22 Mar 2019

The UK’s Department for International Trade launches Great British Design

UK Department for International Trade - Great British Design - Aedas pavilion for BODW 2019

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) last night unveiled the start of Great British Design, a year-long programme of events that will showcase the UK’s exceptional talents and expertise in design and increase creative collaboration with Hong Kong, bolstered by the largest ever delegation of British designers to visit Hong Kong.

The pinnacle of the campaign will be Business of Design Week (BODW), Asia’s premier design event organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre, for which the UK has been named official Partner Country. As part of BODW, British architects Aedas last night unveiled their design for the 1,000sq m pavilion (pictured above) which will act as the centrepiece of the Partner Country collaboration, inspired by the geography of the UK.

As part of Great British Design, the UK will also bring the biggest ever delegation of internationally renowned British designers to Hong Kong, including:

Thomas Heatherwick CBE, designer of iconic structures including Hong Kong’s Pacific Place, and Shanghai’s Bund Finance Centre
Sir John Sorrell CBE, design advocate and co-founder of London Design Week
Anya Hindmarch CBE, fashion accessories designer with three standalone stores in Hong Kong, and creative force behind show-stopping public art interventions such as Chubby Hearts and Weave Project

UK Department for International Trade - Great British Design - Sir John Sorrell
Sir John Sorrell will lead the biggest ever delegation of British designers to Hong Kong as part of Great British Design.

This delegation will be activated throughout a year-long, top-calibre programme of citywide events, discussions, demonstrations and interactive experiences, where Great British Design will investigate how design and design thinking will affect how we work, live, play and learn in the future. Through these four thematic pillars, Great British Design will grapple with the biggest issues facing tomorrow’s world, including: how technology has created new business models, industries and behaviour; what projected levels of urbanisation will mean for the way we live; how issues of sustainability and a growing number of discerning consumers will affect travel and consumption; and how academic research can help leading design industries gain a competitive edge for tomorrow. The 2019 events programme will also include a pop-up exhibition at PMQ and international exchange between UK and local design schools.

UK Department for International Trade - Great British Design - Anya Hindmarch
Internationally celebrated designer Anya Hindmarch will also arrive in Hong Kong this year as part of Great British Design. (Photo: The New York Times)

To coincide with the launch of Great British Design, British architects Aedas, unveiled the designs for a 1,000sq m space to be constructed at DesignInspire, a partnering event of BODW, to showcase UK industries and brands. Aedas are the creative minds behind the multi-award-winning Hong Kong International Airport Midfield and North Satellite Concourses, as well as West Kowloon Station which provides high-speed transport links between Hong Kong and Mainland China.

Aedas’ concept for the British pavilion represents a ‘blend of science and nature’; the roof evokes waves, wind and sails, all of which represent the UK’s deep relationship with the sea as an island nation, and its historic use of its waters as a passage to connect with the rest of the world.

Paul McComb, Director General Trade & Investment at Department for International Trade, said: “The UK’s creative economy is one of the most powerful in the world, and collaboration plays a crucial role to its continued growth. I am excited about a year-long idea exchange between the UK and Hong Kong, which will boost opportunities for UK business while at the same time enhance Hong Kong’s position as a leading global creative hub.”

UK Department for International Trade - Great British Design - Paul McComb
Paul McComb, Director General Trade & Investment at Department for International Trade, announces the Great British Design campaign.

Reinforcing strong ties between the UK and Hong Kong: two global leaders
The launch of the Great British Design follows the 2019-2020 Budget Speech made by Paul Chan GBM, GBS, MH, JP, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), and two agreements that seek to build stronger economic and cultural ties between the UK and Hong Kong, namely:

  • The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the UK and InvestHK on investment promotion in March 2018
  • MoU on cultural cooperation agreed by the governments of the UK and HKSAR in September 2018

The UK and Hong Kong are both leaders in the fields of design, and strengthening ties and will offer mutual economic and cultural benefits: the UK’s creative economy has consistently been the fastest growing sector in the UK for two decades, delivering over GBP 100 billion to the economy, while Hong Kong’s cultural and creative industries have been valued at USD 110 billion, representing around 4.5% of Hong Kong’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

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