The DFA Design for Asia Awards 2019

A total of 211 awardees are recognised in the DFA Design for Asia Awards 2019, including 9 Grand Awards, 1 Grand Award for Culture, 1 Grand Award for Sustainability, 1 Grand Award for Technology, 7 Grand Award with Special Mention, 15 Gold Awards, 29 Silver Awards, 63 Bronze Awards, and 85 Merit Awards.

DFA Awards consists of 5 categories as follows:

  • DFA Lifetime Achievement Award
  • DFA Design Leadership Award
  • DFA World's Outstanding Chinese Designer
  • DFA Design for Asia Awards
  • DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award


DFA Awards 2019 celebrates established and emerging designers that push creative boundaries and pave the way for the Asian design industry. Creatives from across the region entered their innovative design projects into the DFA Design for Asia Awards (DFAA) and talented young designers also submitted their overseas plans to DFA Hong Kong Young Design Talent Award (DFA HKYDTA), part of the five major DFA Awards programmes to recognise local and international design professionals and experts.

In 2019, it received over 1,100 entries from 24 economies, a reflection of the awards prestige and the growth of Asian design power. Japan tops the leaderboard, followed by Mainland China and then HKSAR. Key design themes that have naturally emerged include: Green is the new black – highlighting sustainable products and apparel design; A sojourn for the senses – using the five elements to create artistic installations to create destinations of the future; Old is gold – revitalising traditional craftsmanship showcasing how young creatives can keep local culture alive through design; Design longevity – creations that last through generations; and Design for an empathetic world – reconnecting people, nature and self through design excellence.

The judging panel comprised of industry leaders and experts recognised 211 design projects for their design excellence, including 9 Grand Awards, 1 Grand Award for Culture, 1 Grand Award for Sustainability, 1 Grand Award for Technology, 7 Grand Award with Special Mention and 192 Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit awards from four design disciplines – Apparel and Accessory Design, Communication Design, Environmental Design, and Product and Industrial Design – across a wide range of specialist categories.

The list of Grand Award winning companies is the following:

  • Seoul Metropolitan Government, THE allim Company 
  • Shulin Architectural Design
  • UNStudio
  • Rhys Company Limited
  • Beijng Tsingpu Retreat and Culture Co., Ltd.
  • MAD Architects
  • Revery Architecture and Ronald Lu & Partners
  • Zhejiang Made In Natural Culture Creative Co., Ltd.
  • Nan Fung Design

Grand Award - JAHADAM Project (Project Location: South Korea)

Winning Company: Seoul Metropolitan Government, THE allim Company Economy: South Korea

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award). jahadam project (1)

The Jahadam Project was done on a three-way pedestrian overpass located at Shinyoung-Dong, Seoul, Korea. The goal was to develop this pedestrian overpass as a public art structure using a multidisciplinary approach reflecting local cultural and historical context, the bridge’s spatial characteristics and visitor analysis to make it a meaningful experience. The Jahadam project transformed the oldest overpass structure into a new cultural space, combining the resident’s imagination and ideas arising from the surrounding environment where nature and city life coexist.

Grand Award - Mountain House in Mist (Project Location: Mainland China) 

Winning Company: Shulin Architectural Design
Company Economy: Mainland China

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (gold award). exhibition halls of rice barns in wuzhen (2)

The house is located in an ancient mountain forest in Wuyi County, Jinhua, Zhejiang Province. The village maintains complete features from old inhabitants in this area, with buildings scatters in different altitudes by the mountain line and dense trees with history of over 100-year at the entrance.

The book house aims to create a serene reading space that clam people down, thus attracting the younger generation to return to the mountains. It also provides a colourful and quiet place so that children and the elderly can feel freedom and happiness in this house.

Grand Award - Raffles City Hangzhou (Project Location: Mainland China) 

Winning Company: UNStudio
Company Economy: Hong Kong (SAR)

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award). raffles city hangzhou (5)

Raffles City Hangzhou is a sustainable urban hub for living, working and leisure. A rich mix of 24/7 functions, within two streamlined towers set atop a podium and plaza and an underground connection to the metro. The concept is to integrate mixed use in an urban context, creating one seamless flow, whereby the inclusive approach to sustainability is the core aspect of this all-in-one destination. It is the first retail mall in China to use natural ventilation on a large scale and has achieved a LEED Gold sustainability certificate.

Grand Award - Rhys (Project Location: Hong Kong)

Winning Company: Rhys Company Limited
Company Economy: Hong Kong (SAR)

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Rhy sees deficiency in decent and fashionable adaptive clothing in Hong Kong despite the growing demand from the aging population. The brands re-adopt the manufacturing manpower in the city and create job opportunities for the grassroots by employing a team of local ladies to join our training programme and manufacture garments for the elderly and people with special needs. The light fabric and the waterproof interlining improve users' experience and ensure comfort under the warm and humid weather and the relatively small living space.

