deTour 2021 details “Use(fu)less” design festival | News Direct

deTour 2021 details “Use(fu)less” design festival A simultaneous showcase of virtual and physical exhibitions in celebration of the annual event


facebook icon linkedin icon twitter icon pinterest icon email icon HONG KONG SAR | December 06, 2021 05:37 AM Eastern Standard Time


HONG KONG SAR - Media OutReach - 6 December 2021 - deTour 2021, Hong Kong’s design festival, makes its annual returns to central PMQ from 26 November to 12 December. Organised at PMQ and sponsored by Create Hong Kong, the 2021 deTour festival is a collaborative effort between local creative Shin Wong with Trilingual Design’s Chris Tsui and Adonian Chan that links the virtual with the physical through interactive exhibitions, design seminars and workshops under the singular theme “Use(fu)less”. Though rudimentary concepts and thinking, the exhibition encourages audiences to actively rethink the very basic functions of design.






deTour 2021 is divided into three main exhibitions presented via 37 workshops and 12 design lectures in both virtual and physical formats, available to the public for free:

International Collaboration: Sputniko! “Red Silk of Fate – The Shrine”

There’s a single common symbol that ties together Chinese, Japanese and Korean mythologies: the “Red Silk of Fate”. Believed to be tied by the gods to two people that are destined to be together.

It is the common subject for Japanese-British artist Sputniko!, who has brought the symbol to life with biotech scientists from NIAS, spun by engineered silkworms and injected with the social-bonding love hormone, oxytocin. Featured through a selection of mediums, from costume design to Japanese short films, each offers an alternative possibility and potential to the red silk thread.

For deTour 2021, especially Sputniko! has collaborated with local design firm, Napp Studio & Architects, for a brand-new reimagining of this mythical silk thread. Carefully ribboned through a piece of fabric, the piece is folded to replicate an ancient shrine that’s dedicated to love. It carries new meanings of beliefs and desires, emotions and purpose. Backed by diffused lighting to mimic the soft glow of moonlight, guests are encouraged to admire the ornate floral patterns, and with the ancient lore still fresh in mind, reflect on the meaning of emotion and connection during the time of social distancing, and how innovative biotechnology has granted new meanings to time-honoured tales.

Curators’ Choice: Four design installations that present the power of collaboration


  • Philosophy x Design: I know not what CAFÉ (Upper left)


Your everyday coffee run is transformed as an experiment; a captivating performance. In “I know not what CAFÉ, designed by Dr Li Hong Ting from local initiative Corrupt The Youth and local designer Renatus Wu, the ordinary coffee-shop experience is completely renewed.


Wherever your go-to spot may be, it is the cup of coffee that defines the experience –– design often relegated to a second after-thought. “I know not what CAFÉ” flips this traditional model and brings design to the forefront to demonstrate how the subtle function of spatial design can shape the coffee shop experience –– and personal perspectives –– as a whole.


  • Sound x Design: The Interpreter (Upper right)


Just like a piece of virtuosic music, language has its own rhythm and beat. Listen closely and you’ll notice a change in languages will show a change in prosodic patterns: English, for example, is stress-timed, meaning some syllables are longer; others shorter. Cantonese, on the other hand, is syllable-timed, with syllables all of equal lengths; introducing an unmistakable sense of rhythm in every conversation.


“The Interpreter” explores the space between sound and music. Ideated by instrument designer Ng Chak Lam of Oblik Soundwork with Sociolinguist Dr Jackie Jia Lou, this sound installation records casual dialogue and transposes into a series of sounds and rhythms performed by a band of musical instruments that repositions everyday conversation into melodic musicals.


  • Typography X Design: Type–11 (Lower left)


Does typography matter?


This three-part showcase from psychologist Dr Cheung Sing Hang, typographer Keith Tam and graphic designer Mak Kai Hang, is presented via Type-11, a convenience store that explores the presence of typography in our everyday lives. It introduces real-life decisions that typographers face when designing for various situations:


How do minor design decisions influence particular perceptions for the efficiency of communication? Type-11 invites viewers to share their own preferences as readers and discuss common typeset issues when reading different circumstances, i.e traditional print from a screen.


  • Sports x Design: Strong Hold Pavilion (Lower right)


The growing popularity of bouldering has opened up new avenues for a deeper understanding of the sport. Indoor bouldering, for example, relies on more conversation and communication of discussions regarding climbing routes and techniques in comparison to outdoor climbing. More importantly, it allows encouragement that can effectively motivate climbers to push further.


Hong Kong rock climbing athlete, Au Chi Fung, joins sustainable designer, Match Chen, in the creation of “Strong Hold Pavilion”, an experimental installation that explores the effectiveness of team camaraderie and verbal motivation. Can the presence of a full team push you further than an individual practice? Guided by a common training technique in sport climbing –– “hang-boarding” –– viewers are challenged to physically put this theory to the test and discover the “useful” and ‘uselessness” of team camaraderie and verbal motivation in the occasion of self-performance.


