De­sign

WHEN A HUS­BAND-AND-WIFE TEAM TOOK ON THE TASK OF DE­SIGN­ING THE NEW TATLER TROPHY, THEY WERE IN­SPIRED BY THE VAL­UES OF THE RE­CIP­I­ENTS. Leanne Mi­randilla RE­PORTS

Hong Kong Tatler - - Contents -

The in­spi­ra­tion for the new Tatler Trophy’s de­sign was the na­ture of its re­cip­i­ents

It was a tall or­der: de­sign a trophy that hon­ours its re­cip­i­ent yet re­tains a sense of hu­mil­ity; a trophy that, although be­stowed on an in­di­vid­ual, ac­knowl­edges the support of the wider com­mu­nity in that per­son’s achieve­ment; and a trophy of such beau­ti­ful de­sign that it can be proudly dis­played in the homes or of­fices of some of the most in­flu­en­tial fig­ures across Asia. Th­ese were the is­sues fac­ing Tai­wanese de­sign firm Xrange when it was in­vited to cre­ate the new Tatler Trophy.

“In de­sign­ing the trophy, we re­ally wanted to ap­proach it from a struc­tural point of view,” ex­plains ar­chi­tect Grace Che­ung, who founded Xrange with her hus­band, in­dus­trial de­signer Royce Hong. “In­stead of su­per­fi­cially graft­ing mean­ing onto an un­re­lated shape, we re­ally stud­ied the struc­tural mean­ing of the trophy. How it is put to­gether should be sig­nif­i­cant and mean­ing­ful to the val­ues of the win­ner, and should re­flect their jour­neys as lead­ers and achievers.” The beau­ti­ful re­sult of their ef­forts is a puz­zle-like de­sign com­pris­ing two in­ter­lock­ing pieces—a de­sign that re­quired com­puter mod­el­ling, 3D-printed pro­to­types and count­less dif­fer­ent test ver­sions be­fore it reached per­fec­tion.

Xrange was in­vited to de­sign the new trophy only after a rig­or­ous se­lec­tion process in­volv­ing all eight Asia Tatler edi­tions, with ed­i­tors nom­i­nat­ing tal­ented de­sign­ers from around the world. Serendip­i­tously, Xrange turned out to be close to the Tatler fam­ily, as Che­ung has been a friend of group ed­i­tor-inchief Sean Fitzpatrick for more than 20 years. “When Tai­wan Tatler sug­gested them, and we all agreed that they would be the peo­ple who would do a great job, I was more than happy to work with them,” says Fitzpatrick.

“When Tatler ap­proached us about the trophy project,” adds Che­ung, “I was very ex­cited to re­visit trophy de­sign, and to see where we’ve come in terms of ideas and our de­sign ap­proach after 10 years. It was a very easy yes.”

The de­sign­ing of another pres­ti­gious trophy some years ear­lier was the cat­a­lyst that brought Che­ung and Hong to work to­gether for the first time. “A few months be­fore our wed­ding 10 years ago, we got in­vited to par­tic­i­pate in the Shaw Prize Trophy In­ter­na­tional De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion,” says Che­ung. “We had never re­ally con­sid­ered

work­ing to­gether be­fore. To our great de­light, we dis­cov­ered that we worked to­gether with­out much ar­gu­ment, and ac­tu­ally won the com­pe­ti­tion.”

Their win­ning en­try—which be­came the trophy for the Shaw Prize awarded in three cat­e­gories: As­tron­omy, Life Sci­ence and Medicine, and Math­e­mat­i­cal Sciences— dis­plays the same in-depth thought process ap­par­ent in the Tatler Trophy. Us­ing the idea of sci­en­tific dis­cov­ery as a start­ing point, Che­ung and Hong cre­ated the three tro­phies us­ing wood, alu­minium and black mar­ble—three common ma­te­ri­als that sym­bol­ise sci­ence’s ap­pli­ca­tion in daily life and the three fields of the award. A fish­eye lens at one end and an eye­piece at the other rep­re­sent sci­en­tists’ vi­sion in lead­ing the world into the fu­ture.

The cou­ple soon con­sol­i­dated their suc­cess­ful work­ing re­la­tion­ship with the found­ing of Xrange and have since worked on a va­ri­ety of projects, from in­te­ri­ors for quirky life­style bou­tiques and ho­tels to fur­ni­ture and elec­tron­ics. Their dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sional back­grounds, ar­chi­tec­ture and in­dus­trial de­sign, en­able them to work on a di­verse port­fo­lio. And like the tro­phies, all Xrange projects bear the hall­marks of the cou­ple’s de­sign skill—a strong con­cept and mod­ern, stylish ge­om­e­try.

“In terms of de­sign, we cre­ate side by side as we trust each other’s pro­fes­sion­al­ism ab­so­lutely,” says Che­ung. “We ap­proach ideas from dif­fer­ent scales of ex­pe­ri­ence. Both are cru­cial to our cre­ative work. What our train­ing has in common is crit­i­cal think­ing, project man­age­ment, shared strate­gic val­ues, idea com­mu­ni­ca­tion and team­work, which are all key fac­tors in de­sign work, so run­ning a business to­gether is quite an easy fit.”

Xrange is cur­rently work­ing on sev­eral projects that com­bine both old and new, in­clud­ing a mod­ern sound sys­tem that uses ana­logue tech­nol­ogy from 30 years ago. Hong is also de­sign­ing an elec­tric-pow­ered pro­to­type racer for For­mula E, For­mula One’s new­est move­ment fea­tur­ing elec­tric cars, whose in­au­gu­ral 10-city sea­son kicked off in Beijing in Septem­ber and con­tin­ues this month in Pu­tra­jaya, Malaysia.

and the win­ner is… The Tatler Trophy in all its glory at the Hong Kong Tatler Ball

team ef­fort Clock­wise from left: Royce Hong and Grace Che­ung; the Tatler Tro­phies; the cou­ple’s win­ning en­try for the Shaw Prize

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