Business of Design Week 2021 Culminates with Thought-Provoking Reflections, Ideas for Resetting Our Post-Pandemic Future

For immediate release 
7 December 2021

Business of Design Week 2021 Culminates with Thought-Provoking Reflections, Ideas for Resetting Our Post-Pandemic Future 

Over 30 Exciting Sessions Featuring Over 80 Global Innovators
Now Available On-Demand on
BODW 2021 Website 

HONG KONG, 7 December 2021 – Asia’s premier annual event on design, innovation and brands since 2002, Business of Design Week (BODW) 2021, organised by Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), concluded its 19th edition on 4 December. The week-long Summit featured a line-up of 80+ prominent leaders and innovators, joining from all over the world, who all underlined the urgency and significance of the ‘Global Design Reset’ facing today’s world. 

Presented jointly with Strategic Partners the UK and ViuTV, BODW 2021 was produced in a hybrid format, simulcast online, on ViuTV, and at partner locations including PMQ, making the highly anticipated yearly summit accessible to the public across Hong Kong and around the world. 

Prof. Eric Yim, Chairman of Hong Kong Design Centre, stated in his closing speech: “This has been a wonderful week, and I hope you have learned as much as we have about the transformative power of life-centred design, and the importance of designing for a sustainable future. Living in these volatile times, we are in a unique position to rethink the way we live, work, and design a better world – that is, act as forerunners for a ‘Global Design Reset’, our BODW theme this year.” 

From now onwards, over 30 sessions from BODW 2021 are available to watch on-demand on BODW 2021 website, the interactive design knowledge platform launched this year by HKDC. For year-round access to a wealth of engaging evergreen information, such as live broadcasting of flagship programmes BODW and KODW, interviews with design icons and emerging talent, and other exciting content in various formats, the public can register for free to join bodw+ at, envisioned to become Asia’s leading online design portal. In addition, a one-hour ViuTV Chinese Highlights programme focused on BODW 2021 will air on 19 December (Sunday). 

As in previous editions of BODW, audience tuning in both live and from other platforms witnessed stimulating discourse from some of the world’s most respected visionaries, including keynote speakers Bruce Mau (Chief Executive Officer, Massive Change Network and Founder, Bruce Mau Studio, US) and Thomas Heatherwick CBE (Founder, Heatherwick Studio, UK). Inspiring and provocative ideas shared by this year’s BODW speakers throughout the summit include: 

Brand Rejuvenation
To reinvigorate a brand, it’s no longer enough to just tap the right ambassadors – a brand will have to walk the talk. 

  • Brand Strategy: Designing for Growth: “We don't buy products, we buy better versions of ourselves.” – Jonathan Cheung, Design Jedi, GAP Inc., Pangaia, Unspun and more. 

  • Case Sharing: Turning Design Thinking into Doing: “It starts and ends with leadership. If you don't have the right design leadership at the top of the organization, you're not going to get anywhere.” – Dr Brandon Gien, CEO, Good Design Australia and Deputy Chair, Australian Design Council. 

Connected Health and Wellbeing
The COVID-19 pandemic will not be the last global health crisis. Design for wellbeing is in need of radical transformation. 

  • Live Long & Live Well: Building a Value-Based Care Future: “We need to decentralize and distribute healthcare… We see this particularly important in ageing cities where elderly won’t be able to travel for a long distance to receive the healthcare they need.” – Sean Carney, Chief Experience Design Officer, Philips

  • In the clinical setting, we need to identify future leaders with positive thinking and a growth mindset – an active listener and someone who can engage people through communication and networking.” – Prof. Justin CY Wu, Associate Dean (Health Systems), Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Chairman & Director, CUHK Medical Services

Creative Mindset & Innovation Leadership
Inspiring optimism for the future, today’s great minds are crafting new ideas and design manifestos that promote awareness and sustain change in meaningful ways. 

  • How Design Changes the World: “Most cities are designed to push nature out. We have to get to a better place – we have to think about ourselves integrated in the natural world, and that challenges us to do everything we do differently. We need to think about the welfare of all of life. A process that puts life, not humans, at the centre.” – Bruce Mau, Chief Executive Officer, Massive Change Network and Founder, Bruce Mau Studio 

Culture & the City
Cultural institutions are the habitats that define a city’s identity and offer a sense of place. 

