Design Before-After Design2024


Identity and exhibition design


Commercial Work


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Design is circumscribed and enabled by its infrastructure. Socially speaking, it consists of relations, discourses and organizations; materially speaking, it exists in tools, ephemera and drafts; and temporally speaking, it is the BEFORE and AFTER of design.

Before design, design, after design. Design has not one tense, one aspect, one mood, but multiple. A designer travels back and forth among these temporalities in order to create meaningful design works that are not just reactive to a current moment, but sensitive to what was BEFORE design — institutions, conditions, paradigms, frames — and what will have been AFTER design — change, incompletion, new associations, unintended consequences.

What precedes and follows does not exist pre-fabricated, immediately ready to support all design indiscriminately, but also awaits people to design cautiously — to make explicit the premises, to question and elucidate the values, to experiment and transform the processes. Without intentional decisions on the design of the BEFORE-AFTER, a “second-order” design, what designers think they are actually designing will have been constructed on top of non-specified forces, neglecting real-life complexity and blind to its interknotting loops. What can we do with these systemic BEFORE-AFTERs to transform institutions, reconfigure communities, and multiply actions?

Here, Year 4 Social Design students present 9 projects in which they traversed many unsurfaced BEFORE-AFTERs of design with people living in transitional social housing and many subdivided units in Tsuen Wan, farmers at Pat Heung, buffaloes and their neighbors on Lantau, customers in the malls of Tseung Kwan O, shop owners and domestic workers in a Ma On Shan shopping arcade, residents and passersby in Tai Kok Tsui, and the youth in Tin Shui Wai. Stemming from these journeys, students presented 100 zines and 20 workshops to the public at Airside, Kai Tak, in mid-May. The AFTER still stretches ahead of these projects. How might we together continue this work to bring about systemic change, turning AFTERs into new BEFOREs?


Creative Direction | Kiki Yip
Design | Kiki Yip and Thomas Wong

©Kiki Yip 2024