deTour 2021
Design Festival

About deTour

deTour, Hong Kong’s largest design festival, returns to PMQ from 27 November to 12 December with a new level of design excitement. Working to the theme of “Use(fu)less”, Trilingua Design—deTour 2021’s curatorial team—explore the “useful” and the “useless”, the distinct functions and the intangible values of design. Interdisciplinary contributions from local and international design talents join with experts from outside design to fulfil deTour’s mission to bring mind-blowing creative works and experiences to the industry and public.

At the core of the effort is “International Collaboration”, a contemporary interpretation of an ancient mythology of love created by the internationally acclaimed Sputniko! and Napp Studio & Architects’ marrying of design and biotechnology. At “Feature Exhibition”, Match Chen and Au Chi Fung explore a confluence of design and sport; Chaklam Ng and Dr Jackie Lou delve into the power of design and sound; Mak Kai Hang, Keith Tam and Dr Cheung Sing Hang present a fusion of design and typography; and Renatus Wu Cheuk Pan and Li Hong Ting probe the chemistry between design and philosophy. “Selected Entries”, on the other hand, comprises 11 critically chosen showcases that express diverse readings of “Use(fu)less” by emerging local design groups.

Other highlights are 41 “Workshop” sessions and 11 “Design Dialogues” that promise fun, insightful topical experiences against the unique creative backdrop of PMQ. In a continuation of the last edition’s dual model, this year’s deTour presents a virtual festival alongside its physical programme, bringing cross-media interaction to a wider audience. Visit PMQ and the virtual festival website now and immerse yourself in a fascinating world of use(fu)less!

Curatorial Statement


What makes a thing useful? From a strictly utilitarian standpoint, the existence of a function should be the predominant criterion. A steel screw, for example—which holds objects sturdily together and played an important role in industrial development—is the epitome of functionality. In contrast, a sea snail shell lying idly on the beach seems to lack any discernible function at all. Yet, its natural spirals look stunningly similar to the threads of a screw. Beautiful coincidence? Or has the “functionless” sea snail been onto something all along? It’s not difficult to see that many seemingly useless things in fact possess a huge amount of invisible value, be it aesthetic, cultural, intellectual or emotional. Between “useful” and “useless” lies a vast playground where we can unleash our imagination and creativity, and expand our understanding of design.

Many designs we are all too used to today are the result of human evolution and collaboration. When we look at a design, we’re only catching it at a particular point in time. However, its current shape and function is often the culmination of decades, centuries or even millenniums of development and adaptation, informed by history, aesthetics, culture, technology and customs. And as time goes on, it will keep morphing and evolving.

With “Use(fu)less” as its starting point, deTour 2021 sets out to create a space for discussion, experimentation and exhibition. Together, let’s reflect how “useful” designs respond to specific needs, and explore how “useless” designs can serve hidden—yet equally valuable—functions.



Located in the heart of Hong Kong’s SoHo, PMQ is the landmark of creative industries in Asia’s World City. PMQ has been revived into a creative hub since 2014, housing over 100 Hong Kong Designers, showcasing workshops and studios featuring lifestyle, fashion and accessories, architecture, gifts & premium, homeware and a wide range of other designer goods. Today, PMQ has become the creative platform in supporting up and coming creative talent as well as fostering a community of patrons and lovers of creativity, design and heritage. It is also the hottest venue in town for international arts and cultural events from Hong Kong and all around the world.

Lead Sponsor

Create Hong Kong

Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) is a dedicated agency set up by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR Government) in June 2009. It is under the Communications and Creative Industries Branch of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau and dedicated to spearheading the development of creative industries in Hong Kong. Its strategic foci are nurturing talent and facilitating start-ups, exploring markets, and promoting Hong Kong as Asia’s creative capital and fostering a creative atmosphere in the community.

Partner Program

Business of Design Week (BODW)

Asia’s premier annual event on design, innovation and brands since 2002, Business of Design Week (BODW) organised by Hong Kong Design Centre gathers some of the world’s most outstanding design masters and business influencers in Hong Kong, inspiring global audiences on the strategic value of design and innovation. It provides a valuable platform for business and creative leaders to exchange ideas, network, and explore new business opportunities.

Strategic Partner

Hong Kong Design Centre

Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) is a non-governmental organisation, and was founded in 2001 as a strategic partner of the HKSAR Government in establishing Hong Kong as an international centre of design excellence in Asia. Our public mission is to promote wider and strategic use of design and design thinking to create business value and improve societal well-being, with the aim of advancing Hong Kong as an international design centre in Asia.