Mar 31, 2011|
My childhood was full of fun. I lived with my parents and siblings in a public housing estate.
We had quite a big balcony. In the old days, the platform was a step lower than the rest of the flat, so we could add water and turn it into a mini leisure pool.
I lived in a family of businessmen. My dad was so busy with his foreign trade work that he had little time for me.
The free environment allowed me to follow my own ideas.
I enjoyed drawing theme parks and playgrounds, and I loved to tell stories to my younger siblings based on those pictures.
Our dining table became our house and we hid ourselves under it. We rocked chairs like we were riding horses.
I named myself “Freeman,” not because of “Crying Freeman,” the famous Japanese comic book. I flipped through a book called “Naming Babies” in a bookstore and the name “Freeman” caught my attention, so I picked it.
When I was in middle school, I was attracted to many design-related books, especially articles by Kan Tai-keung, an extraordinary local designer.
He integrates Chinese arts such as paper cutting into his designs. He made me delve into the aesthetic world of design.
I remember I went to an exhibition at City Hall, and that was the first time I met Kan Tai-keung. I was surprised to notice that the bag he carried was the same brand and color as mine. I couldn’t help laughing out loud, I was so happy.
After I graduated, I didn’t want to look around for jobs. My teacher introduced me to Kan, saying that the “fat boy” would go to him for a job interview.
My dream came true when I got into Kan’s company. I later became the partner of Kan & Lau Design Consultants in 1996. We have had such a long-term relationship, one that you usually only find between husband and wife.
My “Chairplay” series is the most representative of my creations. My conceptual approach to chair design might alter someone’s perception about daily objects.
I don’t really tailor-make chairs for my friends, but I have given a lot of my works to them, mainly as wedding gifts. There are twin chairs that are joined together, or the chair legs are intertwined. The pieces can be separated, so the couple can each take one when they divorce. Okay, I am just kidding.
My favorite chair is my comfy sofa at home where I can lie down lazily.
My sculpture, “Searching for Position” was made on the verge of the reunification of Hong Kong and China. I wanted to address the problem in searching for the right positions of individuals and the society before and after 1997.
I am an environmental advocate. I helped Friends of the Earth, WWF, and 30 Hour Famine to do design work. Doing design means consuming a lot of wood. I have to make sure the wood I use comes from a forest with natural renewable resources and an international certification.
I made a curvaceous design for Watson’s Water. I didn’t want it to be just a bottle, but something that represents a lifestyle. How we drink water shouldn’t be the same as putting gas in a car. We should enjoy the process, and I think the bottle should have a nice outline, be easy to grip and have a cap that can be used as a cup.
How do I define a successful designer? I believe one cannot only have passion towards design, but to love a lot of different things and get inspiration from them.
Hong Kong is a good place for designers. We just have to get back to the basics of a more appropriate education to nurture designers.
My best piece of work so far? Of course, it hasn’t been made yet.