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Milan – Hong Kong design, new forms and functions in parallel with Italian iconic works – FREE EXHIBITION

DATE: 26 March – 4 April 2021

TIME: 2-8pm (26 March) / 10am – 8pm (27 March – 4 April)

VENUE: 4&5 floors, Pao Galleries, Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai


Milan – Hong Kong design, new forms and functions in parallel with Italian iconic works are the outcomes of a year-long project (Design Made in Hong Kong 2020-2021 that brought together two regions of the world, building parallelisms between their different design approaches and cultural backgrounds. Organized in three sections, the exhibits guide the visitors on a rich path, to meet multiple voices: from Italian designers – both Masters from the last century and young talents – to three Hong Kong design schools.


Italy is represented by three emerging designers – Federica Biasi, Federico Peri, and Sara Ricciardi – selected as representatives of the contemporary design scene through their recent productions and collaborations with brands, galleries, and institutions. Federica, Federico and Sara have very different design approaches: their works range from designing products to art direction for companies and projects, from research on materials and processes to collectible design projects for galleries and museums. They work for private clients, companies, and public institutions. The three of them are also very committed to teaching in design schools and sharing their experiences and knowledge with the next generations of designers. Emerging on the international scene and being so different from each other, they have been selected to have a dialogue with Hong Kong design students from the Universities partners of the project. They have been working around the themes explored by the students to develop a shared language between two places – Italy and Hong Kong – and two generations.

These three emerging designers are dialoguing with a selection of Italian Masters’ pieces from the 1970s to the 1990s, a period of great experimentation and turmoil – a great Italian design retrospective, reflecting a time of change that has several analogies with the current situation.

This period in Italy was a time for experimentation and research in terms of aesthetic language, materials and production processes, but was also a moment of exploration of the meanings and functions of interior decoration products. The designer collective which led the “postmodern movement” was Memphis, a groundbreaking group that innovated the sector using clashing colors, haphazard arrangements, and brightly colored plastic laminate. At the time, objects were usually designed to be functional, not decorative. Memphis revolutionized this with a more creative approach to design, where they poked fun at everyday objects by designing them in ways that were unusual.

The products shown in this exhibition are signed by the Italian design Masters: Aldo Cibic, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce, Marco Zanini, Matteo Thun, and Michele De Lucchi. Their works have been selected because the historical periods they represent mirror our times. Both filled their masterpieces with similar provocative and experimental elements.

The third section is dedicated to the Hong Kong universities – School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University, and Hong Kong Design Institute – showing the projects developed by the students as a result of an exchange of views between Europe and Asia, in the name of design: a common alphabet of great inspiration.

The objective of the project Design Made in Hong Kong was to build a platform between Hong Kong design students and emerging Italian designers. The goal was to share information, knowledge, and viewpoints to build a shared language that would contribute to both sides’ growth. Each school has developed a distinctive theme to reflect upon the current pandemic situation as the new normal. Students explore the aftermaths of the pandemic in terms of functions, aesthetics, and meanings of interior decoration.

The students from the Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University tackle the complexity of the current situation by exploring alternative, more meaningful, and passionate ways of living. With the use of ceramic techniques, they create objects filled with joy and resilience in a time of fear and anxiety.

Students from the Hong Kong Design Institute were looking for human-centered solutions to these issues. The users’ struggles were identified, so that the furniture can be enhanced to aid communications, both among family members and with the external world. Their designs are built upon three different concepts: “The rise of vanishing space”, “Blurred boundary of work & living”, “The world is turning older”.

The students from School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University – start the discussion through case studies and envisioning future sustainable scenarios. Their exploration then deepens with furniture design and the use of engineered bamboo. The focus was people, cohabitation, and their relationship with space, environment, and its functions.


Milan – Hong Kong design, new forms and functions in parallel with Italian iconic works

Organised by: Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong

Coordinated by: Stefano Fossati – Director of the Italian Cultural Institute in Hong Kong

Curated by: Annalisa Rosso and Mr.Lawrence Studio

In collaboration with: NMG / 5VIE Network

Artistic advice on historical exhibits by: William Figliola – Expert, collector in art and design

Universities: Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University / Hong Kong Design Institute / School of Design, The Hong kong Polytechnic University

Supported by: Consulate General of Italy in Hong Kong / Italian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong and Macao


  • Organizzato da: Italian Cultural Institute
  • In collaborazione con: Mr.Lawrence Studio / NMG - 5VIE Network / Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University / Hong Kong Design Institute / School of Design, The Hong kong Polytechnic University