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(Upcycling projects at APOPHENIA, in 2016)

Habitat and Stitch are upcycling product design projects that took a collaborative approach to add value for both the material and the product producers/ providers.

A glass NGO collects the trash from bars and restaurants for recycling and the shocking fact that glass takes at least a million years to decompose;

Rehabilitation services at St. James’ Settlement for people with mental disabilities or ex-mentally ill persons and material simple waste from interior design firms.

I was part of a product design studio APOHENIA which utilised design skills and technics to create products which paid attention to the environment and connections within communities with brought the message of environmental protection issues.

Collaborating and Engaging with Cross-disciplinary Teams    |  Adding values for different stakeholders

Habitat was commissioned as a conference gift appropriate to a lecture series based on environmental protection. The bottles themselves were upcycled from local bars and restaurants, and collected by an NGO committed to reducing Hong Kong’s waste.
Twinned with APOPHENIA’s upcycling ethics, the result was a playful integration of two forms of environmental interaction. First, the gift consisted of a glass container protecting a small habitat based on either dry or humid conditions.

Environmental policies are often communicated as dramatic imperatives: Reduce! Reuse! Recycle! However, sometimes softer tactics, such as relational narratives, make a more long-lasting impression on peoples’ behaviour. Habitat combined an attractive product with education on the shocking fact that it takes glass at least a million years to decompose. Thus, there is a striking mismatch between the life cycle of the bottle, and the vegetation APOHENIA placed within, prompting the person caring for the plant, to also take better care of their material practices.

Stitch was assembled at St. James’ Settlement as part of its rehabilitation programme for people with mental disabilities. Assisted by sewing professionals and social workers, the finished products were to a high standard, which all the team were proud of.

Stitch was a collaborative project between APOPHENIA, green fashion studio Circoloop, and the sewing group from St. James’ Settlement – a Hong Kong-based charity and community centre for the socially vulnerable.


The aim was to initiate a truly three-way effort, giving a sense of purpose and dignity to members of St. James at the same time as reusing waste materials generated within the design industry.

We drafted the initial prototype of a simple phone pouch, constructed using bulk waste from an interior design firm. Circoloop finalised the design, adding details using leftover material from a local clothing company.

Stitch was about more than a single design object, but rather encouraged the use of design to thread together a community of producers committed to environmental protection and social equality.
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