Freeman Lau

Graphic Designer; Product/Industrial Designer / China / Kan & Lau Design Consultants, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Beijing

Born in 1958 in Hong Kong, Freeman Lau studied at Hong Kong Polytechnic, now Hong Kong Polytechnic University, highly regarded for its School of Design. Lau started his career at SS Design & Production, becoming its art director in 1985. In 1988, he joined Kan Tai-keung Design & Associates Ltd and became a founding partner of Kan & Lau Design Consultants, where he has worked since 1996.

Freeman Lau has won over 300 design awards since 1984, attesting to his international success. These awards include, among many others, the Silver Award at the International Book Design Exhibition, Leipzig Germany (1989); Bronze Award at Typodirectionim, Tokyo (1993); Outstanding Graphic Designer—The Louis Cartier Award of Excellence (1995); Porsche Design “Creative Energy” Award (1998); Golden Bee Awards, Moscow (2000); Singapore Design Award (2000); The Mayor of Nagahama Prize, Japan Poster Grandprix (2000); First Prize in the poster design competition for Beijing’s bid for the 2008 Olympic Games (2001); and Best Sport Poster, Lahti Poster Biennale, Finland (2001). His achievements were broadly recognized when he was included among the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (1997) and Outstanding PolyU Alumni Awards (2001).

In 2004, Lau achieved another milestone with his design of the Watsons Water bottle, which was later honored by the International Bottled Water World Design Awards (2004) and Outstanding Greater China Design Awards, Hong Kong Communication Art Centre (2006). With the Watsons design he created a model of symbiosis between art, culture, design, and business acumen, which significantly increased the brand’s market share. It is also regarded as a contribution to the local cultural movement, as creative talents from different sectors were invited to design iconic labels for the bottle. Many local citizens became more familiar with these talents through their designs for everyday products. Lau’s contributions to design have been recognized with awards including the Lifelong Design and Art Achievement Award in the 3rd (Jiajun) International Exhibition of Design and Art in China (2008); Achievement Award from the Art Design Institute at the China Academy of Art (2010), and University Fellow, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2011).

Freeman Lau has participated actively in events related to art and design. He has lectured in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, India, and many other venues. He was invited to speak in the Phoenix International Design Festival (2008); the 3rd (Jiajun) International Exhibition of Design and Art in China (2008); the 4th China (Shenzhen) International Cultural Industries Fair (ICIF) (2008); Creative HK in London (2008); the Victoria and Albert Museum (2008); the Helsinki Design Lab (HDL) of SITRA (2008); and the Portland Art Museum (2009) as well as at a seminar in Tokyo organized by the Association for Cultural Economics and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government (2011).

In 2011, Lau worked on two major exhibitions in Asia: “Ingenuity Follows Nature” and “Rethinking Bamboo.” “Ingenuity Follows Nature” was held in Taiwan during the 2011 IDA Congress and featured 40 designers from Taiwan and other Asian countries who were invited to create posters inspired by 24 calligraphic characters created by Tong Yang-tze, a renowned Taiwanese calligrapher. Over 100 million visitors attended the exhibition.

Freeman Lau was invited to become one the curators for Beijing International Design Triennial (BIDT) 2011. The theme of his pavilion was “Rethinking Bamboo.” Over 200 examples of bamboo products were collected from all around the world. A thorough and in-depth analysis about the impact of oriental culture on everyday bamboo items was conducted. The exhibition had more than 500,000 visitors.

Lau has served as chairman of Hong Kong Design Association (HKDA); and co-founded “Design: Hong Kong” in the 1990s. The major research report produced by “Design: Hong Kong” statistically proved the existence of design professions as a significant sector of the workforce, ushering in a new era of government respect for the Hong Kong design industry. Currently, Lau is the Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Design Centre. The Centre’s annual event, Business of Design Week (BoDW), is regarded as one of the most successful such events in Asia. Freeman Lau’s contribution to enhancing the identity of Hong Kong design was recognized by the Hong Kong government with the award of the Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2006.

