DFA Awards 2021 Winners Announcement

The DFA Design For Asia Awards is a flagship program of the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC). It is comprised of five major awards to acknowledge leaders for their outstanding contributions to the design industry and celebrate projects at the forefront of design excellence with Asian perspectives. Three trailblazers in the world of design have been awarded in 2021: Patrick Whitney, Professor in Residence of Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health -DFA Lifetime Achievement Award (DFA LAA), Min-Liang Tan, CEO & Co-founder of Razer Inc. -DFA Design Leadership  Award  (DFA  DLA),  and  Freeman  Lau,  Founder of  KL&K  Creative  Strategics -DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer (DFA WOCD). In addition, 180 awards were conferred under the DFA Design for Asia Awards (DFA DFAA). Organized by the Hong  Kong  Design  Centre  (HKDC)  with  Create  Hong  Kong  (CreateHK)  of the  Hong  Kong  Special Administrative Region Government as the lead sponsor, the DFA Awards was launched in 2003 to underpin the role of designers within society, celebrate design excellence with positive influence and impacts in Asia.

Upon reflection of this year’s awards, Professor Eric Yim, Chairman of HKDC states: “Design is a vital part of Hong Kong, a city that brings people, culture and ideas together. This is especially critical at a time when the world has witnessed so much uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. This year, I am delighted to honor three exceptional leaders: Patrick Whitney, Min-Liang Tan, and Freeman Lau, all have shown through their work, dedication, and leadership how design can be used to inspire communities, unite people from all walks of life through one singularity, and contribute to the betterment of society in Asia and beyond.”

DFA Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (DFA LAA)

Patrick Whitney Professor in Residence,

Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health

Patrick Whitney is the Professor in Residence of D-lab in the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health,  a leading laboratory that explores and demonstrates how design methods and frameworks can improve human well-being. He is widely regarded as a thought leader for pioneering the notions of human-centered design and strategic design. He is a highly esteemed speaker at multiple international design events,  on topics such as innovation,  sustainability, and human well-being.

Global Entrepreneur Magazine named him as one of 25 people worldwide contributing the most in bringing new ideas to businesses in China. DFA Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 honors Whitney’s vast contribution to the design industry through design strategy development, education programs, and his advisory work to governing design bodies, actively strengthening the relationship between design theory and practice.

DFA Design Leadership Award 2021 (DFA DLA)

Min-Liang TanCEO & Co-founderRazer Inc.

As the pioneer of e-sports hardware, former lawyer Min-Liang Tanis is seen as a trailblazer for the younger generation, of someone following their dream and at the same time adding valuable contributions to society. As CEO, Co-founder, and Creative Director of the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers–Razer Inc., Tan has demonstrated how forward-thinking and innovative design can disrupt the gaming industry. DFA Design Leadership Award2021honours his leadership throughout the years in pushing the boundaries of the gaming industry and driving industry innovation through design. Under Tan’s strategic and creative direction, Razer has gone from a two-man startup to a multinational market leader and Unicorn in the technology world.

DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer 2021 (DFA WOCD)

Freeman Lau Founder, KL&L Creative Strategics

Freeman Lau is a Hong Kong designer, renowned for his art and design innovations. He is the brains behind some of Hong Kong’s most iconic designs such as the Watson Water bottle, which earned him multiple awards. The design aesthetics and its functionality has lauded a critical breakthrough in the history of bottled water. In addition, Lau has been tirelessly promoting the development of design in Hong Kong, Greater China, and Asia. Lau’s creative prowess spans across the entire design spectrum, from graphic design, packaging design, to fine arts. His contributions are widely recognized in society. His creative contributions have a  significant, cultural impact in  Asia, which is best demonstrated by his ‘Chairplay’ series. The series includes a range of furniture and sculptures,  which have been shown worldwide at different exhibitions. The notion of  Chairplay is a metaphor for the exploration of different human-centric issues and is one of Lau’s signature works. DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer 2021 honors his devotion and contribution to promoting the design,  creative industry, and culture of  Hong Kong and Asia.

DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021(DFA DFAA)

Since its launch in 2003, the DFA Design for Asia Awards has served to celebrate design excellence and acknowledge outstanding designs from Asian perspectives. It has been a stage upon which design talents and corporations can showcase their design projects internationally. It consists of the Grand Award and Category Award. Category Award entries are recruited by open submission to one of 24 categories under four key design disciplines, namely Apparel & Accessory Design, Communication Design, Environmental Design, and Product & Industrial Design; Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Merit awards are presented to the outstanding projects. Gold award winners from the Category Award and other nominated design projects will be considered for the Grand Award.

Dr. Joseph Wong, Executive Director of Hong Kong Design Centre mentions that: “Amidst the pandemic, creativity and innovation prove to be the remedy for improving our quality of life. We are pleased  to  award  projects  that  meaningfully  address  critical  issues  such  as  humanitarian  needs,  environmental, cultural, and sustainable development, revitalization through technological   advancements, and marriage of functionality and aesthetics.” The Awards’ international judging panel comprises experienced design professionals and experts. Entries were judged and 180 winners through rounds of judging and deliberation were conferred. The seawards include 12 Grand Awards, six Grand Awards with Special Mention, and 162 Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Merit under the Category Award. This year, companies from Mainland China and Japan are at the top of the leaderboard with  52  awards, followed by Hong Kong awardees claiming 41 awards.

DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021 –Grand Award

DESIGN TRUST FUTURES STUDIO: Transformation of Yi Pei Square Playground

Location: Hong Kong


Company Economy: Hong Kong

Farewell Platform Location: Japan

Winning Company: YU Momoeda Architects

Company Economy: Japan

GREEN @ COMMUNITY –Recycling Stores

Winning Company: Environmental Protection Department

Company Economy: Hong Kong

Kumamoto Castle Reconstruction Observation Path

Location: Japan

Winning Company: NIHON SEKKEI, INC.

Company Economy: Japan

The ANNETimes: A New Newspaper in Education

Winning Company: Curriculum Reform Initiative Taskforce, Agenda for Art and Design Education

Company Economy: Taiwan

The Relic Shelter –Fuzhou Tea House

Location: Mainland China

Winning Company: Neri&Hu Design and Research Office

Company Economy: Mainland China


Winning Company: Yamaha Corporate

Company Economy: Japan

ZOZO, Inc. Head Office Building Location: Japan

Winning Company: Hiroshi Nakamura &NAP / TAKENAKA CORPORATION

Company Economy: Japan

DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021 –Grand Award & Grand Award for Culture

The Painted Screen: Past and Future

Winning Company: Phoenix Publishing House

Company Economy: Mainland China

DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021 –Grand Award & Grand Award for Sustainability

Waterhall Project

Location: Cambodia

Winning Company: Orient Occident Atelier| OOA

Company Economy: Hong Kong

DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021 –Grand Award with Special Mention

2020 Creative Expo Taoyuan –RUNNING TAOYUAN

Location: Taiwan

Winning Company: InFormat Design Curating

Company Economy: Taiwan

Experience Japan Pictograms

Winning Company: Nippon Design Center Daikoku Design Institute

Company Economy: United States

House for Marebito

Winning Company: VUILD, inc.

Company Economy: Japan

Kitamura Camera

Winning Company: 6D-K Co., Ltd.

Company Economy: Japan

Lei / Non-electric fragrance diffuser

Winning Company: SOL style

Company Economy: Japan

North Lantau Hospital HK Infection Control Centre

Location: Hong Kong

Winning Company: China State Construction International Medical Industry Development Co. Ltd.

Company Economy: Hong Kong

For the complete list of winners, visit the event website.

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