Toyo Ito and Ron Arad headline Business of Design Week 2018 in Hong Kong
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Toyo Ito and Ron Arad headline Business of Design Week 2018 in Hong Kong

Dezeen promotion: architects Ben van Berkel, Ron Arad and Toyo Ito are among the line-up of speakers announced for this year's Business of Design Week conference – and Dezeen readers get 30 per cent off tickets.

The annual event returns to Hong Kong from 3 to 8 December, 2018, and will explore the theme "Think, Collaborate, Create".

These ideas will infuse more than 20 events that fall under the umbrella of Business of Design Week, including the keystone BODW Summit, which boasts luminaries from the design and architecture industries as speakers.

For the first time in 2018, Business of Design Week will also present a public programme called BODW City Programme, with the goal of strengthening Hong Kong's creative community and fostering collaborations between designers and businesses.

Ron Arad is a speaker at Business of Design Week
Israeli designer and architect Ron Arad is a speaker at Business of Design Week. Photo is by Michael Castellana

"BODW represents a core component of Hong Kong Design Centre's public mission to promote a good design culture and cultivate design thinking for all," said Edmund Lee, executive director of the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC), which organises the festival.

"We are thrilled to see this event grow from strength to strength since its inception in 2002 to become one of the most important events on the global design calendar."

US architectural academic Martha Thorne, who is executive director of the Pritzker Prize, is one of the speakers at this year's BODW Summit's Plenary sessions, along with Australian architect Rob Adams, the urban design head at the City of Melbourne — presenting partner city of this year's summit.

Melbourne is frequently ranked among the world's most liveable cities, and the topic of how to design such an environment recurs throughout the event.

UNStudio founder Ben van Berkel will also speak at the BODW Summit. Photo is by Els Zweerink

Joining them are Dutch architect and founder of UNStudio Ben van Berkel, whose current projects include the Wasl Tower in Dubai, which will have one of the world's tallest ceramic facades, and the Southbank by Beulah mixed-use development in Melbourne with twisting green towers.

One of the most high-profile speakers in the Plenary sessions is multi-award-winning Japanese architect Toyo Ito, whose recent work includes the Museo Internacional del Barroco museum in Mexico with its delicate white concrete slabs.

"My desire to continue innovating is what gives me energy and motivation," Ito says of what drives him in his work at the age of 77.

Israeli designer and architect Ron Arad, American architect Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and Ian McDougall of Australia's ARM Architecture are also keynote speakers at the BODW Summit.

McDougall told HKDC that Business of Design Week generates unique cross-cultural conversations that keep him coming back.

"BODW has become such an important congress for design," he said. "Last year, I saw the energy that is generated when Italian design meets the Asia-Pacific design culture. It's living the Rashomon effect – contradictory interpretations of the act of design!"

Martha Thorne is a speaker at Business of Design Week
The Pritzker Prize's Martha Thorne will also speak at a Plenary session

The BODW Summit will also feature a masterclass led by Carol Ross Barney, the pioneering principal of Ross Barney Architects who was the first woman to design a federal building in the US. She will discuss the making of liveable cities and how to design for social good.

Tracks within the BODW Summit explore Communication and Design, Product and Technology, Digital and Design, and the Greater Bay Area — a Chinese government-led initiative to link Hong Kong more with the mainland.

Guests within those tracks include type and information designer Erik Spiekermann, animatronics designer and Creature Technology Co head Sonny Tilders, health tech designer Leah Heiss, LKK Design Company founder Jia Wei and The Fabrick Lab founder Elaine Yan Ling Ng.

Charles Renfro at Business of Design Week
Charles Renfro of Diller Scofidio + Renfro is another keynote speaker at the BODW Summit. Photo is by Georgie Wood

The Summit will also feature special sessions on the topic of the 'Creative Mindset' and 'Liveability, Sports and Design'.

For the first time in 2018, Business of Design Week will also present a public programme called BODW City, with the goal of strengthening Hong Kong's creative community and fostering collaborations between designers and businesses.

The programme will see art installations, exhibitions, creative tours and education and community events run from November 2018 to January 2019.

Among the other events under the umbrella of Business of Design Week are the DFA Awards ceremony, the Fashion Asia Hong Kong initiative, the DesignInspire exhibition, the BIP Asia Forum on intellectual property in the region, the deTour creative festival, the Worktech Hong Kong workplace conference, the Global Design Network Symposium, the M+ Matters keynote presented by Hong Kong's new museum for visual culture, and the Leadership Forum on Design Education.

Business of Design Week is organised by the HKDC together with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and with the sponsorship of Create Hong Kong.

For the latest information about ticketing and this year's programme, visit the Business of Design Week website. Dezeen readers get a 30 per cent discount on tickets now by using the promo code MD3KRWC at checkout, before the online registration closes at 11:59pm on 30 November.