DFA Awards Announces 2017 Winners Showcasing The Greatest Talents and Projects

Blogged by @Lan 
For Hong Kong Design Centre/DFA Awards
Photos by Hong Kong Design Centre/DFA Awards

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(HONG KONG, 31 October 2017)

As a hub of creative talents, Hong Kong paves the way for design industry and celebrates those who push creative boundaries. This year, DFA Awards recognises over 200 creative talents and the most innovative design projects with the potential to improve the quality and vibrancy of life in Asia through the creation of globally sustainable ideas. The DFA Awards, through its five major award programmes, is highly recognised among local and international design professionals and experts.

Talents from around the globe have been awarded the followings: one DFA Lifetime Achievement Award, one DFA Design Leadership Award, one DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer, 186 DFA Design for Asia Awards and 17 DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award.

Organised by The Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) with Create Hong Kong of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government as the major sponsor, DFA Awards presentation ceremonies will take place on 6 and 8 December 2017 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The Awards offers a stage to some of the most dedicated talents, encouraging the growth of creative industry and providing a platform to establish networks with influential designers and business

“The mission of the Hong Kong Design Centre is to celebrate talents and good designs that improve quality of life, promote social innovation and preserve cultural heritage. After decade-long efforts, the Awards has become one of the most prestigious and important awards in the design industry, and we are delighted to see so many entries that were aimed to address environmental and sustainability issues. This year, the DFA Design for Asia Awards saw a 15% increase in submissions, while the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award received a rise of 9% in submissions.” said Professor Eric Yim, Chairman of the HKDC.

Honours to Design Giants

Design is beyond aesthetics, and it presents an attitude, innovative thinking and creative confidence by the designers. The DFA Awards underpins the roles of designers in society and to celebrate design leadership and exemplary design in Asia. As the highest honour and recognition to design leaders, the DFA Lifetime Achievement Award 2017 is conferred to the international acclaimed fashion designer Mr. Yohji YAMAMOTO, while the DFA Design Leadership Award 2017 goes to the influential hospitality leader Mr. Adrian ZECHA, and the communication design giant Mr. Alan CHAN is honoured with the DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer.

DFA Lifetime Achievement Award (DFA LAA)
The Award recognises an individual who has made life-long contributions to the design profession, with visionary shaping designs across a variety of fields, and who uses design to educate and promote wider use of design in society.


LA_John Heskett_A

For 45 years, YAMAMOTO has been working in the fashion industry. Renowned for his avant-garde style, his unique designs have graced international runways since his debut in Tokyo in 1977. He presented his first collection in Paris in 1981. In 2002, he was appointed as the creative director for Y-3. YAMAMOTO’s dedication to the fashion industry has been recognised the world over, and awarded lots of honours including the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters, the highest honour in arts and culture in France.

DFA Design Leadership Award (DFA DLA)
The Award is presented to a corporate leader who consistently demonstrates outstanding business performance, supports the design development in his organisation and the international community.

Adrian ZECHA
Non-executive Chairman of General Hotel Management
Founder of Azerai Hotels
Founder of Amanresorts


ZECHA is one of the world’s leading creators and operators of award-winning, distinctive luxury hotels and resorts. As the founder of world famous Amanresorts, and in a career spanning more than 45 years, he has founded a series of hotel management companies and conceived and developed more than one hundred hotels. He is recognised globally as one of the foremost visionaries within the hospitality industry. In 2017, ZECHA and his team under a new management structure, launched Azerai, a hotel brand positioned as a new benchmark in affordable luxury.

DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer (DFA WOCD)
It awards a Chinese designer who has an exceptional track record for quality and success, is involved in academic exploration or practical application, and displays a strong social conscience.

Designer, Brand Consultant and Artist
Founder of Alan Chan Design Company


CHAN started his career in the advertising industry as design apprentice in 1970, and attended a 10-month design course in evening school after graduating from secondary school, before starting his own company in 1980. As a designer, brand consultant and artist, CHAN and his company have won more than 600 local and international awards during his 47 years in advertising and design. The ‘Oriental Passion Western Harmony’ design philosophy he initiated has been well-recognised by the international design scene, and has had a major influence on younger generations of designers.

