Beyond the bright, towering skyline, Hong Kong is known for its bustling cultural markets and varied cuisines. There is also a burgeoning design scene emerging within the city’s colorful, vibrant neighborhoods. As the Passport to Asia crew explores the many wonders of the city, Passion Passport and Cathay Pacific sought to craft a uniquely creative and local Hong Kong experience and to showcase a few of Hong Kong’s strongest creative talents.To bring this to life, Passion Passport partnered with local creative consultant Jocelyn Liipfert Lam, founder of LIIPSTIIK. Liipfert Lam first lived in Hong Kong as child, returned after college as she began working with various creative agencies, and has now lived in the city for more than a decade. She worked closely with Passion Passport to curate an experience as local and creative as possible.
As participants arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong, they found daily itineraries printed on paper that had been folded into an accordion style. Designed by the husband and wife team behind Lauhaus Creative Studio, the itineraries were inspired by Chinese calligraphy brushstrokes in a rhythm echoing the dynamic pace and urban grit of Hong Kong. Lauhaus paper goods will appear throughout the 10-day journey.
They were also welcomed into the Year of the Monkey with messages in ‘lai see‘ (利是) red pocket envelopes designed by Vickie Chan of Chantown Creative. Chan made three Year of the Monkey designs and undertook the arduous task of hand-printing the envelopes. The most popular Chinese New Year saying relates to ‘getting rich’, but in a city with such a noticeable divide between rich and poor and a sharp rate of inflation – and because lai see is often given to children – Chan created her own saying, which loosely means “cheeky and cute, in the Year of the Monkey, have good fortune.”
To locate the many neighborhoods on these itineraries and decide where to join the on-going Lunar New Year celebrations, participants can turn to a handcrafted map designed by Yawn Studio. The Hong Kong-based studio is a newer addition to the city’s scene. To hear the designers describe their approach, it is clear the brand shares the Passion Passport mission to change the travel conversation from one of things and places to one of experiences.
“This series of graphic map prints are a product of our love and appreciation for the world around us and the cities we live in,” Yawn Studio told Passion Passport. “It’s an attempt to change the stereotypical image of how city maps should be created and presented. It’s about creating maps that are more than just beautiful; but a display of affection and connection to a certain area or city.”
As they wander through the nooks and crannies of each neighborhood, the PPTA crew will likely end up at at least one wet market. There, they’re sure to hear hawkers yelling the “Myla Tai Myla Gan,” a phrase that translates to “Come and see, come and choose.” If they can’t quite remember how to pronounce it, they can look down to their tote bags, selected for PPTA by Goods of Desire (G.O.D.). Founded in 1996, this quintessential Hong Kong brand curated several products especially for this experience. The in-house designers seek to capture the cultural markers and cornerstones of the city. They also included “letterbox” magnets inspired by the unique metal letterboxes scattered throughout the hallways and staircases of older Hong Kong buildings and luggage tags featuring embroidered red taxis. More than 15,250 of these taxis, known locally as urban taxis, are currently serving Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, where the PPTA crew is staying while in the city.
They’ll also be carrying tote bags from the Maison Kitsune “HongKongais” line. Created by Gildes Loaec and Masaya Kuroki in 2002, Maison Kitsune has developed somewhat of a cult following throughout Hong Kong. The label is influenced by the fashion houses of Paris and Tokyo, striking a balance between tradition and modernity – just like the city around it. Loaec and Kuroki coined the phrase as a playful interpretation of the spirit of the citizens of the city and created the totes when they first arrived. They came to Hong Kong through Kapok, a boutique shop popular throughout Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore.
Inside their bags, they’ll be carrying custom calligraphied business cards and business card holders designed by MISCHA. Michelle Lai founded the label in an effort to bridge the world of fashion and lifestyle in a style inspired by the modern woman. The brand embraces modern and classical perspectives and is best known for its line featuring the hexagon print. Calligraphy business cards are a tradition throughout the city, with LauHaus designing a set for each PPTA participant.
By the end of the night, the participants may be heading out to explore the city’s booming nightlife – or they might choose to throw back a few drinks right at the hotel, courtesy of the HK Beer Company. Asia’s first craft brewery, HKBC was established in 1995. It originally went by the name South China Brewing Company, before changing the name in 2003. The brewmaster hails from the U.S., where he worked in the craft beer industry for more than 20 years.
Beyond the creative that the PPTA crew will meet through their products, the participants will share an intimate dinner with several of the entrepreneurs fueling Hong Kong’s creative renaissance, across various industries, including fashion, food, and storytelling to tech-powered start-ups.