Winter Greetings from Design Trust | Message From Executive Director

21. 12. 2020

Message from Marisa Yiu, Co-Founder / Executive Director


This year has truly been unbelievable, both the sense of community collaboration, the pooling of resources and acts of generosity no matter big or small that we have witnessed. The last year and recently the past months have been challenging, with Hong Kong going through its fourth-wave and restrictions returning, that affects all of us not just in Hong Kong but everyone around the region and internationally. Yet, as a perpetual optimist and seeing as much positivity we can through trying times, we have been inspired to build community resilience through our micro-initiative “DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade”. From the novel blending of offline and online activities whilst navigating the ups and downs of COVID-19 challenges, I have to admit how inspiring and ready our HK based community has been with their responsiveness and openness of experimentation, testing, and sharing.


Since February 2020, with so many uncertainties, along with my board members and colleagues of DESIGN TRUST, we have been organically preparing a new community platform to reduce our social distance, with new collaborations and to inspire ourselves on the role of critical making within the home and the domestic landscape. Making things with our hands has become more relevant than ever and echoes a basic human desire to be creative and open. Through making – we can build dialogue and immerse ourselves in our craft, all while provoking and probing for more.

Curatorial ideas and hand sketch by Lead Curator Marisa Yiu.

Now, fast forward to December 2020 the positivity and drive to help each other, restore social connection, and most importantly, to collaborate has been even more evident. In this winter 2020 newsletter, I hope you will be able to revel, engage, participate and see the host of small activities and new events created out of an urgency to connect, with humbling responsibility to continue our momentum to engage with our design community, our stakeholders, patrons, and supporters on the relevance of what DESIGN can act and react during these trying times.

With the preview launch “DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade”, as a prototype exhibition of 76 prototypes, created by 132 designers and collectives working together shown at the Soho House Hong Kong events space in September, this micro-initiative has expanded, showcasing the humbling power of the community to come together to support each other.

Design Trust: Critically Homemade Prototype Exhibition at Soho House Hong Kong.

This acceleration is championed by individuals, collectives and business owners coming together to support our registered charity in its 13th year. Our designer’s prototypes have been transformed into real products, both edible, playful and practical. Homemade cookies baked with molds of unique Chinese characters by Adonian Chan, supported by F&B outlets and social enterprise in its prototyping, intergenerational “Pocket garden” created by Julie & Jesse, now being translated into limited edition collectibles at renowned retail shops, prototypes undergoing further testing to be made available as useful anti-bacterial details by Michael Young, to workshops of bamboo weaving to local audiences in a new events space in Sham Shui Po, and playful lighthearted homemade objects to inspire us to think and make with families; and be inspired by heritage.

[1] Hong Kong Beiwei Zansyu Cookies by Adonian Chan, now available at Between
[2] Pocket Garden by Julie Progin and Jesse Mc Lin, Julie & Jesse, available exclusively at kapok
[3] Antibacterial Door Handles by Michael Young, available exclusively at COLOURLIVING
[4] "Back to Basic" food basket workshop by Zoe Siu, ZOEE, available by WOMANBOSS

With many “firsts” this year, and a collective re-assessment on values and the circularity of making and acts of generosity. Our team has put together its first ever virtual silent auction, a first ever 3-day pop up in a “Tong Lau” 1940s old style heritage building “THE SHOPHOUSE” in Tai Hang, a first ever e-Pop-up shop platform for the “DESIGN TRUST: Critically Homemade Winter Showcase” that features 39 designs that have been selected in collaboration with various Design Trust Champions, partners and collaborators. Chosen based on how they embody Design Trust’s core values as well as how they responded to the curatorial brief, these designs exemplify the true creativity, innovation, ingenuity and diversity of our designer community. This winter showcase is ongoing to early 2021, and allows ourselves to interact directly with places of design excellence, examining the rich historic significance of neighborhoods of Hong Kong, and places shaping contemporary knowledge and culture.


With all proceeds to support Design Trust’s ongoing research and grant programmes, we invite you to #GiveToGiveMore and engage in the incredibly thoughtful and innovative work of the design community. I look forward to virtually and physically seeing you at our next series of events, Inter-island festival in Peng Chau, small pop-ups in Wanchai, Central, Sham Shui Po to Tsuen Wan, where we will be sharing again on our first-ever pilot built micropark project that is underway. I never envisioned how small acts of giving or the building of small parks, to micro-initiatives, to more intimate and pointed virtual conversations, have more harnessing power to positively impact and go beyond oneself, to support each other.


Stay safe, healthy and inspired during the holiday season and thank you for your support sincerely, and with gratitude. See you in 2021!



Marisa Yiu
Co-Founder, Lead Curator/ Executive Director, DESIGN TRUST

[1] Design Trust: Critically Homemade’s first-ever virtual fundraising event, showing the collective will of our community to come together during such challenging times.
[2] Design Trust: Critically Homemade Collectors Showcase at THE SHOPHOUSE, featuring 18 select prototypes for silent auction.