Cover Photo: Kevin Mak, Courtesy of Herzog & de Meuron

Business of Design Week (BODW) returns from November 29 to December 4, featuring leading figures from the creative industries in Hong Kong and beyond. Take a look at our selection of the landmark designs created by various speakers this year

The 2021 edition of Business of Design Week (BODW) will focus on new beginnings in the post-pandemic world. Expect a mix of talks, panels and workshops to take place through the week. If you couldn’t attend in-person, check out sessions online—all of them will stream for free.

Ahead of the event’s kick-off next week, we profile Hong Kong architectural marvels masterminded by five of the distinguished speakers appearing this year.

For more programming and ticketing information, visit the event website


1. The Mills: Vanessa Cheung

Nan Fung Development’s group managing director Vanessa Cheung spearheaded the design of The Mills, which opened in 2018 to great acclaim.

Transforming an old Nan Fung textiles mills in Tsuen Wan into a thriving hub for art, culture and gastronomy, The Mills is a prime example of the city successfully breathing new life into heritage buildings.

“I joined Nan Fung in 2013, and while reviewing our portfolio of businesses I found out that the buildings of the original mills 4, 5 and 6 were still standing, functioning as warehouses,” Cheung told Tatler Asia in 2019. “Knowing how many lives these factories and the industry touched, I wanted to preserve these buildings while reimagining the future of the textile industry.”

Session: Embracing Change in Creative Leadership
Date and time: December 2, 9.45-10.15am 

In case you missed it: Inside Hong Kong’s Most Beautiful Revitalised Walk-Ups

2. Hong Kong Palace Museum: Rocco Yim

Wherever you are in Hong Kong, no matter which way you look, the streets and skyline are filled with buildings designed by Rocco Yim

His firm, Rocco Design Architects, is behind more than 110 projects in Hong Kong and mainland China alone. Some of its most famous projects include The Peninsula Hong Kong’s extension and the Hong Kong government headquarters in Tamar. 

Two of the firm’s current projects are set to be completed next year: the Hong Kong Palace Museum, which will be a new addition to the West Kowloon Cultural District, and the East Kowloon Cultural Centre, a 56,000 sq m performing arts complex that has ambitions of becoming a new art hub for the area. 

Session: In Conversation: The Making of West Kowloon Cultural District
Date and time: December 4, 2.55-3.35pm 

Read now: Ask A Property Expert: Why Do Hong Kong’s Buildings Have Holes In Them?


3. M+: Ascan Mergenthaler, Herzog & de Meuron

As senior partner at acclaimed Swiss architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron, Ascan Mergenthaler leads the company’s projects in Asia, Europe and the Americas. These include the M+ museum of visual culture, one of the most highly anticipated openings in Hong Kong in recent times. “I think we really want to lure people in ... basically just a space where they’re happy to go, and then they will discover things,” reflects Mergenthaler on the design of M+ in a promotional video for the museum.

Session: In Conversation: The Making of West Kowloon Cultural District
Date and time: December 4, 2.55-3.35pm 

Read now: 5 Design Details Not To Miss at Hong Kong’s New M+ Museum

4. Urban Microparks: Marisa Yiu

Marisa Yiu, co-founder and executive director of grant-funding community platform Design Trust and an architect by trade, is an influential force in the Hong Kong creative world. One of her most talked-about projects this year is the transformation of the Portland Street Rest Garden in Kowloon into a fuschia micro-park, which was created under Design Trust’s think-tank Futures Studio. It is part of a series of micro-parks: the first had opened in Yi Pei Square in Tsuen Wan. The next two micro-parks will open in 2022.

Session: In Conversation: The Making of West Kowloon Cultural District
Date and time: December 4, 2.55-3.35pm 

5. Pacific Place: Thomas Heatherwick

British designer Thomas Heatherwick’s eponymous studio has taken on some of the most famous renovation projects around the world, including the revamp of Pacific Place. Described by the studio as “one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world”, it underwent a facelift between 2005 and 2011. 

Major changes were made to the development’s interiors and exteriors, as well as in the architecture of the buildings. The new features include the installation of glass pyramidal skylights atop the mall, bringing in plenty of natural lighting, as well as a new skin of swirling bands of limestone and Bedonia stone.

Inside there is intuitive signage and a palette of natural stone, wood and textured wallpaper—and the pièce de résistance: a dazzling super-luxe washroom with a wave of timber doors.

Session: Keynote: Rewilding Urban Space
Date and time: December 2, 9.05-9:25pm



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