PDA Juror's Q&A: Hong Kong veteran with acumen for business and design

24 Jul 2013  •  6 min read

Mr Freeman Lau 

Practitioner-turned-advocate Freeman Lau has “design” coursing through his veins. The 30-year veteran of the industry has successfully melded in a marvellous way, the arts, culture and design with business acumen. 

This winning combination is elusive to many. Mr Lau is intent on helping to change the situation. He is at the vanguard of promoting the development of the design industry in Hong Kong and China. He engages tirelessly in projects, exchange programmes, seminars and talks to share his wisdom and experience. 

Mr Lau is vice-chairman of the board of directors at the Hong Kong Design Centre; and a partner at Kan & Lau Design Consultants. He is a multiple-award winning (last counting: over 300) recipient for his design work covering books, products and installations. 

Mr Lau will attend next week’s Jurors’ Session of the President’s Design Award 2013 in Singapore. He is a Jury Co-chair in the Visual Communications and

Fashion Design category. DesignSingapore Council touched base with him in advance of his visit, to ask his thoughts on design and other matters close to his heart. 

Hong Kong design is mainly a combination of elements from the East and West. 

Three must-go places to see and experience world-class, contemporary Hong Kong design: 
• Hong Kong Design Institute campus (by Coldefy & Associés Architectes Urbanistes). • Jockey Club Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (campus for the School of Design by Zaha Hadid Architects). 
• Pacific Place Shopping Mall (by Thomas Heatherwick). 

My personal style signifier is my Chairplay series. 

An artistic pursuit I have not tried but would be keen to do is calligraphy. 

A word I use frequently is 正 (zheng) or “excellent” in Cantonese. 

A recent re-discovery is bamboo as a material. 

I’d like to design a bamboo house filled with bamboo items. 

A recent gift I purchased was the Five Elements tea caddy set I designed for Royal Selangor. It was a wedding present for my friend’s daughter. 

When I last looked into the mirror, I thought: “Today is a fine day.” 

The most important lesson in life is that tomorrow will be a better day. 

COMING UP: What’s growing in her garden? We ask Lisa Switkin who landscaped the High Line in New York City. Read the next PDA Juror’s Q&A: Monday, 29 July. 

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