How to Live a Green Life? / 如何過上綠色生活?

CoBo Social Chinese Abstraction Series

I am constantly aware of every influence that my actions have on the world: the founding of K11 Art Foundation and the promotion of the art mall concept are done with the hope of bringing wider exposure to art and to support the growth of the art community; the project of incorporating design, art and architectural concepts into the construction of standard residential projects is done with the hope of bringing to the masses beautiful living spaces and a different vision of living. I also believe that everyone has the equal right to make a contribution, certainly when it comes to making an effort towards protecting the environment, as our planet is suffering from more and more problems caused by human actions. As a father, I am not at all confident that the next generation will be able to enjoy the beauty of nature and abundant energy resources. But, what can we do in the face of these difficulties? Aside from cutting consumption of meat and dairy to reduce greenhouse gasses, which many people have learned about in recent years, what other creative environmental protection measures and long-term concepts are worth looking into?



The cases I share with everyone below include areas as different as clothing, food, housing and transport, and I hope they can give us all this extra motivation, as well as remind us that protecting the environment is a drawn-out battle which touches on every aspect in our lives. It is an all-encompassing attitude toward life.



Clothes for a Lifetime / 衣:一輩子的衣服

Convenient, cheap and available in all varieties, who doesn’t like fast fashion? However, the way these are manufactured produces a lot of pollution and waste, and it is our planet that pays the price for our consumption habits. With this in mind, UK designer Tom Cridland created the 30 Year T-shirt, its selling point being that it lasts for 30 years, providing people with an alternative to fast fashion. If the quality is good and the design is such that it would not go out of style, I would certainly be happy to wear the same item of clothing all my life. After all, the items we wear do not just reflect the desire to show-off one’s status and our consumer satisfaction; there is also the feeling that using a particular item creates, and also the choice of an item reflects the user’s value system and individuality. Cridland’s low key, single color design uses the classic cotton round collar t-shirt as a base. Though only five colors are available, the quality is top notch. Working with Portuguese craftsmen, he produced a wear-resistant fabric while strengthening and adding thickness to both the stitching on the sleeves, the hem and other parts that get worn out easily. If any damage does occur, they are willing to repair it for free and cover postage costs. The spirit of such craftsmanship is very close to my heart, and it goes beyond simply making things—it is not just an artisan spirit serving to satisfy contemporary demands, but one that last a lifetime.

又快又廉宜又多款式的速食時裝,有誰不愛?但這種時裝工業的運作生態,正造成大量的污染和浪費,讓地球為我們的購物模式付上代價。有見及此,英國設計師Tom Cridland便推出「30年運動衫」,以30年保養為賣點,為人們在速食時裝以外提供另一種選擇。的確,若有好品質和永不過時的設計,我絕對樂意將同一件衣服穿上一輩子——畢竟物件的意義不單在於炫耀身份地位和滿足購物慾,也在於在使用中建立的情感,對物件的選擇亦反映了使用者的價值觀和個性。Cridland低調的單色設計,將經典的棉質圓領運動衫還原基本步,雖只有五種顏色選擇,但品質絕不欺場。他與葡萄牙的工匠合作,打造出一種耐用防損耗的布料,並將袖口縫位、衣襬等較易磨損的部位加固加厚。如果有任何破損,他們願意免費修補,並承擔回郵費用。這很貼近我心目中的匠心精神,甚至比匠心精神更進一步,不單止是製作時的匠心,更加是一輩子的匠心。



Waste-Free Dining / 食:零廢飲食

There is a Chinese saying that food is life, but eating is also very often accompanied by overproduction and waste. The amount of waste produced by a single popular restaurant in a given week is measured in tons, which is a situation that must be taken seriously. A while ago, designer Linda Bergroth joined forces with Finnish Design Shop to design a zero-waste restaurant. Working with the entire operational system, not only were the restaurants’ rooms and furniture made with reclaimable, reusable materials, but the operations were ran under the principle of refuse, reduce, reuse. I have only just realized that the concept of recycling that used to be seen as the objective of environmental protection is already outdated. For example—paper take-away cups made with reusable cardboard. This presupposition has already been relegated as a wrong one. We must clearly distinguish the difference between measures that treat symptoms rather than problems and those aimed at reducing waste at the source.