Selected Entries: 10 locally sourced design groups share creative angles

deTour has always operated as an inspiration space for creativity and open exchange between various design facets. This year’s open call entries were met with an enthusiastic response, receiving over 120 design proposals. Along with professional design teams, this year’s deTour 2021 extended to design students. 10 exhibitors were selected based on the 2021 “Use(fu)less” theme and covers an extensive range of concepts including living environment, technology, interpersonal relationship and spatial design. Two highlights include:

  • “ELDER”, designed by JONO Craftspace (Left) - Inspired by the bones in our bodies, “ELDER” reimagines the basic framework of the human figure through the lens of precision manufacturing borne out of the Industrial Revolution. Wood scraps are ingeniously engineered with bionics to replicate the spine, with industry hardware posing as tendons and muscles. It presents a moving art installation that asks, “Can we replicate function shapes of bones in design?” Like those in the human body, the ‘bones’ are subjected to “evolution” overtime to learn new functions –– in this case, the adding of connecting parts impart new meaning and a structural purpose to defunct pieces of wood.
  • “Work in the Woods” (Right) - Ideated by three architects, Anson Kwan, Jackie Cheung and Ryan Tung, who collectively graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture at the University of London, “Work in the Woods” subjects its viewer to a futuristic look into a mixed work-life reality in Hong Kong’s micro apartments. Inspired by the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, changing realities have prompted us to reassess how we live in the future, with a growing desire to work from home. Redefining the meaning of a traditional workspace, “Work in the Woods” reimagines a space that is intuitive and physical to transform banal working routines.


Special Exhibition: Sci-Fi artist Lucy McRae on the future of human existence

To encourage further reflection on an item’s intrinsic Use(fu)less”, deTour 2021 invites world-renowned Sci-Fi artist and body architect, Lucy McRae. She is widely known for her thought-provoking pieces that comment on the future state of humankind through installations, photography, artificial intelligence, edible technology and film.


At PMQ, McRae shares five of her most iconic pieces that reflect this subject through exploring various limits of the body, beauty, biotechnology and the self. It’s a continuation of her exploration of the cultural and emotional impact on science and technology in redesigning the body and the state of the “Future” viewed while questioning “Who am I?”


A virtual exploration of exhibitions and design dialogues at deTour


As exhibitions at deTour are available in both physical and virtual formats, it has allowed deTour to become a destination for design enthusiasts near and afar. The installations are all accessible online through the official website, which is dissected into a short explanation and an accompanying audio track. The track can be played and paused throughout for easy addition of noted connotations at points where the listener feels are useful or useless — fitting into the design festival overall theme “Use(fu)less”. For digital visitors, design dialogues are available online and easily accessed via YouTube. It is these interactive features that have allowed deTour to bring a successful, multi-faceted experience to a wider audience.

For more information on virtual design festivals, please check back on social media.


For more information on the deTour2021 Design Festival, please visit: 

Opening Hours for deTour 2021 Design Festival:

Date: 26 November 2021 - 12 December 2021

(Official showing of Sputniko! “Red Silk of Fate – The Shrine” on 27 November)

Time: 11am to 8pm (11am to 4pm on 26 November)

Address: PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, Hong Kong

Price: Free Entry

About deTour 2021 Virtual Festival:

Date: From now till 31 Dec 2021



About deTour Design Festival


Organized by PMQ and sponsored by Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, deTour is an annual design festival in Hong Kong celebrating the works and ideas of local and overseas designers and creative talent. An event borne to connect the local and international design communities, deTour boosts a curated line-up of exhibitions, workshops, dialogues, debates, and networking events, invites both the public and design professionals to engage and experience design in various perspectives.


Devoted to supporting local design talent, deTour stands as an unparalleled collaborative design festival for local and overseas designers through enabling the realisation of creative sparks to design solutions. At deTour, everyone is encouraged to witness and explore the unwavering role of design for a better tomorrow.





About PMQ


Located in the heart of Hong Kong’s SoHo, PMQ is the landmark of creative industries in Asia’s World City. PMQ has been revived into a creative hub since 2014, housing over 100 Hong Kong Designers, showcasing workshops and studios featuring lifestyle, fashion and accessories, architecture, gifts & premium, homeware and a wide range of other designer goods. Today, PMQ has become the creative platform in supporting up and coming creative talent as well as fostering a community of patrons and lovers of creativity, design and heritage. It is also the hottest venue in town for international arts and cultural events from Hong Kong and all around the world.



About Create Hong Kong


Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) is a dedicated agency set up by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR Government) in June 2009. It is under the Communications and Creative Industries Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau and dedicated to spearheading the development of creative industries in Hong Kong. Its strategic foci are nurturing talent and facilitating start-ups, exploring markets, and promoting Hong Kong as Asia’s creative capital and fostering a creative atmosphere in the community. CreateHK has been sponsoring PMQ to organize deTour and other projects to promote Hong Kong’s design.


Disclaimer: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region provides funding support to the project only, and does not otherwise take part in the project. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these materials/events (or by members of the project team) are those of the project organizers only and do not reflect the views of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Communications and Creative Industries Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, Create Hong Kong, the CreateSmart Initiative Secretariat or the CreateSmart Initiative Vetting Committee.


Contact Details


Ivy Chau


+852 9805 0437



Jeff Man


+852 9096 3411