Grand Award - Tsingpu Retreats (Project Location: Mainland China)

Winning Company: Beijng Tsingpu Retreat and Culture Co., Ltd.
Company Economy: Mainland China

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award). tsingpu retreats (8)

Tsingpu comes from the Tibetan language, meaning “original”. The retreat was created with the concept of “back to the original”, focusing on the beauty of the unique scenery of the Yangzhou City, blending of architectural innovation and traditional culture. Tsingpu thrives to be China’s leading provider of humanistic vacation lifestyle.

Grand Award - Tunnel of Light (Project Location: Japan) 

Winning Company: MAD Architects
Company Economy: Mainland China

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award). tunnel of light (10)

While rich in nature, Echigo-Tsumari, Japan suffers from an aging and decreasing population that sees many young people moving away for work or education opportunities. In 2000, the Echigo-Tsumari Triennale was founded to restore the cultural energy that once empowered the area. Revealed at the 2018 Echigo-Tsumari Triennale, ‘Tunnel of Light’ is the restoration of the historic Kiyotsu Gorge

Tunnel that cuts through distinctive rock formations, offering panoramic views over one of Japan’s three great chasms. Drawing on nature's ‘five elements’, the design sees artistic installations installed along each lookout - each intervention offers renewed perspectives of the treasured landscape, re-connecting people with the beauty of the land.

Grand Award - Xiqu Centre (Project Location: Hong Kong)

Winning Company: Revery Architecture and Ronald Lu & Partners
Company Economy: Hong Kong (SAR)

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award). xiqu centre (1)

The Xiqu Centre is the first performing arts venue in the new West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) in Hong Kong, the city’s new precinct for arts and culture. Conceived as a cultural sanctuary, blending theatre, Chinese culture and public space for celebration and contemplation, the Xiqu Centre embraces the cultural richness of East and West by creating a contemporary expression that allows this most ancient art form of Chinese cultural heritage to continue its trajectory as it evolves with contemporary technology. With its brilliant facade and reinterpretation of the customary Chinese Moon Gate motif, the Xiqu Centre creates a captivating landmark entrance as the gateway to WKCD. “Qi”, meaning “flow”, is expressed throughout the complex through curvilinear paths and forms and arched entrances designed around a multi-level circular atrium.

Grand Award & Grand Award for Culture - The power of action

Winning Company: Zhejiang Made In Natural Culture Creative Co., Ltd. Company Economy: Mainland China

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award & grand award for culture). the power of action (3)

Made in Nature Culture began in 2013, its goal is to record and reimagine China’s traditional handicraft culture. The team travelled to the remote and impoverished county of Lishui in Zhejiang Province to study the state of traditional culture in China’s rural hinterland. The documentary first focused on finding China’s folkways, local customs, and artistic practices, unveiling the beauty and elegance of the local within our vast country, and grow to create a framework and organisation for the remaking and rebirth of these traditional cultural practices, forging a path ‒ a path that is truly sustainable ‒ for the preservation and continuation of China’s traditional culture.

Grand Award & Grand Award for Sustainability - The Mills (Project Location: Hong Kong) 

Winning Company: Nan Fung Design
Company Economy: Hong Kong (SAR)

adf-web-magazine-dfa design for asia awards 2019 (grand award & grand award for sustainability). the mills (7)

The Mills is a landmark revitalisation project that celebrates a vital Hong Kong industrial legacy. Anchored in the industrial district of Tsuen Wan where the textile industry flourished in post-WWII period, the project aims to preserve a lost heritage and establish new possibilities for innovation, culture and learning. Construction of the Mills involved transforming three former cotton mills into a single coherent complex – a destination consisting of a business incubator, experiential retail and a non-profit art and cultural centre.

Grand Award for Technology - Cosmo Leap Sigma

Winning Company: KONICA MINOLTA, INC.
Company Economy: Japan

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The Cosmo Leap Sigma is an exceptionally compact optical planetarium projector for medium-sized planetarium domes. It realised the smallest system in its class by integrating multiple projectors. At the same time, Konica Minolta was the first in the world to succeed in building 80 projections (5 times the conventional model) into the one-star ball. In addition, a direct drive motor is used for the diurnal axis, achieving quiet operation like in a library. All the projector movements of the Cosmo Leap Sigma conveys the orderly universe. The jet-black star ball is surrounded by a rod framework of elaborate Polyhedra like a twinkling star. The elaborate design harmonises with the cosmic space in a dome, inviting children to explore detailed stories of the starry skies.