Conferences set to make it a creative November

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 12 November, 2004, 12:00am

Creativity will be to the fore in the next few weeks as Hong Kong plays host to three international cultural and design conferences.

Dozens of the biggest names in their fields will join officials and politicians from across Asia in what has been dubbed 'Creative November'.

'It looks like a Formula One race,' says John Bowden, former director of the Hong Kong Design Centre. 'It makes Hong Kong look important.'

The first will be the government-sponsored Asia Cultural Co-operation Forum 2004 (Creative Asia), followed by the Design Centre's Business of Design Week 2004 (Lifestyle Asia), and finally the International Herald Tribune's Luxury 2004 (The Lure of Asia).

'As a place, as a people, we need to push design forward,' says Freeman Lau, chairman of the Hong Kong Design Centre's board of directors.

'We have the four key factors: professional designers, government support in the form of the Trade Development Council, a strong educational system and a strong business sector. The result is we are able to host international-level conferences.'

Creative Asia, which runs from Sunday to Wednesday, is an exchange among nine Asian countries, including a big delegation from the mainland.

Speakers include Antony Spanbrook, the creative mind behind the opening and closing ceremonies at the Athens Olympics, and Thomas Krens, director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, whose company has proposed building a museum in the West Kowloon cultural district.

Overlapping this conference from Tuesday to next Sunday will be Lifestyle Asia, with the underlying theme that good design makes good business sense.

It will feature a video conference with architect and product designer Philippe Starck, as well as addresses by two leading architects - Japan's Tadao Ando and American Frank Gehry, designer of Swire Properties' failed West Kowloon project bid.

Luxury 2004, on December 1 and 2, explores the dominance of luxury brands in Asia, and will examine design from fashion, branding and retail perspectives. It will feature Bernard Arnault, chairman of the LVMH Group, Handel C.H. Lee, co-chairman of Shanghai's Three on the Bund, and fashion designer Paul Smith.