Designer times it right with souvenir

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 January, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 January, 1998, 12:00am

One of the high points in the designing career of Dennis Chan (above) was when he was chosen to create the official government souvenir for the handover ceremony - an elegant watch with simple lines and a shiny dial to reflect the SAR's bright future.

Made from chrome and with a black leather strap, the watch has become a collector's item.

A product designer who has achieved international acclaim in art circles for his blend of aesthetics and design, Dennis says design is very different from art.

'Design has to appeal to everybody and it has to sell. Good design arises from need and it therefore has to be functional and available to everybody at the right price.' Price is something Dennis keeps a close eye on when marketing his products. 'There are many products which are designed by famous people which are too expensive and cannot be enjoyed by everybody.' Dennis must be on the right track - his products are featured in design stores around the world, including the museum shops of the Louvre in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney and the Suntory Museum in Osaka, Japan.

Among many of Dennis' accolades, he was the winner of a competition to design Taiwan's public telephone booths.

So where does he get his inspiration from? 'Mostly from my travels, which I do a lot. For example, I went to the North Pole and saw these amazing igloos. So I came back and designed a square, transparent clock which would remind me of the ice blocks the eskimos used in their igloos.'