HKDI graduate re-imagines his future after changing course in life
It is the ideal of many students to be able to enter university after achieving good scores in open examinations. However, Eric PANG thinks differently. A graduate of the Higher Diploma in Interior Design programme of the Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI), Eric had in fact trundled through four years of undergraduate study in a computing related programme at university before he entered HKDI. He gave himself a chance to change course in life by choosing the interior design programme. He is now well on the way to chasing down his dream of becoming an interior designer.
Eric achieved good grades in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE). Seeing that the information technology industry promised good prospects, he enrolled in a bachelor’s degree programme in computing, bent on developing a successful career. But he had overlooked the fact that personal interest is the biggest motivation for learning. “I am not very good at computing, personally. Even my year one study proved to be arduous. For instance, when my fellow students could grasp the essentials of a new programme after one or two lessons, it took me many sessions to get it. I could only complete my final year project with the help of teachers and fellow students.” He felt that he must not let his parents down, so he completed the undergraduate programme in spite of all the difficulties. But by then he had decided to re-formulate his plan for the future.
Beginning of a design dream
Inspired by his brother who is an interior designer, Eric was particularly drawn to everything design. The persistent housing demand in Hong Kong made him optimistic about the prospects for a career in interior design. So, when he had completed the undergraduate programme in university, Eric resolved to enroll in the HKDI programme of Higher Diploma in Interior Design. He started out on his design dream one step at a time and found himself totally in sync with the subject. He went on to a top-up degree programme related to interior design offered by the School for Higher and Professional Education (SHAPE), another member institution of the Vocational Training Council (VTC). He has already been hired by a company and will take up the post of assistant interior designer when he graduates from SHAPE this summer.
“I would always look forward to my brother bringing back new design products and, compared to the computing assignments I had, I would rather help my brother to finish the product models. I am particularly moved by the enthusiasm he has when he works around the clock to thrash out the best sketch possible,” Eric says.
Design flair recognised time and again
Eric has selected interior design from among the various design fields because he finds it gives him ample space to play to his best. Initially he was worried that he might not keep up with the learning pace because he did not have the necessary foundation. Luckily the HKDI programme enabled him to acquire the design skills, step by step. “The first design assignment required us to make a concrete object to represent an abstract idea. I spent several days making a small tower in twisted lines with hundreds of cardboard papers to represent the perpetually bustling streets in Causeway Bay.” Eric was commended by his teacher for the work piece, which was indeed a shot in the arm for his changeover.
“HKDI regularly arranges design projects for us, like designing learning spaces in different campuses, to acquire practical experience,” he explains. “In some cases, we would first visit the site in person and examine its interior structure, and then choose the appropriate materials, furniture and lighting fixtures that chimed in with the theme. Through this, we were able to experience the actual work of an interior designer.”
As well as furniture pairing, some interior designers also design furniture. Eric points out that HKDI once collaborated with a global paper packaging enterprise to arrange for students to design and make large home furniture with patented paper materials. The chair designed by Eric was handpicked as an excellent showpiece for open display in Hong Kong.
Last year, Eric teamed up with fellow students to take part in the HKT Smart Living Awards 2018, winning the Gold prize in the Student category and the Most Popular Smart Living Design Award with their work entitled “Mirror”, which applied smart conceptual design to a cramped living space. His design capabilities were thus affirmed.
Earning industry recognition
HKDI organises a graduation show every year, inviting industry veterans. The graduation work of Eric last year was a co-living space design that encouraged “hidden youth” to come in touch with people. His work earned him the appreciation of a local interior design company which went on to engage him as a part-timer. Upon graduation from SHAPE this summer, Eric will start to work full-time at the company as assistant interior designer.
In the run-up to the HKDSE results to be released in July, Eric, as a past candidate, exhorts students to follow their passion and aptitude in their study options, work out their life plans, and strike out for their dream and career.