Don’t you agree that autumn in the Netherlands has been lovely so far? The colours of the trees were amazing. The Vondelpark in Amsterdam looked like it was on fire constantly. Walks in the park inspired the new series of ads for HKWJ/Triple Eight. Orange is the new black:)!
If you want to dive into HK’s housing problems and enjoy a holiday at the same time, this piece is a must-read. Inge Goudsmit and I collected Airbnb places in Hong Kong that will tell you everything about the city’s housing history and challenges. You’ll find the article here on Archined. Some other work from this summer: An article for FD on why modern slavery is still a driving force in our economy, written with Kathleen Ferrier and a column about why downloading the app ‘I’m getting arrested’ can be considered a political act in China. I’m making new research plans for the coming months… any interesting leads or ideas? Let me know.
Here some snapshots of the Exhibition ‘Aging Dragons’ that was connected to the urban planners conference ‘Beyond Big Plans’ in Seoul this month.
The exhibition was all about post-growth of the big developed Asian cities like Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Tokyo. The ‘Hong Kong – Boring City’ research project that I’m working on together with Inge Goudsmit was part of it.
A lot of people ask how it feels to set up life again back in Amsterdam. A HK friend sent me a blogpost about ‘reversed culture shock’ and I recognise the emotions that are portrayed in the quote below:
“It hurts but there are so many people so very happy to have us back here. And we don’t want to disappoint them so sometimes we avoid talking about our feelings.(…) The transition material tells me that a new beginning starts with an ending. The rites of passage of ancient cultures teach us to face the end, embrace the grief, and move through to the new. Denial, slap a happy-face emoticon on it, fake-it-’til-you-make-it, just won’t do. Honest tears help wash the soul.”
On a lighter note: it’s so much fun to keep working on projects in Hongkong. It helps somehow to still feel part of what’s happening in the city. One of the projects I finished last week is this logo design for Urban Delight. They took over the Foodwalk business I wrote about here. The ribbon meanders through the word ‘urban’ as a visualisation of a route through the city. I think it’s an adventurous metaphor for an amazing food adventure.
New updates available about The Boring City research project (a project I started last year together with architect and friend Inge Goudsmit). After various publications and lectures by Inge in december and january, we were invited to contribute some of our materials to a very exciting exhibition that kicks off next month in Seoul, connected to the ‘Beyond Big Plans’ symposium for urban planners: ‘Aging Dragons’.
It’s an exhibit about post-growth prospects of the well-developed Asian cities Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Hong Kong. Our part will focus on the effects of the boring city and hyper-efficiency in Hong Kong’s housing estates like social distance, segregations and lack of upward mobility. We’re working on the panels as we speak. Keep you posted. And… if you happen to be in Seoul… take a snapshot for me:).
What an awesome last day of the year it was. On the 31st of December Kathleen Ferrier and I were able to look back on the Hong Kongs’ political turbulent year with Benny Tai, one of the main Occupy Central (With Love and Peace) leaders. Interviewing him really inspired me, not only in a professional way but also on a personal level. Although it’s quite obvious he prefers to ‘hide’ in his study full of books and plants, he feels it’s his duty to speak up. Such a humble man, full of hope and strong ideas for Hong Kongs’ political future. I hope some of them come true in 2015.
We wrote this article about the interview in Nederlands Dagblad (Dutch Daily Newspaper).
Loved to work with the Urban Discovery team on this Exhibition at the RICS Heritage Conservation Conference. Heritage conservation in Hong Kong is a challenge which generates strong views in the community and presents a range of interesting issues. I made the design (in close cooperation with Lisette van Rijn and Grace Lee) of these exhibition-panels. Each one evaluates the re-use of a particular heritage buildings in Hong Kong.
Some Revitalisation concept are super cool. My personal favourite: a resettlement housing estate that turned into a hostel (Mei Ho House). After the conference, the exhibition will be relocated to Blue House in Wan Chai so you can check out all the fascinating stories and struggles that are connected to Hong Kong’s most fascinating urban renewal projects.
Oh I will miss the gritty, charming, colourful Wan Chai. Happy that I could work on the branding of CWS (Child Welfare Scheme) charity race, coming up in March. The typical Wan Chai colour pattern makes me feel warm inside, although I know a lot is going on out there that would give me goose-bumps at the same time.
That paradox is perfectly captured in this app-walk as well. You can download it if you like to get to know the area better. A neighbourhood that is fascinating enough to make you never want to leave.
This weekend we said goodbye to our current apartment in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong. We will move back to our much smaller place in Amsterdam end of January. Of course we had to get rid of a lot of stuff and surprisingly that felt very good. I like to travel ‘light’ in life. And it’s a lot of fun to brainstorm with my architect husband about refurbishing those 55m2. This vintage telephone seat from the sixties inspired me somehow: desk/seat/storage in one, and the looks are so lovely as well… why don’t they make these anymore:)?
A new issue of Hollandse Nieuwe is out (I did the lay-out and design as usual). The theme of this magazine is Autumn Blues and it’s about all the lovely festivals, concerts and music-events in Hong Kong this autumn. Very practical to be up-to-date again myself on the secret music venues where all the ‘cool cats’ go:). You can read/see the complete magazine here (in Dutch).