Eco by design: environmentally friendly home designs


“Hong Kong is not that forward thinking; interiors are still very archaic,” Kevin says. “It’s not like Singapore or Germany, there’s still a lot of solid materials like marble and gold. We’re behind the rest of Asia, and we lag behind even compared to China, which is really into the green look and movement.”

Get him started on sustainable, green design and Kevin’s got plenty to say. He’s not so much a believer that form follows function, rather it should work for function; he is firm that aesthetics are every bit as valid in design.

He sees design eras as products of their political zeitgeists, the current one being the environmental movement as a result of the urgency of climate change. He agrees that policy in Hong Kong is stunting sustainability, and an economy, rooted in land sales and property taxes, is never going to be one that can effectively respond to the demands of green building.

Kevin is convinced that environmental education is still needed in the SAR. Until Hongkongers opt out of spending extra cash in a casino or on a fancy sofa, until there’s a wider understanding of ideas as valuable – that an upcycled cardboard lamp isn’t necessarily ‘cheap’ – there will be little movement on sustainability. For now, it’s trendy, and that helps, but passing the buck hurts.

“The answer is always, [Hong Kong’s] not as bad as China,” Kevin says. “That’s true, but it’s far worse than Europe or North America.” “In China, it’s a matter of political stability now. People are suffering with the pollution, so the government is looking at green energy and designers are pushing sustainable products,” adds Maria. “Maybe that kind of demand doesn’t exist in Hong Kong.”

In the meantime, COC (yes, Kevin is fully aware of what that looks like, and he’s endlessly amused by it) is working with the aforementioned sunlight technology on sustainable interiors, and on incorporating another one that involves some revolutionary environment cleansing. And he’s hoping to launch his own upcycled furniture brand down the road.

As it stands, COC does a lot of work in China and Europe, though as a local Kevin would love to do more here at home. And even though things could be better, COC’s profile is rising and he’s getting the word out.

“Someone needs to break the mould,” Kevin finishes. “You can’t think money every day.”

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