Freeman Lau’s sculptural works and public artworks have gained wide acclaim. He was awarded first place in the Sculpture Section of Philippe Charriol’s Modern Art Competition (1992); and won the Contemporary Hong Kong Art Biennale Award (1994); Urban Council Sculpture Design Award (1994); Artist of the Year, Hong Kong Artists Guild (1997); and the International Fellowship and Residency Program (1997–98), among many other honors. He has been commissioned for creating artwork for public spaces, including the Hong Kong Central Library, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and Tung Chung Yat Tung Estate. His works have been exhibited and collected internationally by institutions such as the Arezzo company’s Museum of Contemporary Gold Jewelry in Italy, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Heritage Museum, and the University of Hawaii Art Gallery.

The “Chairplay” series is the most representative of his creations. His conceptual approach to chair design introduced a new way of perceiving these everyday objects. The series has been exhibited in Hong Kong; Beijing; Taipei; and at the DDD Gallery in Osaka, and the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture in Japan. In 2004, the series was awarded “Chair of the Year” in the Chair Design Competition held by Barrie Ho Collections. His chairs and poster designs earned the Gold Award from Hong Kong Design Association in 2005 and 2007. In 2008, “Chairplay II” was exhibited in both “China’s Space Soul—You•Xi” at the Yksi Expo, Designhuis, and Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. In 2009, “Search ‘Mo’ Chair” was exhibited in “X beyond O Calligraphy-Sign-Space” and his finest collections were exhibited at the Museum für Angewandte Kunst Frankfurt, Germany in the same year. Recently, Freeman Lau’s work appeared in a group exhibition, “Art vs. Art” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai. In 2011, his renowned “Chairplay” series was exhibited in “Chair Affection—Chairplay,” held at Tsinghua University. In 2010 and 2011, Freeman Lau was recognized at the Hong Kong International Poster Triennial and Red Dot Design Awards for “Chairligraphy”—a poster series derived from the concept of “Chairplay.”




自1984年起,劉小康獲香港及海外各獎項三百餘項,其中包括:1989年德國萊比錫最佳書籍設計銀奬、1993年東京字體協會銅獎、1995年路易·卡地亞卓越成就獎、1998年Porsche Design創意動力大獎、2000年莫斯科Golden Bee獎、新加坡設計奬、日本滋賀縣長濱市海豹比賽長濱市長賞、2001年北京申奧海報設計比賽第一名以及芬蘭拉赫蒂第十三屆國際海報雙年展之最佳體育海報獎。他在設計上的成就得到廣泛肯定,1997年當選全港十大傑出青年,2001年獲頒香港理工大學「傑出理大校友」獎。





劉氏於1990年代參與發起「設計與香港委員會」。其中,「設計與香港委員會」之重點研究,反映香港俱有人口從事涉及行業,並標誌著涉及行業發展的潛力。藉著相關研究,香港政府對涉及行業從業著的尊重大大提升。劉氏現擔任多間非牟利設計機構的領導職位,包括: 香港設計中心董事局副主席、香港設計總會秘書長等職位。中心的重要年度活動,設計營商周(BoDW)是亞洲最成功的同類活動之一。劉小康於2006年獲香港特別行政區政府頒授的銅紫荊勳章,以此肯定其在國際舞台上為提升香港設計形象所付出的努力。


其中,「椅子•戲」系列是劉最具代表性的作品。他從概念入手,顛覆了人們對日常生活品的認知。該系列在香港、北京、臺北以及日本大阪DDD畫廊和日本靜岡文化藝術大學展出。2004年,該系列贏得由周禮軒辦法的「年度最佳椅子」。2005年及2007年,劉設計的椅子及海報獲香港設計師協會金獎。2008年,「再戲椅子」參與Yksi Expo,Designhui「中國當代空間表情–遊•戲」展覽,並受荷蘭設計周邀請參展。翌年,劉應邀請在台北當代藝術館舉辦的「無中生有–書法│符號│空間」展出 「對『無』入座」與「座『無』虛座」。同年,獲德國法蘭克福應用藝術館之邀請,為中國椅子文化為題之展覽展出精選個人作品。現時,劉剛完成於上海當代藝術館「藝術對藝術」聯合展覽。2011年,他的代表作品「椅子戲」在清華大學美術學院「椅子情•椅子戲」中展出。2010和2011年,劉小康受「椅子戲」啓發設計的的「Chairligraphy」–椅子書法系列海報獲香港國際海報三年展和紅點設計奬認可。

Chinese translation by Lynn Zhang.

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