Salutation to Design Excellence

The DFA Design for Asia Awards aims to raise awareness about the value of good design as an essential component in quality of life for a betterment. Measured by four perspectives, namely, impact in Asia, overall excellence, use of technology, as well as commercial and societal success, it appreciates and celebrates the designs that embodies Asian aesthetics and affects the world so as to bring about new design trends. In 2017, it received more than 1,000 entries from over 23 economies, a reflection of the awards prestige and the growth of Asian design power, with the highest entry number from Mainland China and closely followed by Hong Kong.

The judging panel comprised of industry leaders and experts recognised 186 design projects for their design excellence, including 16 Grand Awards and 170 awards from four design disciplines (a total of 26 categories) in Category Award, while Japan tops the leaderboard, followed by Mainland China and Hong Kong.

Cultivating New Design Force

As the design hub in Asia, Hong Kong is always a window to the international stage and the DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award (DFA HKYDTA) is an important platform recognising local young design talents, aged 35 or below, and serving to maintain the city’s competitiveness. This year, 17 design practitioners or graduates are awarded. 13 out of the 17 awardees will receive a financial sponsorship amount up to HKD500,000 for six-to-twelve-month overseas work attachment or study to further stimulate design thinking and thus contributing to Hong Kong’s ever-expanding creative industry upon return.

DFA Awards events in December 2017:
6 Dec-Presentation Ceremony of DFA Design for Asia Awards and DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award
7 Dec-DFA: Design for Asia Summit at Business of Design Week
8 Dec-Presentation Ceremony of DFA Lifetime Achievement Award, DFA Design Leadership Award and DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer
7-9 Dec-DFA Awards exhibition at DesignInspire at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre

DFA Design for Asia Awards 2017


Vibram Furoshiki The Wrapping Sole
Winning Company: Vibram S.P.A.

Grand_Vibram Furoshiki The Wrapping Sole

Drawing inspiration from the eponymous traditional Japanese wrapping cloth used to transport carefully prepared bento boxes, gifts for loved ones, or even commercial goods, the Vibram Furoshiki. The Wrapping Sole is a revolutionary new footwear that literally wraps around your feet, enabling the most anatomically tailored fit and support possible. The design focus was placed on unifying shoes sizes. And with the Italian-designed Eurojersey elastic fabric strips extending out from the dynamically structured Vibram XS City compound sole are instrumental to ensuring comfort and support.

The Edible Business Card
Winning Company: Geometry Global Japan

Grand_The Edible Business Card

The Saga Prefecture on Kyushu Island is the national leader of seaweed aquaculture. Nonetheless, many Japanese do not seem to know the provenance of their seaweed. In order to reinforce the image of Saga as the national leader of seaweed, making a business card out of a sheet of seaweed was finalised as the ultimate and unique marketing tool. For this daring and unprecedented attempt, the city had enlisted engineers who spent 2 months to try out laser cutting technology on seaweed. Both thinning and cutting were thoroughly experimented in order to create artwork, characters, numbers, and letters of the alphabet for the card’s contents.

Open House at Central Embassy / Thailand
Winning Company: Klein Dytham architecture

Grand_Open House at Central Embassy

Open House, a self-described village of spaces, including a bookstore, bars, lounges, restaurants, a children’s zone, co-working spaces, pop-ups, stores, and an art tower. It is an integrated lifestyle space that cater to various needs, and its dramatic juxtaposition of double height ceilings and amenities built on a human scale makes it a space where people want to work and stay for long. Instead of the box-like retail spaces, Open House’s businesses coalesce around the bookstore. Visitors are free to browse, or sit down to enjoy a good read, or perhaps to enjoy a coffee or a mealwhen they feel like refueling.