  • Media Disruptions: “Media has a responsibility more than ever. The world needs creators so that the information being provided is being fact-checked and true to its core. We don't only see ourselves as inspiring others, we see ourselves as an active agent of change. Society needs media companies who take the lead and want to make a positive impact.” – Michel Lamunière, Chairman and CEO, Tatler Asia Group 

  • The Future Vision of Museum: “What I feel with Hong Kong and Shanghai, we have our histories but we are jumping into the future. There is something unfettered about it and it is just so extraordinary. The other part of the museums for us is the audience and the people that flow through it. The relationship between the street, the inside and outside, the museum is home for people as well.” – Suhanya Raffel, Museum Director, M+ 

Designing an Intelligent Future
Do smart cities come with a cost? With the advent of AI and IoT, the future of work and mobility will never be the same again. 

  • Future Mobility & Transportation: “Design has to be optimistic and look to the future, and that is what we do in designing for cities and companies.” – Paul Priestman, Designer & Chairman, PriestmanGoode and Global Creative Director, CRRC Sifang Locomotive. 

  • Carving out Future WorkSpace and Living: “Ultimately it's about the ecoystem, about how we connect all of our living spaces and connect everyone's lives.” Tiffany Lau, Executive Director & APAC Head of Urban Ecosystems, JLL 

Hospitality with Purpose
Among the industries most impacted by the pandemic, hospitality has experienced a level of disruption that has made reinvention imperative. 

  • Restaurant Recovery & Resilience: “This business is made out of people, and people have to come first, whether that’s the people serving, or the people being served.” – William Drew, Director of Content, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 

  • Hotels of the Future – Building Back Better: “Luxury is less is more. It's the materials we use, the focus on design that creates a different kind of beauty. It has to be natural, contextual - everything needs to be local.” – Neil Jacobs, CEO, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas. 

New Urban Models
Architecture, economics, and people-centric design must intersect to address the growing challenges of urbanization. 

  • Rewilding Urban Space: “The pandemic has re-clarified the importance of emotion and our feelings. Cities are these amazing places that bring us together. Rewilding is about ourselves – we are wild. Places need to be free. Nature, if used well, can be a counterpoint; it can be about change.” – Thomas Heatherwick CBE, Founder, Heatherwick Studio

Phygital Reality
The line between physical and digital reality is rapidly blurring, and opportunities to make great strides in the immersive metaverse abound. 

  • Talking to Refik Anadol: Mastering the Craft of Crypto Creation: “I highly believe the NFT space needs a physical experience. My hope is that more experiential NFT environments should be part of the journey.” – Refik Anadol, Media Artist, RAS. Refik Anadol Studio 

  • Unlocking Potential in the Metaverse: “The metaverse is a virtual society. What’s amazing to see is that the next step is creating one that’s deeper and more immersive... Probably the sum total of your digital experience is already more than your physical experience.” – Yat Siu, Co-Founder & Chairman, Animoca Brands 

To stay tuned to programme updates of BODW 2021, please visit the official website at and follow BODW on the following social media channels: Facebook (bodw+), Instagram (@bodwplus), Twitter (@bodwplus), LinkedIn (bodw+) and YouTube (bodw+). 


Photo Captions: 

Officiating guests at BODW 2021’s Opening Ceremony, first row, L-R: Mr. Brian Davidson CMG (British Consul General to Hong Kong & Macao), Mr. Victor Tsang (Head of Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region), Prof. Eric Yim (Chairman, Hong Kong Design Centre), Mr. Edward Yau Tang-wah, GBS, JP (Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region), Mr. Victor Lo (Chairman, BODW Steering Committee of Hong Kong Design Centre), Ms. Margaret Fong (Executive Director, Hong Kong Trade Development Council), and Mr. Lofai Lo (Director and General Manager, ViuTV)

