Famiglia Grande by Kacey Wong


Hong Kong artist and designer Kacey Wong has designed shelters that look like robots for rich people who have lost their homes in the economic crisis.

Called Famiglia Grande, the project is an adaptation of Wong's earlier design for homeless people, Tin Man No. 11 (see our earlier story).

Each case unfolds to become a bed and desk, and can be wheeled around on a trolley.

Wong built one for each member of his family and tested them out at performance in Hong Kong last weekend.

More about Kacey Wong on Dezeen:

Paddling Home, a tiny floating house (January 2010)
Tin Man bed for homeless people (March 2009)

Here's some more information from the designer:


Tin Man No. 11 was designed for the homeless people. Now I have a upgraded version for another type of homeless which are for the middle class and above.

My mobile units Famiglia Grande was inspired by the recent economic tsunami when the rich lost their fortune overnight, my question is how can one live on the street but still maintain a façade of looking good and high style?

I took my family out last weekend to the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong next to the super expansive buildings with our mobile homes and spent a lovely day drinking high tea and playing with the children in the outdoor.

The sky is our roof and the ocean is our window.

Posted on Friday February 5th 2010 at 10:44 am by Chris Barnes. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • squeed

    omfg…. sad

  • Maxence

    Rich peolple play poor people all the time. It’s a trend. And this art is for rich people. It’s a topic from a book of Chuck Palahniuk.
    Be dirty, be homeless, be sure to be rich.

  • WF

    Like a coffin.

  • pkr

    when it’s raining, people definitely look like sleeping in a coffin

  • nicey

    darlings it’s fabulous; they should all club together, leverage their assets, cash in their options and play golf on the roof of the villa hush hush. i’d join them….

  • Mook

    Why is this on Dezeen? And why does he call himself a designer?
    Shallow and uninteresting “art” project.

  • Jon


  • justin


    Who says the designer is rich? And what does it mean to “play poor”?

  • Glasgow

    Black one looked creepy…. coffin like…….

  • jesse

    I love this. Maxence is right. Rich people do play poor a lot. I just want to throw up when I hear them whine about losing half of their earning power – when they made millions previously.

  • Rodrigo

    Bad taste, poor proposal…

  • Most of the poses from the photo series are copied from local real estate advertisement which is very pretentious, I have a bible of these ‘fake’ poses and was trying to live them out during the shoot Most of the real estate advertisement here are projecting the image of luxurious, grandeur, even aristocracy, basically an illusion. The mobile units were intentional made into coffin-like, a black humor. The project is not really trying to solve any real problem, rather it is a criticism or mockery of such pretentious high rolling lifestyle; thanks for all the comment everyone.

  • Yet another example of Non -Art that inspires no one, Is ugly as hell and to top it off, is insulting to the thousands who have to sleep on the streets everynight in China. Hang it up dude. Your idea may have been worth a quick laugh but it is hardly art and you hardly deserve the attention.

  • ttt_dc

    ridiculous and offensive. Only an ignorant and superficial designer could make something like this. this kind of objects are an involuntary sample of the lack of content of this discipline.

  • Maxence

    And to finish, very insulting to robots !

  • Julián

    Que fortuna que los países desarrollados tengan dinero para despilfarrarlo en cosas inútiles… ojalá conocieran problemas reales, y formas más útiles de utilizar sus ideas… mientras que en los países desarrollados invierten así el tiempo en ideas “ingeniosas” etc, en el tercer mundo la gente se muere de hambre, de parásitos, de falta de agua potable, de ignorancia, de real falta de un techo.

  • eighttwelve

    beyond any theoriticl discourse, and societal concerns that usually are just another
    ‘selling argument’ for bad designers,

    what better than a project that generates that many reactions ?
    wheter positive or not is not the key.

    This is something

  • Joe B.


  • M Spencer

    I am startled by the above readers’ inabilities to detect tongue-in-cheek commentary! How unversed in art appreciation must one be to take everything at face value?

    The misinterpretations contained in these comments do not reveal an out of touch artist; on the contrary, they reveal observers unable or unwilling to examine the work of someone for longer than a quick glance.

    This is surely a result of the nature of internet browsing. Gone is careful observation in favor of quick judgment.

    Knowing anything about the locality of this artwork reveals a quite clear message. Contemporary art in Hong Kong is extremely critical of the country’s obsession with grandeur, materialism, and status. It would be an understatement to say that this artist is unsympathetic to the upper crust of Hong Kong residents.

  • quinn

    yet another ill-conceived exploit by some designer who taps this oh-so-trendy concept of using the homeless as a starting point: dammit, when are these soporific ‘designers’ going to start using their ‘talents’ to actually help the people they mock? Seriously, this borders on extremely offensive and calls into play the role of this site paying homage to it…

  • Spike Lateen

    Regardless of the intent, art allows for discourse. Many artists and designers have approached homelessness—many with an an approach whose concept looks good on paper and may be aesthetically and conceptually appealing, but whose application is lost the moment it is applied to the real world situations.

