PMQ Corner #16

Design Consciousness


Written by Kit Chan
Translated by Venus Purnama
Photos by Kit Chan

This canvas bag is amazingly smart. The opening is locked with a pair of copper tubes, magnet attached. Pull the rope and lift the bag, and the copper tubes will close it tight, securing all your belongings in one neat move.

Resembling the pyramid-shaped Japanese riceball, this bag is called the Onigiri.

Onigiri was designed by Gene Miao and a Hong Kong designer. As an architect, Gene does graphic design for houses, malls, and shops; but for his own fashion brand, he focuses on much smaller items, such as leather products and canvas bags. This seems like nothing compared to big houses, but for Gene, creative freedom is all that matters.

For Gene, a good design should be easy not flashy, standing the test of time. “Timeless pieces never grow out of fashion. Just like building houses, durability is the key.”

Gene's designs are way more interesting than they seem. Thoughtful and user-friendly details are sewn in, such as the accessorized belt on the bag, hollowed out like a tube to keep your pens secured. The keychain leather belt is made thicker on one end, to act as your mobile phone stand, adding to its function and the thoughtfulness of the designer.

Yet Gene is not satisfied. There should be much more a designer could do, he thought, like pushing for a change in consumer behavior. “Why do we always buy new things to replace old ones? When does this cycle ever end?”

Hence his brand offers maintenance service for customers, repairing products used over two years.

Part of the shop's decoration was made of upcycled scrap paper and wood picked up from building sites.

Recently they tried making coasters and bookmarks out of leather and denim scraps, not machine made, but cut and sewn by hand, with unfinished raw edges, as a silent protest to consumerism: what is perfection? Why must everything be flawless anyway?

they tried making coasters and bookmarks out of leather and denim scraps.

With a little determination, designers could change the world too, like missionaries on a mission.

Address: ro, H210, 2/F, Hollywood, PMQ

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