Start: Monday 14 July, 2014
Finish: Saturday 26 July, 2014

Hong Kong 2014: Feast of the Senses

Students of our first short course in design and architecture in Hong Kong created a sensory installation comprising of a lightweight sculptural canopy and richly textured concrete furniture. Marking the start of an international educational collaboration between London-based design collective STORE and Hong Kong organisations Woodrite, CTU Education Foundation and MODA, the installation provides seating and shade for a previously disused roof terrace at the CTU Education Foundation’s multidisciplinary training facility in Kwai Chung.

The installation was designed and built in five days to a budget of just £500 by local students with little or no architectural background. Taking as our brief ‘the Feast of the Senses’, students were encouraged to look beyond visual aesthetics and to privilege touch, taste, sound and smell in their designs. Tutors began by working with students individually to explore the stimulation of specific senses through simple devices shaped around the human body. Students were then asked to synthesise their personal explorations into a single proposal.

Marrying their conceptual interests with a long-term brief, our students orchestrated an animated (soundscape) landscape for the culmination of the summer school. As the generic white scaffold netting of the two canopies billowed in the evening breeze, a collection of finely cast concrete (instruments struck against and splashed within a landscape of shallow concrete basins) objects provided particular vantage points of the suspended space above. For the rest of the summer, concrete seats cast with the imprint of local vegetation sit in sharp textural contrast with the softly undulating canopy above, which provides much needed shade.

Throughout the course, students benefited from immersion in the HKCTU Educational Trust’s community of skilled craftsmen and the need to respond sensitively to the needs of a real client. Tuition emphasised the development of individual skill sets through individual portfolio tutorials, confident presentation in regular crits, and collaboration as tutors worked alongside students in the final construction phase.