micro-initiative and how through different means of giving, we can all participate in the the making and production of the city.


With the patronage and support of the community, DESIGN TRUST as a grant funding and community platform and registered charity has been supporting the community through grants, fellowships, mentor think-tank programmes and public dialogues. Focusing on content, research and design excellence, the foundation supports thought-provoking projects and initiatives. In the spirit of giving and philanthropy, DESIGN TRUST has supported over 130 grantees and fellows in the past 13 years. 2020 marks a year of challenges and innovation, through “Design Trust: Critically Homemade”, the foundation explores new models of philanthropy and concepts of circular making and giving. While the speakers share the feelings of uncertainties and anxiety of our current contexts, it is more important than ever to infuse hope and innovation through design and cultural collaborations.

[1] “DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade” micro-initiatives and city culture took place at BoDW on 5 December 2020
[2] “DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade” has now expanded citywide, online and offline through our Winter Showcase, featuring 39 select designs to engage and inspire the public.
[3] Antibacterial Door Handles by Michael Young, DTFS 2019 Mentor
[4] Tufa Tao Slippers by Clara Brito and Margarida Jardim, in collaboration with Burel Factory

In conversation with Mr. Donald Choi (Executive Director & Group CEO of Chinachem Group), concepts of micro-initiatives and creative resources were explored, the current challenges have also prompted him to “re-examine how we look at our business and to give back to the community,” advocating in building common goods and shared values through people-focused models, sustainability, and positive social impact. “The power of design can be a source of inspiration to reshape our city and better lives, through the collaboration with Design Trust, we focus on culture and human value - design elevates how we view the world and contribute back to society.”

Mr. Arnault Castel (Founder of kapok), the provocateur and design retailer shared on the power of smallness and how micro-businesses can create impact. Through reflections and rethinking of the past months, Castel believes everyone has a role to play no matter big or small, as a micro-company taking part in the micro-initiative, “the smallness provides flexibility, freedom and purity for more controversial and ground breaking projects that can impact individuals and gives them power” says Castel who is also a Design Trust Advisor and through the micro-initiative hopes to support DESIGN TRUST’s grant giving efforts.

While the Design Trust Champions shared on their concepts of giving and providing optimism under the current context, designers Michael Young and Clara Brito shared on their inspiration and creation of their prototypes for the “Design Trust: Critically Homemade” project. During mass uncertainties, Michael Young drew inspiration from nature and anti-bacterial science to develop his antibacterial door handles with recycled materials. Working with Design Trust Champion COLOURLIVING also offers the opportunity to further develop and explore different production methods, acting as a catalyst to re-evaluate different values and well-being.

Macau/ Portugal/ China based designer Clara Brito explores the various connections and heritage between China and Portugal through her work Tufa Tao - sensory slippers created with handmade wool from the Burel factory in Portugal. Known for recovering textile heritage in Portugal, Burel has a deep connection to nature and traditional handmade fabric since the Middle Ages. “COVID-19 calls for bringing people and community together”, through Tufa Tao, the designer explores our collective heritage in the future by bridging traditional Tufa design and Chinese culture.
The virtual dialogue ended with a thought-provoking question prompted by Marisa Yiu (Co-founder/ Executive Director, Design Trust) - “Has COVID-19 brought about more crisis or innovation and has your work been a way to relieve stress or balance negativity?” While we are all forced to re-examine values and connections, Michael Young feels “It teaches us resilience and agility. The crisis will fall behind and new opportunities will arrive in the cycle of life.”

“DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade” has now expanded citywide, online and offline through our Winter Showcase, featuring 39 select designs to engage and inspire the public. With the support of seven 2020 Design Trust Champions - kapok, COLOURLIVING, WOMANBOSS, K11, ZS Hospitality, Chinachem Group, and VSFG.

Visit the DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade e-PopUp  to choose from the selected designs which reflects the creativity, thoughtfulness, ingenuity and diversity of our designer community; these gifts surprise, delight and impress. With all proceeds going towards supporting Design Trust’s ongoing research and grant programmes to foster and nurture emerging designers in Hong Kong and the region, these gifts make giving even more rewarding.
Support Design Trust’s community mission! Please visit Design Trust’s e-PopUp and pick your holiday season designer gifts now!