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Part 1 Immersive Asia Study Tour 2016

I was fortunate enough to be apart of a study tour to visit design studios, companies and factories while immersing myself in the Asian culture of Hong Kong, Shenzen and Taiwan. This blog will be about my experience in relation to design in Asia.

 

Day 1 Saturday 19th November 2016

On Friday I arrived in Hong Kong- Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island, where my hotel is located. The next day I went on an adventure to Kowloon Island, starting off by taking the star ferry.

Transport

I found the public transport in Hong Kong very reliable and easy to navigate. There are signs everywhere that are colour coded and lots of exits to different places/ streets to reach your destination quickly. And clear signs and audio of the routes and stops inside carriages. As a solo traveller (for about a day and an half), and with minimal research about the MTR system, I did not get lost. However, I found adding money to the Octopus card, similar to the Go-card system in Queensland. I also caught the bus to the star ferry pier, which is a different experience, which was a double decker and had a screen with the upcoming stops- which was useful as a new traveller.

 

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Day 2 Sunday 20th November 2016

A few of the students travelled to Big Buddha at Lantau Island by train and then bus as the cable cars being serviced  On the other hand, it was still a nice view of the mountains and sea. Arriving at the Tian Tan Buddha felt so peaceful and the architecture of the of the temples were mesmerising. We then had a brief visit to Kowloon Island station, where we were surrounded by tall buildings.

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Day 3, 4 & 5 21st-23rd November 2016

For two and a half days we worked with students for Hong Kong Polytechnic University from the Interaction Design discipline. Our brief was on speculative future, so our team worked on Navigation in relation to commuting in the future. The product we designed was a hover board and contact lens with HUD technology, as it is believed smartphones may be obsolete in the future.

It was an invaluable experience working with another discipline and students with a different cultural background and skills. However, having knowledge of the design process made the process of working together flow easily and in an result a fun and memorable experience. Especially, learning new things and cultural differences from each other.

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Day 6 Thursday 24th November 2016

We visited Hong Kong Design Centre, where we were introduced an program to help young designers start up their company. Unfortunately, we were not able to have a tour around the centre, as they were moving to another suburb/ district.

We visited Hong Kong Institute of Design (HKDI). Again, we were not able to have a tour, due to other events that were happening during that week. However, we checked out the Exhibition on Rafael Moneo and the Centre of Innovative Material and Technology.

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Day 7 25th Friday November 2016

In the morning a few of us went exploring the Eastern areas near our hotel. We visited Man Mo Temple along Hollywood Road. Adjacent to the temple was a Jerkface exhibition, which we also visited.

In the afternoon, we visited Product and Service Design Innovation Consultancy (PDD). It was a great insight of the differences between design consultancy and in-house manufacturing in Australia compared to Asia. Especially, when it comes to prototyping it will take about a week in Australia, while in Hong Kong it will take about a day, as most of the manufacturing is in China. Also, most of the engineers do all the draft analysis etc, while in Australia Industrial designers are expected to know not just the front-end but of the back- end of a designing and manufacturing an product.

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Day 8 26th Saturday November 2016

The weekend arrived, which meant that we had free time to do cultural/ sightseeing activities. A few of us went to Tim Burton’s Exhibition at TaiKoo Place. It was a great exhibition to see the process of the ideas come to life in different mediums. After the exhibition, we went to a local nearby restaurant where everything was written in Chinese. Did relied on the images and gestural communication to choose the dishes that we wanted.

After lunch we went to Prince Edwards and walked through the flower market, the bird market, then ended up in a store where they sold action figures, anime and sci-fi related toys. Then we went to the ladies market in the rain to end the day.

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Day 9 27th Sunday November 2016

We visited police Married Quarters (PMQ) in Soho. I really enjoyed this art and design community. There are pop-up stores for students or emerging companies to showcase their work and sell some of their products. The vibe was really inspiring especially learning about the history of the buildings and how far it has come over the years to support young designers.

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Day 10  28th Monday November 2016

Before leaving Hong Kong, we spent our last day travelling to Shenzhen to have a tour of the TTI factory. Crossing the border, most of us felt a different vibe to HK. There were lots of apartments being built and the streets seemed empty and run down. On the other hand, visiting the TTI factory was one of the highlights of this trip! We had an introduction of the company with another group of industrial design students from Copenhagen. Before we went on the tour, everyone played and tested out the tools that were on display.

Walking through some of the areas of the large factory, was truly an experience that not just an undergraduate would experience, but as a practising designer would not be able to interact as much in Australia. Walking through the production lines and seeing each part of a product being built by people and machinery, broadened my knowledge of materials and manufacturing in relation to labour, time and money.

Wished we got to stay a bit longer or got to experience interacting in the process of making some of the parts. I found it so fascinating to see products are that drawn on paper become real and learning about each of the stages of manufacturing. It was also great to see the products being tested if they work well and will last long. This tour was an incredible experience!

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Car Appreciation! :)

This is just a small section to appreciate the awesome cars that I came across in Hong Kong!

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