Prototypes and Experiments

Berlin Happened Awhile Ago by Billy Potts

Yes, I've been a little slow with the posting so I'm continuing with the update.   I went to they DMY Design Festival in Berlin with Ambassadors of Design - that happened in June. The Handsome team decided to do something a little bit different from usual – we had a tiny bit of funding and about 2 weeks so we made some simple slide projectors out of leftover plastic from a sign maker in Fortress Hill, some lenses from a laboratory glassware shop in Wong Chuk Hang, a few metal rods from a hardware store in To Kwa Wan and some Ikea lamps (Causeway).

We made our own customized slide format!  (Thanks to Elise Bourdeau and Ali Van for helping out with that).  We were hoping for traditional slides from those old school slide projectors but apparently nobody does that anymore.  Ours turned out beautifully.

The exhibition hall was brighter than I had anticipated so we built a tent out of material from taxi seats – thanks to Martin Cheung and Topaz Leung (notice that the main supports are photographic light stands), Amus Leung, Gladys and Janko.

I hung out by the tent and people came over to play with the projectors and ask  about Hong Kong.  Some curious people stayed and chatted for over an hour.  One person said it was like the storyteller's tent they used to have at country fairs.
















Our Lamp Giveaway - Or Gone in 45 Minutes by Billy Potts

We gave away all our lamps yesterday.  You may be able to see from the photos that I brought a chair.  I actually thought that I'd be sitting around all day begging people to take them- what a fool I was!  ALL those lamps went off to good homes in about 45 minutes.  They weren't just adopted by people who wanted 'free stuff', these people were genuinely interested and wanted to stick around and talk and learn about how these lamps had been made, the concept behind them and why they are so special. Not everyone agreed to take a photo but some did and here they are!  Lots of respect to these guys and girls- they woke up super early on a Sunday to get their lamps - one even admitted that they were fighting a bad hangover.  Enjoy!

Handsome Bags Re-Designed by Billy Potts

So now that Detour madness has settled down a little bit I'm just getting the chance to talk about something a little bit different- our bags. Yes, we started out doing bags and we still do them- but we do them even better than we did before.  Here is a sneak preview of Handsome's new look - better product shots to come!

Giving these away for free at Detour 2011 by Billy Potts

This is a sneak peek at our submission for Detour (25th of November to 11th of December) - we're making 21 of these 'Artifacts'.  They're made of porcelain and were made in 景德镇 (Jingdezhen). They were fired in the same kiln that Ai Weiwei used for his Sunflower Seeds.  They've each been fitted with a white porcelain NUD lamp - each with a different coloured chord and an energy efficient bulb.  They can be used as a number of things - we're displaying them as lamps.  Make of them what you wish:  soap dish, pencil holder, plant pot, just as long as it's useful- they'll be available to take on a first come first serve basis on the last day of Detour, that's Sunday the 11th of December 2011. So what is this all about?  Read on if you're interested

Detour is an annual event that celebrates design in Hong Kong.  This year Handsome was invited to design something to exhibit at Detour in our Designer Exchange with Berlin (remember when we sent our chair to Berlin?). We were given the themes "Useless" (Use Less) and "東西" (a pun on the word "Thing" which literally means "East West").

We've taken a very ubiquitous industrially produced shape (I don't think we need to say what it is) and re-interpretted it as an artifact that says something about our  culture.    There was a time when objects were treated with respect.   They were made to last and taken care of.  In today’s consumer culture, objects are made to be disposable and consumers are wasteful; they don’t see the value in things.  Often craftsmanship,  thought and attention to detail are overlooked.  We want viewers to rethink what they might otherwise have regarded as disposable or useless.   We invite viewers to take these objects, free of charge, and to do with them as they please- as long as they put them to some good use.

We chose to make our artifact out of porcelain and in 景德镇 (Jingdezhen) because of the historical significance of this material and because of its connection to local craft and culture in that area.  Porcelain was invented in China and was widely traded as a commodity with the West.   Jingdezhen has been producing porcelain for 1700 years and used to craft it for Emperors.    Using an ancient Chinese invention to re-create a modern Hong Kong (read Chinese) icon in a dialogue between East and West is interesting to us and (I think) fits the bill for "東西" (Object / East West).


