China advisory panel: Insider guides
This month, our big, red, Made in China issue was put together with a little help from our friends - six creative trailblazers who are remaking Modern China.
To accompany the issue’s profiles of these six leading Chinese creatives that made up our advisory board, wallpaper.com is, over the course of the month, going to be talking to each of them to get an insider guide on the country they call home.
We kicked off our series talking to Creative Director,
Richard Hsu and television presenter and Chinese celebrity Yue-Sai Kan
We then talked to architect, Pei Zhu; followed by artist, Ou Ning.
In our final weeks of the Made in China month at wallpaper.com we talk to production designer, Tim Yip and below meet designer, Alan Chan
Although a resident of Hong Kong island, Alan Chan has positioned himself as an instrumental figure in Mainland China’s creative reinvigoration. Designer of the Coca Cola logo for the Chinese Market, Chan produced what has probably become ’the’ key symbol of East meets West integration. After founding his own design firm in the 80’s Chan went on to re-brand key Chinese icons including the Beijing Opera House and the Noodle Plus food chain in Shanghai
Whereabouts-in China are you originally from and where do you live now? How have theses places changed during your lifetime?
I was born and educated in Hong Kong - currently I am living at the East Mid-Levels above North Point with my mother and family, in a place that overlooks Victoria Harbour. Over the past 20 years, the view has decreased drastically due to rapid skyscraper development. On one hand it makes us feel a little hemmed-in, but on the other hand, it reflects the exuberance of Hong Kong as a key cosmopolitan city.
In a creative sense, where do you feel Mainland China is in relation to Hong Kong?
Thanks to China’s rapid growth, the dynamism of Hong Kong has infused into the Mainland through economic, social and cultural exchange. In recent years, there have been a plethora of creative talents participating in projects in China, shedding light on all areas of the creative spectrum. Vice versa, the talent from Mainland China has crossed into Hong Kong and their influence has had an equally profound effect on us.
What do you find most inspiring about living in Hong Kong and how does it relate to your perception of Mainland China?
Being the gateway to the China, being part the multi-cultural environment, and having an active role at the international platform are some of the most fascinating reasons for living in Hong Kong. I can see this lifestyle model is one way or another happening in areas of China now. Hong Kong plays a role model to China in many aspects.
In your opinion where is the most up and coming area of China, and why?
Needless to mention, first tier cities such as Beijing & Shanghai have already attracted obvious international attention, I would however recommend some other second tier cities that are beginning to emerge. Chengdu is at the top of my list due to its diverse cultural heritage, rich natural resources and mild weather. Even now the city is a hotbed of talent, with artists such as Zhou Chunya from the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute - one of China’s 8 top art institutes.
If you had one piece of advice for visitors to Hong Kong, or indeed China, what would it be?
One must try the traditional Chinese pressure-point massage, either in Hong Kong or China.
If you had a friend come to visit you in Hong Kong for 24hours, where would you be sure to take him/her?
I would recommend Hollywood Road to experience the ‘old Hong Kong’. The arts and antiques widely available in that area also let visitors have a glimpse of the old China. I would also recommend Temple Street, as the exoticism of its market stalls is one-of-a-kind in Asia. On top of this, a ride on Star Ferry, dim-sum lunch and night view at the Peak is a must.
What would you avoid?
Who in your opinion are the creatives in China we should be looking out for at the moment?
Among many others I would look out for Les Suen – One of the most talented young book designers in Shanghai; Chen Man, an outstanding photographer; Du Juan - China’s no.1 supermodel; Ma Ke – a fashion designer who established the Exception brand with her husband; and finally Pang Yangjun & Chen Jiaojiao – the former creative directors of Colors magazine, they returned to China to rejuvenate The Outlook Magazine.
How did you find your experience as part of the Wallpaper* advisory panel?
It was a challenging yet stimulating experience.