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Design Spectrum of Hong Kong Design Centre Presents PLAY LIVES Exhibition

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Playtime Now! Explore the Infinite Possibilities of Play and Design


HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 4 March 2021 – Play Attention! One may “recognise play when one sees it”, yet one may not be able to describe it. Many still harbour the preconception that play is a waste of time for adults. Design Spectrum, the public-facing platform of Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), sponsored by Create Hong Kong of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, has launched its latest exhibition under the theme PLAY LIVES at 7 Mallory Street. Opens to the public for free from now to 30 April 2021, the exhibition takes visitors on a playful journey for them to rediscover the fundamental concepts of play and design, and how the concepts complement each other to better our futures. Enter the rabbit hole: toying with the concept of play as a positive agent in people’s lives, the exhibition takes visitors through design for play’s wonderland.

PLAY LIVES opens to the public for free from now to 30 April 2021, the exhibition takes visitors on a playful journey for them to rediscover the fundamental concepts of play and design, and how the concepts complement each other to better our futures.

Co-curated by Rémi Leclerc (right), Founder of PolyPlay Lab, and Chi-wing Lee (left), Founder and Creative Director of Milk Design, PLAY LIVES illustrates why play is beyond entertainment.

Play opens minds, design shapes futures

Co-curated by Rémi Leclerc, Founder of PolyPlay Lab, and Chi-wing Lee, Founder and Creative Director of Milk Design, PLAY LIVES illustrates why play is beyond entertainment, and how it is an integral part of our lives and can be designed to better our futures. New Zealand play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith once quipped that “The opposite of play is not work. The opposite of play is depression”. As Leclerc explains, While play generates culture, design shapes culture: just about everything around us is designed. As a friendly ‘Trojan hobby horse’, play makes design accessible. Referring to play’s attributes enhances designers’ practice because people are naturally apt at play: realising design is like play makes it easier to understand design… Play allows design to connect to life more naturally, igniting creativity, hence bettering design practice.” By showcasing play through a design perspective, PLAY LIVES extolls the value of design in shaping contemporary play, and recognises the role of play in enhancing design.

PLAY LIVES SHOWTIME: A journey to explore play through design

PLAY LIVES Exhibition showcases more than 90 play and design projects from Hong Kong, the Mainland, Japan, Korea, and the USA, offering visitors a 360-degree view on the types and functions of playthings, and unveiling the cultural value of designing play for everyday life. Visitors will be able to chart their own maps of the meaning of play to ascertain the value of design for play: Room 1 showcases eight whimsical fixtures which invite visitors to explore the attributes of play through engaging experiences, thus toying with “Design Play DNA”. Building on visitors’ explorations in Room 1, Room 2 demonstrates the value of play and design and how they shape cultures through four displays: demonstrating the relevance of play and design in shaping culture: IMAGE Play Lives, a street newspaper stall; OBJECT Play Lives, a toy storefront display shelf; BODY Play Lives, along a two-tiered circular catwalk; and SPACE Play Lives, an open virtual skyscraper.

Room 3, the Cabinet of Design Play Curios, stages seven critical design projects to showcase how play enhances designers’ speculative practice. Visitors can learn to appreciate the value of play and design as the exhibits address issues such as information and technology, environment, identity, and corporate culture, and witness how play can create a desirable future. In Room 4, the “Playroom“, displays works created by local participants at 6 pre-exhibition “playshops” to illustrate how people interpret play in different ways. Finally, at the Toymaking Playbench in Room 4, visitors of all ages can create their own toys using components obtained from a capsule vending machine, such as PLA plastic clips manufactured onsite by a tabletop 3D printer (sponsored by beets3d.com).

Rolling Fun — Community Playground: Explore the Tube & Wave Zone to Ignite Your Creativity

Invited by the curators of PLAY LIVES Exhibition , Making on Loft, a local social design and research team will present their commissioned work Rolling Fun — Community Playground at the Public Open Space of 7 Mallory Street from 31 March to 11 April 2021. Comprising a Tube Zone, Wave Zone and Play Share Kiosk, the playground will open for free admission during the said period. During which, public visitors and residents in the neighbourhood can drop by anytime to play or to relax a little. With game instructions inside the tubes, “Tube Zone” suggests various ways of play from battle games to ball games. At “Play Share Kiosk“, visitors can find simple playthings like balls and rackets for enjoying fun competition games. “Wave Zone” features wavy long wooden benches for resting, jogging or hosting remote-controlled car races. Visitors are also invited to design new ways to play and give suggestions on best uses of the playground. Later in April, Making on Loft will host a Design Festival at 7 Mallory Street, featuring a series of play experience workshops suitable for different ages. Details will be announced on our website in due course: https://www.designspectrum.hk/

Free Playshops and Guided Tours: Be a player now!

To reinforce the theme “PLAY LIVES” of the exhibition, Design Spectrum will also host a series of playshops, guided tours, and other activities during the exhibition period. Under the themes Shadow Art, Forbidden Fruit, Toymaking and more, the playshops encourage participants to incorporate play into their everyday lives and unleash their creativity. Besides, public guided tours are available to help visitors explore the Pop-up Showcase on the ground and third floors of 7 Mallory Street, to learn more about the exhibits’ design concepts.

Further details of PLAY LIVES Exhibition & Event Information are available in the attachments. For reservations for public guided tours and playshops, please visit www.designspectrum.hk.

Attachment: Event Happenings of PLAY LIVES Exhibition

PLAY LIVES Exhibition


23 February to 30 April


10am to 7pm, Monday to Sunday


3/F, 7 Mallory Street, Wan Chai

Free Admission

Rolling Fun — Community Playground by Making on Loft


31 March to 11 April


10am to 10pm, Monday to Sunday


Public Open Space, 7 Mallory Street, Wan Chai

Free Admission

*In light of the current COVID-19 situation and for the health and safety of participants, precautionary measures will be adopted for the PLAY LIVES Exhibition and its extended events, and the above schedule is subject to possible change or adjustment. For the latest updates, please visit the official website at https://www.designspectrum.hk/.

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