Archive for: MAY 21, 2009

21.05.2009
03:19

After a lovely weekend in Hong Kong and visiting an island outside of the city, we spent our second day at the studio of Michael Young. Michael himself would describe his studio as a place of a different timezone in comparison to the city outside and it certainly is. It is peaceful and quiet here, although the quietness last friday and this monday might have been the consequence of a party art fair weekend …  However, when you leave the hot and humid city and climb the stairs, better take the elevator into the 11th floor and arrive at the bright white corridor, you are in a different place. img_2570

And even so you will read England in big silver letters, you are most certainly not in good old Europe. A place inbetween and at the same time so connected to Asia, a studio with around 8 people including the interns, speaking English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese or Swedish. A place ful of respect and clear rules to protect the creativness of it, like the one rule - no business meeting before 2.30.

entrance door to Michael Youngs studio

entrance door to Michael Youngs studio

In almost all the studios we visited so far, the mutual respect of the people working there, as much as the personality of the main designers, both have an impact on the way of working and the special spirit of the studio. So maybe one could describe the spirit at the Campanas colorful, maybe it was more serious at Konstantins, maybe it was “the most laid back studio in Hong Kong” (MY) but the loyalty and dedication was special in all of these places. Maybe, because of a different setting and a little different way of working it was more corporate at Haldanes or at Adityas place. It certainly had a pragmatic team oriented democratic feeling at Lunars.

As mentioned above Michael Youngs studio here in Hong Kong is said to be very relaxed in comparison to others around, very laid back and yet there is this special energy of Michael himself, his dynamics and way of approaching things, in my opinion much more wary than one would think at the first impression. What is interesting, at least that is my impression, the more personal and respectful the relations in the studio get, which includes trust and a certain freedom in having ones own speed in developing a project, the more loyal and devoted the input of each of the team becomes. Michael Youngs studio was a good example of that, a very well organized working place,  fueled by him, his energy, his creativity and at the same time doesn’t seem to need him to funktion just as well.

Prada watching us leave Michael Youngs studio

Prada watching us leave Michael Youngs studio

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But of course we found some stereotypes of Hong Kong China as well, adjectives like efficient, fast, energetic, industrial - words used by Andrew one of the industrial designers at MY, born and raised in Hong Kong, to describe this city and it’s working ethic. He confirmed, that Michael Youngs studio is very special, relaxed, so you do have full concentrated days, but unlike other places, you dont work too much overtime, which is normal in Hong Kong - and not healthy as he would add. If you consider the output of this studio, then it seems like working overtime is no guarantee for the qualitity and amount of work to get done.

After leaving Hong Kong, as swift and easy as arriving, we flew to Tokyo. Even so we found our way into the city, the right neighbourhod and hotel al right, things are much more confusing than Hong Kong. What a crazy contrast, if we reflect on the last ten days, almost two weeks now - Delhi, flat, hot, humid, dirty, intense and still wonderful, the moment you get used to all the crazyness; Hong Kong, dense, steep hills, packed, less dirty, good to get out, no green, english language, well organized, no fan of chinese food, but still in awe of the density architecture wise; and now Tokyo, endless in size, abrupt changes in scale, flower pots everywere, wonderful little gardens, amazing parks, no english, difficulties to buy a metro ticket, friendly helpful patient people, very clean, refined, wonderful food, so many people!

Tokyo, view from Mori Tower

Tokyo, view from Mori Tower

view from Mori Tower again

view from Mori Tower again

Yesterday we almost went nuts while trying to find the right exit of Shibuya Station - I swear, that everytime we came over ground it looked exactly the same, a bus station, some high buildings, endless flashing advertisement on the buldings…

Shibuya

Shibuya

Today we are going to meet our last designer of this trip and project, Ichiro Iwasaki at the university he is teaching at. Tomorrow we will go to his studio and hopefully spent more time there than planned so far.

A personal experience while constantly moving through different time zones and this time only going east: on every flight farther east we lost time, many hours, a couple of hours, ine hour, had to preset our watches, but the feeling became certaine, that it is impossible to catch up with the lost hours. They are lost forwever and your body has a very hard time overcoming that loss. Actually, in each new city we want to sleep even longer, in a senseless hope or search of regaining time.