Designed by Friends Design. http://friendsdesign.com.
Lidingövallen is the facility was designed by Swedish firm DinellJohansson to provide a gallery, cafe and office for Lidingö Football Club as well as a roof that doubles as spectator seating.
Sun-tanning laundry in public.
All text and photography by Yanda.
It has been ten years since this blog started and stepped into Hong Kong. Now back there and looking at things as a designer, with curiousity being alarmed, questions being raised and politics aside, how does one design a city? How does a city creates its image then?
To clarify certain things before you read on. I am not a writer. I am not a design critic. I don’t have any journalism background neither do I have a design background as I am a self taught. I teach myself to design through incessive blogging and that led from trend or talent spot to analysing and over-analysing things. Maybe I could call myself a design observer. So without being subjective and objective, please read on with a light-hearted mind.
First, I often wonder how do a country gets its revenue to pay the public works and maintenance and whatever that the nation needs. Hong Kong is a tax free city, with no goods and service tax, no sales tax or value added tax. The absence of a GST makes things cheaper in Hong Kong than if purchased in China or Shenzhen which is just a road and a toll fee away, actually fights the competition away from their neighbours? Also, in the bigger picture, attracts to the tourism and boosts the economy?
Then could this whole tax thing and where their property market not being controlled by the government be the cause of the raising rental? If sources are correct, it could cost up to SGD25,000 a month to rent a refurnished shophouse unit like Mido Cafe in a location near the sea side. Yes, you might have heard of their shoebox spaces or their concrete jungle. And with that, is that the reason why there’s actually a night life culture in Hong Kong as compared to Singapore. They have their street stalls that opens till 3 am? Who knows, it could be just a way to brainwash people so they will head out as they refuse to be cope up in their small house or rooms. And come to think of it, our weekend shows on TV tend to be very bad here in Singapore. Was it also done on purpose so that no one stay at home and will be forced to head out?
Bamboo scaffolding and Post-no-bills.
Shop front signages and neon lights.
I have always liken Hong Kong to a city with much defined identity despite being British colony before and now China bound. Their easily recognisable post-no-bills culture could be the graffiti of Bushwick in New York. Their neon signages is apparent everywhere, day and night, even more in the red light district. Maybe these form the overarching theme of the visual culture—the visual communication through typography, illustration or graphic design or altogether sometimes. The other recognisable identity probably is their bamboo scaffolding. It’s hard to wonder why we still see them in the today’s context. For all we know, at least the buses and taxis are majority in red, a keen to Hong Kong’s flag colour.
All photography by Yanda.
It’s been ten years since the blog started and also ten years since I last stepped into Hong Kong. Things have changed since. Rental are getting unaffordable. People are probably not as happy. But what I can see in ‘Syut’ is not being pretentious but passion, hope and the desire to make things right.
Yanda: Tell us how did ‘談風：vs：再說 SYUT’ came about?
Thomas Lam: Due to rising rent in HK (it’s been always a problem here), we are forced out of our previous band practice room, which is in fact an instrument shop ‘Battle Stage’ owned by our drummers. Then we found the current factory building with a stunning street view. But it’s too large for a shop and also a practice room. And our chef, Sean, has been working in renowned restaurants in HK for years and he always hoped to open his own restaurant. Then we came up with this idea of half restaurant half instrument shop/band room.
What about the name?
The Chinese name 談風：vs：再說 is derived from our band name tfvsjs. We picked the initial consonants from each letters. SYUT is the Cantonese pronunciation of the word 說.
What are all your backgrounds of the founders?
Besides our chef who is always been a chef, we also have designer, filmmaker and sound recordist.
How do you all juggle or split the roles then?
Depends on what we are good at, or interested in. We don’t have the corresponding background of running a restaurant. Our designer, Adonian, does the design of all our menu and marketing materials. I like coffee and therefore at the beginning I learned to make coffee for the restaurant.
Do you all considered yourself businessmen?
No. Being a businessman is profit-oriented and I don’t think we run our restaurant this way. But of course to make this business sustainable is also important.
Michellin star or good reviews more important?
Both are recognition, and both are important. Michelin star brings fame and business. Good reviews brings us the most direct satisfaction.
Do you think food bloggers are influential?
No disrespect to this profession, I think there are plenty out there who works very hard and write very good and inspiring food reviews. But there was one who didn’t even know what al dente means and complained about her pasta undercooked.
How is it like starting up?
Extremely tiring. We were on a tight budget and we were understaffed. We hardly sleep for the first 6 months.