RIBA Hong Kong’s talk series with deTour is back. Each year, RIBA Hong Kong Chapter hosts 'Talk!' with deTour in the Police Married Quarters (PMQ) building, a historic site containing a Grade III listed building, now used as a mixed-purpose venue for arts and design, in Hong Kong.
The deTour annual design festival presents a variety of programmes by engaging designers and creative communities in Hong Kong and overseas. RIBA Hong Kong has joined with deTour again this year to focus on the theme ‘Matter of Life’ which brings together local and international designers to share, celebrate, and explore the role and function of design in a world of constant change.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s aesthetics and expression of functional purity has captured the world of design and extended to the likes of Andy Goldsworthy, John Pawson, Jonathan Ive, Alan Fletcher and more. ‘less is more’ purifies function, strips away insignificant elements, unnecessary visuals, and embraces efficiency.
Robert Venturi, living in antithesis to Modernists’ ethos with his stark phrase ‘less is a bore’, embraces colour, sensual experience, is unafraid to borrow from classical features, and is free in expression with sensitivity towards culture and context. James Stirling, Terry Farrell, Ron Arad, Neville Brody and others have successfully redefined function to become fluid, allowing flexibility to embed within the design. Their approach enables expression of real life situations and allows for playful, experimental design approaches to address the complexity of decisions we face today.
'Talk!' asks, does ‘less is more’ transcend aesthetics and functional purity? Is minimalism far from being truthful by alienating context and abstracting culture thereby validating ‘less is a bore’? Is it our duty as designers to respond in the footsteps of postmodernists and truthfully express real life complexities?
Here we invited artists, architects, product/furniture designers, and graphic designers to debate their views.
Peter Ferretto, Associate Professor, Director of the Masters of Architecture programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Louise Browne, Grimshaw
Keith Chan, Hintegro
Polly Ho, Loom Loop
Kevin Lam, Ronald Lu & Partners
Benny Lee, BREADstudio
Jason Tang, NIL Studio