Design Legacy: Asian Lifestyle Design Lab

Selected research project(s):

In Search of Placemaking Strategies Adopted in the Public Art Project City Dress Up: Seats.Together

In 2016, the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) gave forth the largest scale public art project to foster the global outlook of Hong Kong through the nomination of five guest curators and twenty famous Hong Kong design teams to explore alternative park furniture solutions at different districts of Hong Kong. The project is called “City Dress Up: Seats.Together” (Seats.Together). It commenced in 2016 and twenty sets of creative public furniture were installed in July 2017 till July 2020 or onwards.

The project teams demonstrated diversified public art and design strategies. The works received tremendous success from various perspectives, including local and international awards. Meanwhile, the twenty designs bring in various “place-making” strategies which not only extends the definition of park seating furniture but also supports the development of creative citizenship through facilitating different users or community stakeholders to use the park furniture (or the public space) creatively while having ownership and self-actualization, etc.

Public art seating works in 20 sites

In terms of the scale of stakeholder’s participation, approaches, and contexts, this project is a collective and unique community experiment in which meaningful stories and useful knowledge are produced. For instance, different design approaches, community engagement methods and implementation strategies adopted by the individual project team are valuable assets that can inform future practice. A comprehensive study for reviewing the processes and the measurement of the impact of the design will be carried out through stakeholder interview, site observations, and user’s creative input. Content analysis is applied to conduct the comparative study of the data and concepts collected from the twenty parks. The result will shed light on the park furniture design guideline for the improvement of creative practices and project management. The result benefits both Hong Kong and international audiences who are interested in community art and design methods in the high population urban context.

“Seats.Together” offers alternative engagement and design strategies to the enhancement of quality of life of local communities through the park projects. This research project aims to identify the evidence from the learning experience and feedback of the stakeholders with the hypothesis that a creative and appropriate park furniture design can bring positive value changes in a community.

Cultural Backyard @ Mody Road Garden aerial view

Collaborative Parties:

Jockey Club Design Institute of Social Innovation PolyU, Art Promotion Office (APO) and
Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) of HKSAR

Team Members from Asian Lifestyle Research Lab:

Principal Investigator: Brian Lee
Research Associates: Ada Chan, Ire Tsui
Student Design Team: Destiny Chan, Susan Choi, Jenna Hung, Jessica Luk, Chan Lok Tung
Research Interns: Destiny Chan, Chan Lok Tung, Susan Choi, Smiley Chow, Jenna Hung, Jessica Luk, Derek Ng, Angel Tsang
Editor and Translators: Jessie Ng, Terry Soong


A Multidisciplinary Initiative of Intervening Mobile Addiction via Family-focused and Gamification-enhanced Design


Mobile phone overuse, Research through design, Family functioning, gamification enhanced intervention, Parents and adolescent relationship

Project intro & process:

Can collective play enhance cohesiveness of parent and adolescent relationships associated with excessive mobile phone use? Based on the family functioning and gamification theory, this project is the first of its kind in Hong Kong that design academia collaborates with addiction counselling professions in exploring a family focused intervention strategy (alternative practice to one of current clinical practices) to verify the assumption that collective play activities can impact positively on parent and adolescent relationships, in return enhancing the psychosocial role of family in mitigating likelihood of addiction development of adolescents. With data collected and evaluated with various families, initial results apparently assured the benefits of this gamification enhanced intervention in a family context.

A play-platform (also an interactive lamp) is designed to enhance parent-adolescent interactivity at home. We identified positive benefits that physical collective-play not only stimulated emotional connectivity between parents and adolescents but also encouraged them to relive joyful memories of family activities before the mobile overuse problem had arisen. First phase of the project was commenced from Feb 2016 and second phase will end at 2019.

The prototype:

The play-platform contains four major parts: (i) the ‘table’, which assembled mainly by ‘ready-made’ components, such as a mobiles charger, a wooden framework, a plastic casing from IKEA, and a vibration activated timer; (ii) the ‘lamp’, which integrates a bulb, LED display, motion sensor and Bluetooth module into a 3D printed housing to provide random game play instruction; (iii) the game-card book where six stacks of competitive games (for physical-competence and intellectual challenges) are kept to be randomly suggested; and lastly (iv) the gaming-record book and the lamp’s operation manual. 

The operation:

Family members are encouraged to rest their phones on the play-platform for charging.  The lamp will be awoken by the first mobile to land on its charger. When all members’ phones are placed on the charger, the lamp brightened further, showing a smiling expression, and invited the family to play. When a hand waved over the lamp’s sensor, the lamp will suggest games randomly via its LED display.  Players can then open the gamebook and draw a card randomly from within the stack suggested by the lamp. Various competitive games with specific time constraints are available.


  1. Leong, B. D., Lee, B. Y. H., & Chow, K. K. N. (2018). Collective Play Versus Excessive Use: an Insight into Family-Focused Design Intervention for Mobile Phone Overuse. International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction, 1-16. (DOI:
  2. LEONG Benny, LEE Brian, CHOW Kenny. (2017). A Multidisciplinary Initiative of Intervening Mobile Addiction via Family-focused and Gamification-enhanced Design, Asia - Design Engineering Workshop (A-DEWS), Seoul National University, Dec 11-12, 2017 (best presentation award)
  3. CHOW Kenny, LEONG Benny, LEE Brian. (2017). Designing intervention with technology for healthy mobile use - Personal and home approach. The First Asia Pacific Conference of Addiction Professionals (APCAP), HK, May 18-19, 2017


Integrated Centre on Addiction Prevention and Treatment (ICAPT) of Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Hong Kong


Creative Director: Benny Leong
Design Director: Brian Lee
Interaction Design Consultant: Kenny Chow
ICAPT Counsellor: Elda Chan
Product Designer: Ada Chan
Engineer: John Mak
Production Consultant: Industrial Centre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University