London exhibition gives viewers a taste of Hong Kong

It is hoped that ‘Sensorial Estates’ will trigger memories in Hong Kongers that remind them of home, and for new viewers give them a taste of Hong Kong life.

“We’ve created an aromatic journey that blends stories about the emotional connection of aroma to food cultures, cha chaan tengs [Hong Kong diners], worship and the very origins of the meaning of the name Hong Kong – which translates as ‘Fragrant Harbour’ – within personal and collective memories,” said Elaine Young, curator of design objects.

The exhibition is experienced through a variety of different means such as scratch and sniff wallpaper, boxes of objects filled with the scents, and general scents that are often associated with Hong Kong. These scents include opium, egg tarts, incense, roast duck, and tea cafes.

Wendy Fok, co-chair of the exhibition, said: “Every time I smell that scent, no matter where it is or what I’m doing, the emotional state it generates is the same.

“I could become a completely different person, have my DNA warped somehow, and that sensorial estate would still be there in my memory.”

The exhibition, supported by The Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, London, is taking place at Somerset House with the theme of ‘emotional states’. It is part of the London Design Biennale 2018 which brings together designers from six continents and 40 countries.

“We believe that there is immense development potential in these sectors as a driver of the Hong Kong’s economy, and at the same time their development will create synergy with our traditional pillar industries, such as tourism and the convention and exhibition industry,” said Priscilla To, the Director-General of the London ETO.

The winner of the Public medal will be announced on 19 September and the exhibition will run until 23 September.