DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021 Winners Announcement


One of Asia’s most prestigious design awards honours three trailblazers in the world of design, and the design projects globally that have influenced and meaningful impact on Asia

HONG KONG SAR – Media OutReach – 19 October 2021 – The DFA Awards is a flagship programme of the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC). It is comprised of five major awards to acknowledge leaders for their outstanding contributions to the design industry and celebrate projects at the forefront of design excellence with Asian perspectives. Three trailblazers in the world of design have been awarded in 2021: Patrick Whitney, Professor in Residence of Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health – DFA Lifetime Achievement Award (DFA LAA), Min-Liang Tan, CEO & Co-founder of Razer Inc. – DFA Design Leadership Award (DFA DLA), and Freeman Lau, Founder of KL&K Creative Strategics – DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer (DFA WOCD). In addition, 180 awards were conferred under the DFA Design for Asia Awards (DFA DFAA).

Organised by the Hong Kong Design Centre (HKDC) with Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government as the lead sponsor, the DFA Awards was launched in 2003 to underpin the role of designers within society, celebrate design excellence with positive influence and impacts in Asia.

Upon reflection of this year’s awards, Professor Eric Yim, Chairman of HKDC states:

“Design is a vital part of Hong Kong, a city that brings people, culture and ideas together. This is especially critical at a time when the world has witnessed so much uncertainty brought on by the pandemic. This year, I am delighted to honour three exceptional leaders: Patrick Whitney, Min-Liang Tan, and Freeman Lau, all have shown through their work, dedication and leadership how design can be used to inspire communities, unite people from all walks of life through one singularity, and contribute to the betterment of society in Asia and beyond.”

DFA Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 (DFA LAA)

Patrick Whitney – Professor in Residence, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health

Patrick Whitney is the Professor in Residence of D-lab in the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, a leading laboratory that explores and demonstrates how design methods and frameworks can improve human well-being. He is widely regarded as a thought leader for pioneering the notions of human-centred design and strategic design. He is a highly esteemed speaker at multiple international design events, on topics such as innovation, sustainability and human well-being. Global Entrepreneur Magazine named him as one of 25 people worldwide contributing the most in bringing new ideas to businesses in China.

DFA Lifetime Achievement Award 2021 honours Whitney’s vast contribution to the design industry through design strategy development, education programmes, and his advisory work to governing design bodies, actively strengthening the relationship between design theory and practice.

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DFA Design Leadership Award 2021 (DFA DLA)

Min-Liang Tan – CEO & Co-founder, Razer Inc.

As the pioneer of e-sports hardware, former lawyer Min-Liang Tan is seen as a trailblazer for the younger generation, of someone following their dream and at the same time adding valuable contributions to society. As CEO, Co-founder and Creative Director of the world’s leading lifestyle brand for gamers – Razer Inc., Tan has demonstrated how forward-thinking and innovative design can disrupt the gaming industry.

DFA Design Leadership Award 2021 honours his leadership throughout the years in pushing the boundaries of the gaming industry and driving industry innovation through design. Under Tan’s strategic and creative direction, Razer has gone from a two-man startup to a multinational market leader and Unicorn in the technology world.


DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer 2021 (DFA WOCD)

Freeman Lau – Founder, KL&L Creative Strategics

Freeman Lau is a Hong Kong designer, renowned for his art and design innovations. He is the brains behind some of Hong Kong’s most iconic designs such as the Watson Water bottle, which earned him multiple awards. The design aesthetics and its functionality has lauded a critical breakthrough in the history of bottled water. In addition, Lau has been tirelessly promoting the development of design in Hong Kong, Greater China and Asia.

Lau’s creative prowess spans across the entire design spectrum, from graphic design, packaging design, to fine arts. His contributions are widely recognised in society His creative contributions have a significant, cultural impact in Asia, which is best demonstrated by his ‘Chairplay’ series. The series includes a range of furniture and sculptures, which has been shown worldwide at different exhibitions. The notion of Chairplay is a metaphor for the exploration of different human centric issues and is one of Lau’s signature works.

DFA World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer 2021 honours his devotion and contribution to promoting the design, creative industry and culture of Hong Kong and Asia.


DFA Design for Asia Awards 2021 (DFA DFAA)

Since its launch in 2003, the DFA Design for Asia Awards has served to celebrate design excellence and acknowledge outstanding designs with Asian perspectives. It has been a stage upon which design talents and corporations can showcase their design projects internationally. It consists of the Grand Award and Category Award. Category Award entries are recruited by open submission to one of 24 categories under four key design disciplines, namely Apparel & Accessory Design, Communication Design, Environmental Design, and Product & Industrial Design; Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit awards are presented to the outstanding projects. Gold award winners from the Category Award and other nominated design projects will be considered for the Grand Award.