Agri-Chapel / Japan
Winning Company: Momoeda Yu Architecture Office

Gold & Grand_Agri-Chapel

As people enter the Agri-Chapel, their eyeballs will assuredly be riveted by its intricate space frame truss work. The work evokes the pointed arches and rib vaults of the Oura Catholic Church, Nagasaki’s Roman Catholic Basilica, which is believed to be Japan’s oldest. There are three layers of pillars. The bottom layer consists of four pillars, and each of which branches out to form eight diagonal frames. Made mainly out of lumber, the frames are reinforced with steel rods. Immense glass walls on all four sides of the chapel brings natural lights in, and as the natural landscape is clearly visible throughout the open floor plan.

kaleidoscopic ivy – SOGETSU 90TH ANNIVERSARY AKANE
Winning Company: nendo + onndo

Gold & Grand_kaleidoscopic ivy...

For Master Akane Teshigahara’s solo exhibition to celebrate Sogetsu School’s 90th Anniversary, designer created a design that playfully yet elegantly drew people, ikebana, and the venue into one integral space. The design is a bold departure from tradition as it features a large-scale ivy-like installation of myriad of mirrors overlaying a stone garden, created by the late landscape architect Isamu Noguchi. Dubbed the “Ivy of mirrors,” each leaf was individually fitted to the vine. These 40,000 metallic ivy leaves reflect the colours, figures, and textures of both the stone garden and the ikebana works, creating a kaleidoscopic effect.

Redefining the District – Thailand Creative & Design Center /
Winning Company: Thailand Creative & Design Center

Grand_Redefining the District - Thailand Creative & Design Center

Starting from May 2017, the Thailand Creative and Design Center (TCDC) has moved to the Grand Postal Building signals a creative direction for Thailand. The Center reconnects the design and creative communities with the historical riverfront road and neighbourhood. The repurposed building boasts over 9,000 m2 , in which six functional zones engage the TCDC’s users and visitors and provide them with what they need to help wean Thailand off its dependence on low labour costs and low-end service industry jobs. The building’s rooftop is transformed into a garden, giving users a much needed space to relax and get their creative juices flowing again.

Mobike Classic
Winning Company: Mobike
Mainland China

Grand_Mobike Classic

Mobike is the world’s first and largest smart bike-sharing company. Its mission is to bring more bikes to more cities, using its innovative technology to make cycling the most convenient and environmentally-friendly transport choice for urban residents. Using specially designed bikes equipped with GPS and proprietary smart-lock technology, Mobike enables users of its smartphone app to find a bike near them, reserve and unlock it. In the first year of operation, there were more than five million smart bicycles making 20 million rides every day in over 150 cities. Mobike users have collectively reduced CO2 emissions by as much as 610,000 tonnes.

Winning Company: Yamaha Corporation


Yamaha’s latest electric violin, the YEV series, combines superb playability with a stunningly beautiful and revolutionary design that is guaranteed to stun audiences from any angle. Inspired from the organic beauty of wood and the simplicity of clean lines, the YEV series combines the comfort of ergonomic design with Yamaha’s innovations into a truly gorgeous live-performance instrument. By analysing the acoustic sound of prototypes and different materials, and then refining the design according to feedback, Yamaha was able to pinpoint the essential elements for functionality and playability, and restructure the composition in a violin that eliminated the instrument’s resonance chamber.


Xperia Touch
Winning Company: Sony Mobile Communications Inc. & Sony

Grand & Grand Award for Technology_Xperia Touch

The Xperia Touch liberates users from competing for a tablet’s screen space. Through opening up the display surface, a small group of users, be them family, friends, or colleagues, may now see the projected content and even act on it together without the use of consoles, mice, or keyboards. The Xperia Touch has a human ring to it: using one’s own fingers or palm on the projected image is not only easier and more engaging, but the communal bond created by sharing the virtual screen, completing a task, and playing a game together with one’s own hands also brings the individuals closer.