Second row, L-R: Dr Joseph Wong (Executive Director, Hong Kong Design Centre), Mr. William To (Executive Director, PMQ), Prof. Kun-Pyo Lee (Dean of School of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University), Mr. Michael Chan (Head of Academic Development, Hong Kong Design Institute), Mr. Brett Free (Deputy Director, Information Services and Brand HK), Mr. Kevin Yeung (Chairman, Hong Kong Fashion Designers Association), Mr. Horace Pan (Chairman, Hong Kong Interior Designers Association), Mr. Nick Heath (Director General Trade & Investment, British Consulate-General Hong Kong), and Mr. Stephen Phillips (Director-General of Investment Promotion, Invest Hong Kong)

Thomas Heatherwick CBE (Founder, Heatherwick Studio, UK) speaks at BODW 2021 keynote session, “Rewilding Urban Space” with moderator Prof. Eric Schuldenfrei (Founding Partner, ESKYIU and Head of the Department of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong, HK).

Moderator Jehan Chu (Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Kenetic, HK) with Sara Mao ( Director, Christie’s Education Asia Pacific, Christie’s Education and Vice President & Auctioneer, Christie's, HK) and Refik Anadol (Media Artist, RAS. Refik Anadol Studio, US) onscreen for the session, “Talking to Refik Anadol: Mastering the Craft of Crypto Creation”.

In the session “Rewriting the Blueprint of Future Homes,” (L-R): Moderator Clover Lee (Director, PlusClover and Adjunct Associate Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, HK) is joined live by Tino Kwan (Principal Consultant, Tino Kwan Lighting Consultants Limited, HK), Freeman Lau (Founder, KL&K Creative Strategics, HK), and Steve Leung (Founder, Steve Leung Design Group Limited, HK)

Moderator Darren Chuckry (Chair HK, Marketing Society and Managing Partner, HK Initiative, HK) is joined onstage by Yat Siu (Co-Founder & Chairman, Animoca Brands, HK) and Henri Arslanian (Crypto Leader & Partner, PwC Hong Kong and Adjunct Professor, The University of Hong Kong, HK), along with Bernt Johannessen (Industry Manager, Epic Games, Sweden).

In the session “The Future Vision of Museum”, moderator Ikko Yokoyama (Lead Curator, Design and Architecture, M+, HK) speaks with Suhanya Raffel (Museum Director, M+, HK), Gong Yan ( Director, Power Station of Art, Mainland China), and Lilli Hollein (General Director and Artistic Director, Museum of Applied Arts, Austria).


Please download high-resolution images at:



About Hong Kong Design Centre

Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) is a non-governmental organisation, and was founded in 2001 as a strategic partner of the HKSAR Government in establishing Hong Kong as an international centre of design excellence in Asia. Our public mission is to promote wider and strategic use of design and design thinking to create business value and improve societal well-being, with the aim of advancing Hong Kong as an international design centre in Asia. Learn more about us at

About Business of Design Week (BODW)

Asia’s premier annual event on design, innovation and brands since 2002, Business of Design Week (BODW) organised by Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) gathers some of the world’s foremost design masters, brand leaders and entrepreneurs from Hong Kong as well as overseas, driving discourse on the value of design and innovation to inspire global audiences and explore new business opportunities.

About bodw+

Launched by Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), bodw+ originates from Business of Design Week (BODW), Asia’s premier annual event on design, innovation and brands since 2002. bodw+ is an interactive design knowledge platform that promotes and celebrates design excellence, inspiring and engaging the local and international design community. It is envisioned to become Asia’s leading online design portal, providing evergreen content, featuring the latest insights on seminal design trends, and exclusive interviews with creative leaders and emerging talents.

About Create Hong Kong

Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) is a dedicated agency set up by the 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 sponsors HKDC to organise the Business of Design Week (BODW) and other projects to promote Hong Kong design. CreateHK’s website:

Press Contact

For further enquiries or interview requests, please contact:

Manica Tiglao     +852 2807 0899             
Matthew Lai           +852 2807 1119


Disclaimer: Create Hong Kong of 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, CreateHong Kong, the CreateSmartInitiative Secretariat or the CreateSmartInitiative Vetting Committee.