LEATHER AS ARCHITECTURE: THE UTILITY OF LUXURY
Our project is entitled “Leather as Architecture: The Utility of Luxury” and is composed of an organic clustering of handcrafted leather models of prototypical Hong Kong public housing projects from the 1950s to today. These include: Mark I, Mark IV, Bi-Cylindrical, Single Tower Block, Twin Tower, Windmill, Trident, Concord and Harmony. Taking on the MPW curatorial brief (*) of utilizing “1 square meter of leather,” our model community is composed exactly out of 1 square meter of scrap leather we collected from a factory in Fo Shan, China. The factory currently manufactures luxury bags out of leather and we sought to produce a project out of the waste from the production process. In order to create the perfect leather bag, the process of perfection requires a vast amount of waste and leftover pieces, mostly due to blemishes found within natural leather. For this project we question how “value” is perceived and obtained. One of our architectural models depicts the first public housing building in Hong Kong, the Mark 1, created as a response to the emergency need for housing in Shek Kip Mei after a fire on Christmas day in 1953. Here we used a vivid red-orange leather to denote the colour of immediate need, while for the other models we utilized a cheaper leather, instead of a more refined process used for expensive leather.
Our studio practice ESKYIU is fascinated by the culture of consumption and production in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta and in particular how the process of making informs our understanding of the built environment. In the mapping drawings we question the value of property in Hong Kong by revealing how wealth and values have changed in the last few decades. We continue to raise questions about the function of utility and where the utilitarian becomes a luxury; for today most of the buildings in Hong Kong are generic towers duplicated and multiplied to fulfill the needs of living, yet the property prices per square meter are at a constant extreme. This presents a wide range of values for our society. However, as designers and architects we are challenged to seek better ways to make architecture more natural, more unique, less generic and with better quality. Perhaps architecture can become softer, freer, more sensual, more humanistic, well-crafted and with an approach that makes better use of the waste.
A Square Meter of Sensation. Presented by Mingpao Weekly (MPW)
Venue: H506- H607, Hollywood, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central, HK.
Date: September 9th – September 21st 2014
Lead Designers: Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu.
Project Team: Priscilla Ng and Rita Leung (ESKYIU)
Leather research collaborator: Cherry Chan (CEO, Milagros Corporation Ltd.)
(*) A Square Meter of Sensation, Curatorial Brief by Mingpao Weekly.
Living in a world dominated by social media and virtual reality, we are now losing our sense and sensibility in connecting to people and the world around. Tangibility has become an “old value” and seems forgotten. How can we recover and gaining back our sense and sensibility? Leather is the skin protecting the bodies but also the very first medium for us to feel the surrounding world. It has a subtle and soft touch, as well as a specific warmness and reason why leather is always one of the most beloved raw materials. We have invited Hong Kong local artist, designer, architects and photographers to join this project of exploring the potentials and possibilities of leather. The creativity could be a daily life object or an artwork, experimental, conceptual or practical and useful. The only “rule” will be the material use of 1 Sq. metre use of leather.
Invited artist/ designers include: Edith Cheung, ESKYIU, Bovey Lee, Milk Design, Miro, and Stanley Wong (Anothermountainman).
Images above include print publication from MPW’s Book B, Sept 6th 2014 (print edition 2391), P. 76-81.
當網絡的虛擬世界成為生活的主角，反過來卻讓我們 的感覺變得更遲鈍虛無。眼觀耳聽鼻聞加上手的觸感等 等，這些我們曾經賴以感知世界及存在的途徑，在今日卻 愈來愈被視覺主導一切。如何可以重拾真正的觸／感？ 皮膚，是大部分生物與外界接觸的第一層媒介，也讓 人確切地感覺身體的質感及溫度。也許亦因為這個原因， 以皮革製作各種生活物品或器具，由來已久都為人熱愛。 但皮革的可能性，又何止於一個包包或皮鞋，一如我們的 觸／感，一樣有無限可能。
《明報周刊》邀請了六位來自不同界別的創作人，以 皮革作為媒介，開拓觸感的新視野，新境界。在這一平方 米的皮革身上，無論是物料的質地、手工、造型、空間與 體積……都可以有無限潛能，一如生活，一如生命的軌 迹，有待我們去探索新的可能。
作品以一平方米皮革作為創作原點，類別造型性質不 限，概念屬實驗性，乃至實用性均可，六個作品的實物亦 於9月9日起於PMQ元創方同步展覽兩星期。
Video interview by MPW: See here at this link.