Dressing Like Grownups, Acting Like Kids by Billy Potts

We did our second shoot with tcny yesterday- this time we featured Nigel Ong, film maker and stalwart on the Hong Kong skateboarding scene.  We caught up with Nigel yesterday  in Chai Wan so Justin and Lincoln could fit him for a suit. A few years back, Nigel made a film called ‘That’s I.T.’ – a documentary about the skateboarding scene around Immigration Tower.   It seems like yesterday when my friends and I were watching That's I.T. on our holidays from school so it's kind of surreal that we're now working with this guy.

We know this project might look a little random at the moment but just wait!  This is going to look great when it’s done!


Strida X Handsome UPDATE by Billy Potts

The Handsome Strida Bike is ready to hit the road!  Here it is being unveiled for the first time EVER before it goes to K11 for an exhibition on the use of Bikes in Hong Kong. Our concept?  Bikes can't completely replace other modes of transportation in Hong Kong but why can't they be a part of the transport network?  Make a little way and we could have an environmentally friendly and FUN way to get around - make your taxi a bike!

K11 has commissioned a limited run of Handsome Stridas

The exhibition runs from Friday the 24th of June, 2011

Location: K11 Mall 18 Hanoi Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Shop 105

Times: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Other participants in this exhibition are:

Creative Kids Ascot Chang HK Honey Graphic Airlines Flwrider Start From Zero



Kevin Messenger Bag by Billy Potts

So yes, I promised to post pictures of the new models about a week ago and I realise I've been a little tardy- here they are: Kevin Messenger Bag - A large bicycle messenger bag that can hold a large laptop and most other everyday things. The prototype for this bag is now in New York- but we're making more.

Making Chairs for Rooftop Cinema by Billy Potts

We've been at the Women Worker's Association helping Simon Roberts and James Fearnside to make these seat covers out of old rice sacks for Rooftop Cinema. The ladies at HKWWA did an amazing job sewing these together- averaging one seat cover every 4 minutes! AMAZING! The first screening is Zoolander on the 7th of April (Thursday) at the Fringe Club. See below for info or go to:

Simon, James and Meilin from the HKWWA

Flying Colours by Billy Potts

SO, we've had a big couple weeks. What most people don't know is that we've been hard at work on THESE the whole time. Now Handsome Bags come in 3 colours: 1. HK and Kowloon Red; 2. New Territories Green; and 3. Lantau Island Blue

Believe it or not, there is EVEN more to come as we've been working flat out. Stay tuned!

Joseph's Chair Wins 3rd Place at Ambassadors of Design Ball 2010 by Billy Potts

Very happy to hear that Joseph has just won 3rd place at this year's Ambassadors of Design Ball with his design, 'the Skinny'.

The skinny is made of bent aluminum, heat bent lexan plastic and rubber washers. It was built by hand and Joseph says his aim was to push the properties of the materials to their boundaries to create a chair that is functional even though it appears to be impractical.

The Ambassadors of Design collective aims to raise awareness of creativity and design in Hong Kong and it hosts an annual open competition. This year's competition theme was 'Chairs' and it saw many wonderful designs from Hong Kong designers as well as contributions from internationally renowned talents such as Zaha Hadid, Kelly Hoppen, and Thomas Heatherwick who partook by providing their chair designs for an auction on the night of the ball.

Congratulations Joseph!

Prototype #2 and the Carbon Reduction Campaign Fair by Billy Potts

We were kindly invited, by the Climate Group, to show our bag at the closing fair for their Carbon Reduction Campaign at Chater Gardens last week.  We finished prototype #2 just in time for the show.    This bag was fabricated at the Hong Kong Women Workers Association and they really did a great job on it.  I think we've made many improvements on the second try- the bag is larger and more useable, with better details and a much better lining.  Scrapped taxi seatbelts were used for the shoulder straps and we've tried to keep some of the original features.  I've saved buckles for clasps for future prototypes.  More coming soon!

Prototype #2 complete with original taxi seatbelt shoulder straps

Better lining- red to mimic a taxi, of course.

Subtle details leftover from days as part of car.

Temporary use for all the buckles

Showing off our prototype #2 to curious passersby