Archives for category: Art & Design


According to Victoria and Albert museum, Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto “became internationally renowned in the early eighties for challenging traditional notions of fashion by designing garments that seemed oversized, unfinished, played with ideas of gender or fabrics not normally used in fashionable attire such as felt or neoprene. Other works revealed Yamamoto’s unusual pattern cutting, knowledge of fashion history and sense of humour. His work is characterised by a frequent and skilful use of black, a colour which he describes as ‘modest and arrogant at the same time”.

I have never seen the work of Yohji Yamamoto with my own eyes before so I looked forward to learning about this famous Japanese fashion designer.

As we entered the room, we were ‘greeted’ by a sticky sheet of plastic, instead of red carpet, on the floor. I am not sure what it was for, perhaps to get rid of the dirt from our dirty shoes so that it would not ruin the light grey rubber on the floor? It could also be a sharp reminder that we should now pay attention to texture.

Over 60 creations of Yamamoto were displayed on mannequins together in one room with double height headroom (Gallery 38). It was flooded with bright white light- Together with the decorative steel scaffoldings, it felt informal and welcoming. Visitors were allowed to wander around freely. As the garments were not kept in glass boxes, they could check out the details in close distance. They were not supposed to, but a lot of them could not help themselves from touching the garments. Apparently no photography or even sketching was allowed. Many still did so but the security guards were not that bothered to say anything. Read the rest of this entry »

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The Queen of Hearts, the Red Queen, the White Queen, the Rabbit and the King of Hearts, Dining with Alice
Just what happened to the characters in Alice’s adventures when they were no longer needed in her dreams?

I went with five friends to find out as they hosted a special banquet at Elsing Hall, Norfolk. This banquet, Dining with Alice, was organised by Artichoke and Sky Arts, as part of the Norfolk & Norwich Festival.

Alices looking across the Lake, Dining with Alice
Built in 1470, Elsing Hall‘s landscape and architecture formed a great backdrop for the evening. On the way to the dinner reception, we bumped into Alice who was hiding in the maze. We also saw a lot of long dining tables, reminscent of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, scattered around the beautiful gardens. ‘Is this where we are going to eat?’ I wondered with excitement. {If you are going to attend, stop reading now as I am about to reveal some of the surprises}

Dining with Alice
The Queens and Kings arriving, Dining with Alice
While we waited for the Royals to appear (photo above), we nibbled on the Plungent Fleck (Kettle game chips and Victorian Dips, photo below) with the Hendrick’s Buck (Gin and Ginger Ale) in hand. Continue reading >>

24 Carat gold gilded peach
For the Chinese, a peach symbolises longevity. The God of Longevity has always been depicted with a Chinese peach in his hand. Traditional Chinese birthday cakes (sau bao 壽包) are created in the shape of peaches. For my dad’s 60th birthday, I decided to make him a peach with 24 Carat gold.

I have never done gilding before but at the time I just happened to be designing a house that features gilded panels. So I thought I might as well give it a go. Here is how I made things up along the way:

Making a peach
Basic set up for making a peach out of modelling clay

Making core of the peach

Getting the modelling clay ready to make a peach

Peach made of modelling clay
I used Super Sculpey which is a modelling polymer clay that only hardens when baked. This allowed me time to mess about without wasting any material. I could always touch up and remake until I was happy with the form. Continue reading >>

Queen Victoria's toilet at Victoria and Albert Museum
This toilet was built for Queen Victoria to use when she visited the Victoria and Albert Museum. The museum gained its current name in 1899, when she laid the foundation stone of a new building designed to give the Museum a grand façade and main entrance, in memory of the enthusiastic support Prince Albert had given to its foundation.

Unlike most museum pieces that can only be seen, you can actually walk in and use the (mixed) toilet! All this is hidden behind a modern door (see photo below). Ever since I worked my first toilet design package, I have a passion about toilets. I get excited about modern mirrored ones at Nopi and I feel lucky that I discovered an old one like this. I can share the ‘toilet experience’ with the Queen. Continue reading >>

The latest trend in Hong Kong: pet fancy dress. My cousin’s award winning cat, Kulu, has kindly agreed to be the model for us. All photos were taken in a professional pet photography studio. What a luxury! I have only been to photo portrait studio once myself!

Here comes Kulu dressing as Superman (my personal favourite) and, as an orange!

Kulu crossed dressed as a Geisha

Kulu as a panda
~I think he might be getting bored…. Continue seeing more fancy dress photos of model Kulu >>

silicone breasts mouse pad
This is a promotional mouse pad for the first 3D erotic movie in Hong Kong. It has become a popular ‘souvenir’ at the Chinese New Year Flower Market out there.

What a creative use of silicone!

I love traditional Chinese shadow puppet shows for their simple elegance. They usually depict old folk tales. The set up is quite basic- simple light, music, screen and puppets that are made of cardboard or thin coloured acrylic sheets. Controllers move individual puppets around to bring the story to life.

Recently I saw a great show (see above) – the fight between the Snipe and the Clam 鹬蚌相争. The snipe had a flight with the clam. The snipe attacked the clam with its beak and the clam held on to it. Both refused to let go. A fisherman came by and netted them both.

Like most Chinese folk tales, there is always a lesson to be learnt from the story. The lesson of this one is: ‘If both sides refuse to compromise, a third-party will take advantage of the situation.’

Chinese shadow puppet show
The snipe was about to ‘fly in’, as controlled by the lady on the left of the screen. Continue reading about the making of the shadow puppet show >>

Dearest Li Ching,

It is hard for me to believe that you have left this world. I still remember vividly the last time we said goodbye to each other (when I visited Singapore)- you and your husband, together with your child in the middle, walked hand-in-hand to see me off to the stairs of the complex you lived in. We just had lunch with your family. You showed me your wedding photos and I laughed at your cheesy poses. I did not expect that was the last time we saw each other.

It is even harder for me to believe that you took you own life. I had heard that you had complication with the birth of your 2nd child when I started searching for you. But I did not expect that suicide was how your life was ended.

You will always be the bubbly Li Ching I once shared the hall of residence with. We did not study in the same universities in London but fate led us to stay in Cartwright University Halls. You were the bright student who was awarded a full scholarship to study Economics at LSE. You were so clever that you did not seem to need to study much. Remember the night when you were due to have exam the next day, but you kept chatting to us? I had to physically move you back to your room so that you would get ready! Of course, you passed everything with flying colours. (Even after you graduated, you passed all the 3 grades of financial analysts in no time.) Continue reading about the remarkable Li Ching >>

We closed out 2010 by taking a ride on the new DHL Hong Kong Balloon.

It’s a ride in a tethered helium balloon, launched from a park in West Kowloon. We were lucky enough to be one of the earliest passengers as they were carrying out a soft launch. It’s a truly awesome experience.

DHL Hong Kong Balloon 
It was a little frustrating as we weren’t aware that for safety reasons the balloon will only fly when the wind is below 15km/h. So after our first trip to the grounded balloon in the morning, we were told to return in the afternoon, when they expected the wind to have died down. Luckily it did, so up we went. Continue reading >>