Speech by CS at opening ceremony of "Freeman Lau & Design: Inter-dependent Decisions" exhibition (English only) (with photos/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, at the opening ceremony of the "Freeman Lau & Design: Inter-dependent Decisions" exhibition this evening (December 2):

Mr Victor Lo (Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hong Kong Design Centre), Mr Freeman Lau, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening. I am most delighted to join you here at the opening ceremony of the "Freeman Lau & Design: Inter-dependent Decisions" exhibition.

     The Hong Kong Heritage Museum has all along been dedicating its efforts to the subject of graphic and fashion design through collecting, researching and programming. In recent years, the museum has identified renowned and significant local designers, and developed a designer series exhibition to feature their representative and comprehensive works.
     Mr Freeman Lau's solo exhibition is the fourth of this exhibition series, after the exhibitions to showcase the graphic design and art of Dr Kan Tai-keung in 2002, the contemporary design of Alan Chan in 2003 and the fashion design of Eddie Lau in 2013. I had the privilege to open Eddie's solo exhibition in 2013, and it gives me great pleasure to open this exhibition to pay tribute to an extraordinary designer, Mr Freeman Lau, a good friend of mine, whose creativity never fails to delight and inspire.

     Freeman is one of the most prominent, internationally renowned designers in Hong Kong. In the past three decades, Freeman has won wide acclaim with more than 300 accolades, showing his ingenuity to different parts of the world from Finland, Germany and Russia to Japan. The long list of prestigious awards he has proudly received includes the Red Dot Award, a Silver Award in the International Book Design Exhibition, the Golden Bee Award and admirably the Bottled Water World Design Award, making him a household name.
     Apart from running his successful design business, Freeman devotes much effort to meaningful projects for the public and cultural sectors. He has participated in the design of stamps, curating museum exhibitions and creation of public artworks for enjoyment by Hong Kong people. Amid his very tight schedule, he still finds time to give lectures to design students to pass on his experience and to promote art education. In recognition of the invaluable contribution he made to the design industry and the community at large, Freeman was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Hong Kong SAR Government in 2006.
     Freeman is not only a prolific designer with clear goals in mind but also a versatile artist whose creativity reaches no bounds. He experiments with a wide range of media and fervently explores the possibilities of crossover projects. His works are diverse in styles and subjects and are notably characterised by the strong presence of Chinese elements. He integrates Chinese philosophy into his design concept and translates his passion for Chinese culture into awe-inspiring works. I am sure you would be as excited as I am when viewing his masterpieces like the "Chairplay" series, "Chairligraphy", the Watson's water bottle and Wing Wah products.

     As suggested by its title, this exhibition is a thought-provoking journey leading to the exploration of the interdependent decisions behind the artworks. It presents a comprehensive retrospective of Freeman's works and inspires visitors to delve into the fundamental question of what decides designs. Without Freeman's full support and generous donation, this exhibition would not have been possible. I therefore would like to express my deepest gratitude to him and his team for putting the exhibition together. My special thanks also go to the mentors and friends of Freeman who kindly appeared in the documentary video. These anecdotes, together with the artworks displayed, will give us a fuller picture of this talented designer and artist.

     While design is more known for its artistic impacts, its economic value should not be understated. It creates job opportunities, boosts business growth and contributes to our economy. In fact, the design industry in Hong Kong is one of the fastest-growing segments among the creative industries, with value added increasing from $1 billion in 2005 to $3.7 billion in 2013. The number of persons engaged in the design industry also went up from some 9,600 to more than 15,000 over the same period of time.  

     On top of that, good design inspires our thoughts, connects our wishes, and brightens up our lives. The Government strongly supports the design sector. We now have the iconic PMQ in Central which has become the symbol of where artistic designs converge in the eyes of many. Our flagship event Business of Design Week (BODW), held in Hong Kong since 2002, has become Asia's leading annual event on design, innovation and brands, bringing to Hong Kong the world's most outstanding design masters and influential business figures to inspire an international audience on creative thinking and design management. BODW 2015 is actually taking place this week, with the BODW Conference opening tomorrow. I encourage all of you to take part in this wonderful event.

     I believe, with the concerted efforts of the Hong Kong SAR Government, designers and artists, and the industries, we can strengthen Hong Kong's role as the regional hub for design, arts and culture, opening up more opportunities ahead under the "Belt and Road" initiative.

     Lastly, may I wish the exhibition a resounding success and all of you an enjoyable evening. Thank you very much.

Ends/Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:23