    If only the design community would apply the full commitment of their creative problem solving for their real world projects for this segment of the population in their corner of the world.

    Mr. Wong’s earlier work suggested potential, but taking a step back for “tongue in cheek” art really shows the lack of commitment that he and many other designers have regarding the less fortunate who cannot afford the witticisms of the design educated.

  • Oh, those NUTTY Chinese!

  • Ed

    You got to be kidding me…

  • takeitasred

    Intellectually I know this is blackest humor, but emotionally it makes me wince. I know it’s a critique on fashion, culture, and the aestheticization of everything, but really, the majority of homeless people are not choosing to be without a home and this seems insulting to them. Homelessness is not an aesthetic, it’s about acts of desperation and survival often coupled with terrible addictions or mental illness. Rather than aestheticizing homelessness (no matter how ironically) as “the hot new thing” for the recently impoverished, I’d challenge that, as designers, we need to create real solutions to this problem.

  • angry catalan

    Come on, how’s this “offensive”? This is just poking fun at how rich people claim they’re not poor when they’re just as rich as before. I mean, look at the pictures. This isn’t even “homeless chic”. I don’t think it’s got anything to do with that.

    I found that disgusting “mugrosita” (which means “little dirty one”, “little grimey one”, etc.) bench far more offensive myself.

    Though I’ll admit this is more of a performance than a design product, but I don’t see the lack of commitment anywhere. That’s like saying late-night showmen should become politicians instead of being commedians.

  • km

    Under the background of the debating urban form of West Kowloon and all those ridiculous images from local real estate advertisements, I find this really interesting point of view as a criticism on the current social issues. Though it’d bring a much stronger idea if the performing / visual impact could be clearly presented rather than focusing on the robot itself.

  • I have to agree with M.Spencer above. I think “tongue in cheek” is the perfect phrase to describe these works. Personally, I appreciate Wong’s playful mockery of the rich.

    From an aesthetic point of view, as well, I like the effort he put into the photography shoot – and coordinating the black, white, and red theme with the outfits and the shelters. (Women in red dresses and red shelters and men in black tuxedos and black shelters).

    If Wong didn’t make the photographs so over-the top (with the gloves, the jewelery, the hairdos, the golf clubs, the painting, the tea & crumpets, etc) then maybe, I might agree that the shelters seem impractical. But to me, that impracticality is exactly Wong’s point. He is clearly trying to be tongue-in-cheek and I think he’s successful at that.

  • MrCoolTeapot

    The only problem I have with this kind of “art” is that its not going to be viewed by anyone who might be affected so whats the point? More than likely the only audience will be people with means. (Means to be in a place where such things are visible.)
    People with means, people like us, are not going to get off our asses to affect any kind of change so why bother? Make us feel guilty?
    Shame doesn’t work. The catholic church proved that.
    For some reason I think this could have had a greater “social commentary” impact if it were staged in a poor neighborhood highliting the true plight of the poor in an urban environment. (instead of some manicured piece of grass in an affluent part of the city.)

  • HK VAMPAYA !!!
    Is’nt it illegal to make children vampire?


  • angry catalan

    takeitasred: it’s not about the homeless or the aestheticisation of everything. It’s about how the rich pretend they’re poor now, when they’re not. It’s in fact, the opposite of what you take it to be.

  • istvan

    I think it’s really funny. It’s a conceptual art project that required some designing. All the other ones who commented negatively should think outside the box. :P

  • gaussian function

    This is funny as all hell. how could this be offensive? it’s comedy. lighten up. it’s not meant to be a serious solution of any sort. i thought people were smarter around here.

  • tanya telford – T

    “how can one live on the street but still maintain a façade of looking good and high style?” –

    in order to make sense of this i translate it into: ” ok, so if someone is needing to live on the street then staying clean and dry would help that person, both physically and psychologically”, ……………………………….

    Maybe this project is trying to incorporate too many issues, in this way some confusion remains, which makes it harder to read, less communicative, unresolved etc.

    I have to say I prefer the “paddling home” project, it still has a certain humour and yet is clearer, more accessible,

    I think Mr Cool Tea Pot made an interesting observation re: the environment this project was staged in, and how different the message could be using a different place,

  • frank lloyd wrote

    this is meant to be funnnnnnyyyyyy!!!!! how can people do people not see this?

  • Dezeenator

    Dezeen.net has now completely lost its ways…. So sad! WTF! Stop posting superfluous news which as nothing to do with serious design! PLEASE GET YOUR EDITORIAL ACT TOGETHER, DEZEEN! PLEASE!

  • Christopher

    I liked this article. Stop trying to pretend the project is neither art nor design.

    Thank you.

  • Nic

    This is the best piece in the HK art museum right now. It’s fantastic. It’s got ‘idea’, aesthetic, plently of design and craft in making these units, and more than that, the humour, and the social comment is brilliant. This is great contemporary art that everyone can understand.

  • Sayitlikeitis

    Did this guy become a designer to ridicule homelessness? Seems really sadistic to use the few brain cells he has to come up with something so shallow and insensitive.