Malaysia Design Archive
Winning Company: Malaysia Design Archive

Grand Award for Culture_Malaysia Malaysia Design Archive

Malaysia Design Archive (MDA) started with an idea: that art and design are not just about aesthetics, but carry meanings and values communicated in a particular space and time. MDA started collecting design artefacts through Malaysia’s history – from searching through antique flea markets, the National Archive, getting in touch with collectors to digging wide and deep online. The artifacts were then categorised, analysed and shared. Since it first started in 2008, MDA has become the most comprehensive online digital repository on Malaysian visual culture. Events such as talks and exhibitions are held at MDA to attract contributions in the form of expertise, volunteers, funds, and even new entries.


Smog Free Project / Mainland China
Winning Company: Studio Roosegaarde

Gold & Grand Award for Sustainability_Smog Free Project

During one of Daan Roosegaarde’s visit to Beijing, the ancient capital was blanketed in a severe episode of smog and haze, allowing the artist to experience the first hand environmental impact on people of all ages and from all walks of life. Taking cues from ionic air purifiers now popular for household use, Roosegaarde proposes a quicker fix. With the patented positive ionization technology, the Smog Free tower is proven to trap and remove up to 70% of PM10 and 50% of PM2.5 from the air that flows through the filter. The smog particles are then compressed and turned into a Smog Free Ring.


Grand_with_Special Metion_Enabling Village

Enabling Village/SG Enable Ltd/Singapore

Grand_with_Special Metion_Gold Phantom

Gold Phantom/Devialet Limited/Hong Kong

Grand_with_Special Metion_SeMA Green nalgae.pati Exhibition

SeMA Green nalgae.pati Exhibition/Seoul Museum of Art/South Korea

Grand_with_Special Metion_The Warehouse Hotel

The Warehouse Hotel/Asylum Creative Pte Ltd/Singapore

To read further the full list of Gold Award, Silver Award, Bronze Award, Merit Award and – DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award 2017, click the PDF document below.

2017-10-31 DFA Awards 2017 Appendix (EN) (1)


About DFA Awards

In 2003, the Hong Kong Design Centre launched the DFA Awards to underpin the role of designers in society, to celebrate design excellence with impact in Asia and for Asia, as well as to recognise the rising force of emerging designers in Hong Kong through its five-major award programmes – The DFA Lifetime Achievement Award signifies the design community’s respect for individuals who have made life-long contributions to design profession, education and the society.

The DFA Design Leadership Award recognises business leaders who create exceptional sustainable business success through strategic and innovative use of design. The DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer is a major accolade for designers of Chinese origin with significant design achievement and international recognition. The DFA Design for Asia Awards covers a wide range of design that embodies Asian aesthetics and culture and influences the design trends in Asia and for Asia. The DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award nurtures the development of local emerging designers and provides sponsorship for them to undertake work or further education overseas.

About Hong Kong Design Centre

Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) is a non-profit organisation founded in 2001 as a strategic partner of the HKSAR Government in establishing Hong Kong as centre of design excellence in Asia. HKDC pursues its public mission in using design and innovation to drive the value creation of business development and improve the well-being of society through the provision of diverse innovation-oriented knowledge sharing and by providing diverse exchange platforms, anchored by five major work directions: CONNECT, CELEBRATE, NURTURE, ADVANCE and ENGAGE.

HKDC’s flagship programmes include Business of Design Week (since 2002) – Asia’s leading annual conference and event on Design, Innovation and Brands; the DFA Awards (since 2003) – the most recognised design awards from an Asian perspective; the Design Incubation Programme (since 2012) and Fashion Incubation Programme (since 2016) – a two-year incubation programme to nurture future design and fashion entrepreneurs; Fashion Asia Hong Kong (since 2016) – a new initiative combining conversations, interactions and cultural exchanges to energise the city’s image, and positioning it as an Asian hub for fashion trade and business development; and Knowledge of Design Week (since 2006) – an annual thematic design knowledge sharing platform on how design can solve the complex challenges facing our society.


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