For designer Michael Young, play time involves a boundary-pushing exhibition of iconic and one-off works.
6 July, 2011
British-born and Hong Kong-based designer Michael Young is taking time out of his packed schedule producing products for brand giants like Tittot, EOps and Dupont Corian to revisit his passion for one-off sculptural pieces.
Works in China: Part 1 Design Art, currently on show at The Space – the largest multipurpose art venue in central Hong Kong at 3,500 sq ft – is his first exhibition in 10 years.
“I started out making one-offs in London as it was all that one could make back then, but it was a passion. After years of mass production it’s refreshing to go back to my roots and play a little.”
“All the pieces tell a story; they are linked together. I guess the pieces are the parts discovered working on commercial projects that could never be industrialised and that I felt were worth producing.”
Young, who moved to Hong Kong in 2006, has built for himself a formidable presence in Asia; globally, his works have also found their way into leading museums, received accolades and spawned numerous copies.
His passion for technology sees him pushing the envelope of innovation, boldly employing some of the highest levels of manufacturing to create a seemingly polar opposite – sheer poetry.
“I love to see how far factories can push machines and engineers. I still only use a pencil so I create a lot of stress for the latter but the language is the result of the abilities of the machine,” says Young.
The current exhibition displays highly complex pieces – achieved with the cooperation of some brilliant engineers from China – such as the Hex chair, made using lost wax gravity injection, and the Psi Tower, which uses 3D CNC technology.
Model of the Psi Tower
On the Psi Tower, Young says: “I wanted to make a design that would capture 100 possible views from around Hong Kong in its reflection, this is why the surface is multifaceted, which make a lot of sense to me.”
The new collection for Tittot takes inspiration from the mathematics of ancient Chinese building techniques, and is created using complex computer work.
The show also marks the launch of a new monograph on Young. Similarly titled Works in China and written by John Heskett, the book documents a number of Young’s works from initial sketches through to the finished product.
The designer, who quips that the collation of data for this project was a feat akin to ” sailing up the Yangtze river” is just as candid about what he discovered in doing this book. “What did I learn? That learning nothing at school worked for me.”
Works in China – Part 1 Design Art
Presented by Michael Young Studio and The Cat Street Gallery
Date: 29 June – 17 July 2011
Venue: The Space, Hong Kong
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