Portraits online! International Design Workshop «Intencity» at Connecting Spaces Hong Kong

Meldung vom 23.07.2015 in der Kategorie Workshops

Workshop, March 23 – March 27, 2015 at Connecting Space Hong Kong

Prof. Michael Krohn – Head Master of Arts in Design, Zurich

For the first time, the International Design Workshop of the Master of Arts in Design moved to a prominent international location, the University’s «Connecting Spaces» in Hong Kong. The workshop offered the students an excellent opportunity to gain first-hand experience in one of Asia’s thriving global metropolises, and to collaborate with local designers, researchers, and artists.

Main topic of the workshop was «Intencity». Whereas the increasing density of cities and their conurbations are a subject of ongoing debate in Europe, life in the world’s important global metropolises has long been shaped by an intense complexity, which determines the perception of urban space and human behaviour. This complexity is perceived not merely as dense, but also as multioptional, multicultural, and spatially intertwined. In Hong Kong, spaces, media, information, and objects blend collage-like into comprehensive patterns whose structure, readability, and identification all become charged with meaning.

The «Intencity» workshop combined three core concepts of metropolis-based design work:

  1. Intensity: The intensity and diversity of lifestyles in which architecture, movement, and sound set the pace of everyday life.
  2. Density: The physical and cultural density of spaces and the human experiences within those spaces. The simultaneity of events, emotions, and objects.
  3. City: The city, whose cultural, social, and economic significance is experienced individually. The center to periphery dramaturgy and its particular possibilities and limits.

See working process during the workshop http://blog.zhdk.ch/intencity/


Michael Leung – designer, bee keeper and urban farmer, Hong Kong.

“I am interested in creating semi-fictional layers inspired by our perspective and inability to read and write Chinese, which gives us a very different lens of interpretation of the city.”

The Great Northern is an intense, semi-fictional and experimental workshop that takes place in North Point, a multi-cultural neighbourhood threaded by a network of monolithic bridges and meandering alleyways. The workshop encourages participants to absorb the North Point environment, discover its Southeast Asian diaspora and study curious objects and places of interest. Following a historical and cultural tour of the neighbourhood, each participant will build up their own interpretation of the neighbourhood and share these experiences collectively in Connected Spaces. From the depths of our imagination, participants will add a series of semi-fictional layers that will inspire a collection of multi-disciplinary responses in the form of fictional stories, narrative objects, cartography, installations, interventions, etc.


Dr. Yanki Lee, Albert Tsang and William Davis – designers and researchers at HKDI DESIS Lab for Social Design Research.

In 2012, Hong Kong was named as the most livable city of the world by the Economist Magazine in 2014, while the Umbrella Movement was happening in the city, Hong Kong was also named as the most inspiring city by the Good Magazine. As a social design research lab set up at the largest design school in Asia, we are interested to research resources for the city’s livability as well as the creativity of its citizens through design and its impact to new design practice.

Recently, providing subsidised homes for young people is one of the key social issues in Hong Kong, which was highlighted at our Chief Executive’s policy address. This workshop will kick-start with a unique experience for design students from the Zurich University about the typical social housing unit in Hong Kong, the 36.8m2 unit, in an abstract way. Thus, the team members will partner with HKDI students who are the representatives of Hong Kong youth to codesign the “dream village” on the public/communal spaces at the Hong Kong Design Institute. Expected outcome will be a video documentation of the design performance by European and local young people. Through the participation of different design disciplines, different representations of future dense-living space sharing between young people will be performed to explore how to age together.


Geraldine Borio – architect, Parallel Labs Hong Kong.

“As a newcomer to a city all the senses are open. We wanted to benefit of that and by extracting one sense see, how the students could interrupt the daily life of the people.”

Caroline Wuethrich – architect, Parallel Labs Hong Kong.

“The challenge of working in a different context. Hong Kong is such a fast moving place – you never can stand still, your tools have always to be shifted.”

When discovering a new place we often rely on our five senses to capture a direct knowledge about the environment. Through sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing we observe, analyze and evaluate the surroundings through the filter of our culture and education for slowly appropriating the place. The excitement we get from this experience is usually very different from our daily life practice. Our habits are taking over our sensitivity and creating a distance between our body and the context we are familiar with.

For this workshop Parallel Lab suggests to benefit from the sensorial one you will have as a foreigner in order to extract and re-intensify some aspects of the Hong Kong people‘s daily life. For that your five senses will guide you in the discovery of North Point‘s neighborhood, an area representative of the extreme city‘s congestion, where people and morphology are closely tied together. We will use the urban voids as a „sensorial boxes“ and develop tools/instruments to intensify the perception and usage of a place. By disturbing, exaggerating, diverting the users‘ daily life practice, we will explore with these installations the impact senses have on the behavior of people.


Kingsley Ng – interdisciplinary artist and lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong.

Intensity is typically a measure of the state or strength of intangible matters, such as light, energy, sound, or thoughts, emotions and activities; Hong Kong, a city known for its urban density and luminosity, citizenship movement and activities, is an ideal context to examine how these intangible matters create meanings or expressions beyond the semantics bounded by the physical presence.

Through a series of workshops, the participants will critically analyse intangible matters of the city, and to visualise and sonify the inquiry into a multi-channel audio-visual installation.


Hosoya Schaefer Architects & Conceptual Devices; Markus Schaefer, Antonio Scarponi, Lucas Krupp, Zurich.

Cities are places of exchange. They are catalysts for interactions – resulting in social differentiation and culture; and for transactions – allowing us to divide work, create complex value chains and markets. Our stable, secure, complex and culturally diverse life would be unthinkable without an urban culture.

Cities and their inhabitants also interact in manifold ways beyond a city’s boundaries. Cities are linked together into an urban system, which today spans the entire globe and affects all its territories in what some call a planetary urbanism.
The advent of modern communication technologies increased our reach and the diversity of our contacts and made some of the physical contact unnecessary. What does this mean for our daily lives? What proportion of it can be virtualized what needs to remain physical? Are there moments where the physical is an inevitable necessity? What is interaction density in a physical environment, what in a digital? How do both compare between two different cultures?

Using ZHdKs “Connecting Spaces” as an experimental setup, we will work with spaces, objects and the digital to look at identity, interaction, experience and meaning in urban space. In place of the many weak links Facebook allows us to have, is it possible to create a Book of Faces – physical, location specific, or also digital, interactive and narrative – that conveys the authenticity, serendipity and surreal wonder of a truly urban experience?

Aktualisiert am: 23. Februar 2017