Ageing & Happiness: Design Tricycles for TKO, Hong Kong, China

At the beginning of 2013, Yanki continued her role as the Adjunct Professor at the Hong Kong Design Institute and initiated another design lab with Brazilian designer, Paula Dib. It aimed to respond to recent news that Hong Kong had been named the most liveable city by the Economist magazine, while its newest town, Tseung Kwan O (TKO) was named ‘a city without streets’ due to its poorly designed environment. Using the design process as a means of interaction the project sought to find out who actually lived in TKO, how were their lives and happiness affected by its poorly designed space? What, if anything, had they done to make it better?


The project team set out to engage local communities, using Chinese New Year celebrations as a focal point. In particular the project sought to engage local older people through the process of co-design, examining both the ageing process and their overall happiness. A unique aspect of the lab was the introduction of ‘Design Thinging’; producing a series of ‘things’ with different groups, possibly leading to unexpected results such as objects, installations, games or events. Here students were given tricycles so they could design ‘things’ to engage residents and later as a medium to convert their community observations into design objects.


From their fieldwork Product Design students identified four main happiness themes; Cooking and Music, Living and viewing the sea, Playing games and Spending time with friends. With an extra team from the Fashion & Image Department, who promote Up-Cycling, there were five design tricycles joined the parade and created an exhibition to arouse curiosity and provoke discussion.


Special thanks to Kelvin Kam, course leader of Product Design, PID, HKDI for his full support and Meng Lau from Blacksheep Production for the photos and assistance of production.