所謂民以食為天,但伴隨著「食」而來的,往往是廚餘和浪費。一間受歡迎的餐廳,一星期產生的垃圾隨時數以噸計,情況不容小覷。早前設計師Linda Bergroth便與Finnish Design Shop聯手,設計了一個完全零浪費的餐廳,從整個營運系統入手——不單餐廳的間隔和家具全都用上循環再生物料打造,以refuse、reduce、reuse為其營運方針。我才開始意識到,一向被視為環保指標的回收再造recycle,其實已經很落後,如外帶紙杯,便是用可再生使用的紙板造成。這已經墮入了一種錯誤的前設。所謂治標不治本,源頭減廢,也許是更加洞見的辦法。



Fairytale Forest Architecture / 住:童話式森林建築

Milan is one of my favorite cities in the world, not only because of its status as a fashion and design center, but also because of the large number of creative people that the city has drawn in to live there, making it a testing ground for new ideas. One of these people is Italian architect Stefano Boeri. In 2014 his Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) concept made Milan the first city in the world to have a vertical forest building, with the outside walls consisting of living plants. This concept is applied to cities not just because this is where a large part of the world’s population is concentrated, but also because cities are an important source of pollution. Also, Bosco Verticale can protect biodiversity as the city is growing. Taking the example of the towers of Bosco Verticale, these two 76-meter-tall residential buildings located in the heart of the city have 800 trees, 4,500 shrubs and 15,000 flowering plants. All of them have been meticulously positioned after calculating the angles of light exposure. Such large amount of vegetation has the same environmentally beneficial capacity as twenty thousand square meters of forest on flat ground! This micro-ecosystem can also improve the city’s humidity and air quality.

米蘭是我世上最喜愛的城市之一,不但因為它作為時裝及設計中心的地位,也因為米蘭作為城市,吸引了大量創意人進駐,以城市作為新意念的實驗場。意大利建築師Stefano Boeri便是其中之一。他以「垂直森林」為概念,於2014年為米蘭帶來了世上第一座外牆佈滿植物的垂直森林建築。這意念針對城市——因城市不但是世上大部分人聚集的所在,也是污染的主要來源。而垂直森林讓城市在發展的同時,也能保有生物多樣性。以米蘭的Bosco Tower為例,這幢位處城市核心地段的76米高雙幢住宅大廈,植有800棵樹木、4,500棵喬木和15,000株植物,全都在計算陽光覆蓋角度後仔細培植。如此大規模的植坡,綠化效能等同平地上2萬平方米的森林!這微型生態圈亦可同時改善市內濕度和空氣質素。


What I find really exciting is that these vertical forest projects have been sprouting like vines, in every corner of the world, spreading across over 26 cities in Europe, with seven projects in China alone. Just imagine the day when the world is full of green skyscrapers, what kind of sight will that be?




Pedal out Clean Air / 行:踏出好空氣

Lastly, Dutchman Daan Roosegaarde is one of my favorite designers because of his commitment to solving the air pollution problem in China. His powerfully creative designs have brought him international fame. One of his latest innovations is designing a pollution reducing bicycle. The bicycle is already an environmentally friendly form of transport, but Roosegaarde took this to new heights—the polluted air is filtered through a device installed at the front of the bicycle and you produce clean air as you pedal. As your bike follows you through the nooks and crannies of the city, it not only helps solve the congestion problem, but also makes a contribution to creating a clean-air environment at the same time.

最後,荷蘭設計師Daan Roosegaarde是我欣賞的其中一位設計師,因他一向致力為我國解決霧霾問題,其充滿創意的設計方法亦為他帶來國際名氣。其最新的創意之一,便是設計為城市減排的單車。單車本身已是一個環保出行的方法,但Roosegaarde則令它更上一層樓——踏單車的過程中,受污染的空氣會經過車頭的裝置,過濾成潔淨的空氣。當單車隨你走遍城市不同角落,過程中不但解決公路上的擠塞問題,亦同時為城市貢獻了一個更好的空氣環境。


Even though this bicycle is still at a concept stage, I am looking forward to seeing more of these innovations that protect the environment. By making an effort to improve the health of our planet we shall create an eternally sustainable environment to live in.






Adrian Cheng is the art pioneer who founded the K11 Art Foundation (“KAF”), a non-profit art foundation in China to incubate young contemporary artists and curators to promote public art education. By providing young emerging artists with a local, regional and international platform to gain greater public awareness, Adrian is the new generation to represent the contemporary Chinese art scene.

Adrian is ranked among the ArtReview Power 100 list in both 2014 and 2015, and also ARTnews’ Top 200 collectors in 2015, as one of the contemporary art world’s most powerful figures. He is also a Board Member of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority and member of the Interim Acquisition and M+ Museum Committee, a Board Member of the Public Art Fund of New York and MoMA PS1, Trustee of Royal Academy of Arts, Board Director of the National Museum of China Foundation, Director of CAFAM Funds of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Visiting Committee of the Department of Asian Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Member of International Circle of Centre Pompidou, Member of TATE’s International Council and Board Member of Asia Art Archive.

To follow Adrian Cheng on Social Media :
IG: @ac_kaf
WeChat : adrian_artdiary
Facebook Page: @K11 Art Foundation



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