When Michael Young moved to Hong Kong nine years ago, he was virtually a lone presence on the design scene. He has since become the go-to guy both for young designers and for local companies ranging in size from luggage specialist Zixag right up to Cathay Pacific. “The balance of my commissions has been getting more ‘East’ ever since,” he told Icon’s John Jervis.
The willingness of Asian manufacturers to invest in experimentation remains a real pull for Young: “My sustenance in Asia has been the thirst from industry to invest in the things that I’m doing – I like the historic brands in Europe, but what China allows me to do is design something that I want to make, and then get a lot of heads being scratched saying, ‘How can we make this work for Michael?’
“They have a passion for proving that they can do something in a new way. I’m trying to explore processes that are in a state of discovery, instead of just injecting a plastic chair, which you could do anywhere. And I’ve been very lucky – I’ve designed some ridiculous things and had them made.”
In his talk at Icon’s venue in Old Sessions House during Clerkenwell Design Week, Young will discuss his recent projects and how working in Hong Kong has shaped his approach to design.
Michael Young will be speaking at Icon’s House of Culture in Clerkenwell at 6.30pm on Wednesday, 20 May. Click here to RSVP to the event and click here for the full line-up of talks, by designers such as GamFratesi and Dominic Wilcox. An interview with Young appeared in our recent Studios issue