We met with Roger Ball (PHD) Director and Founder of the Size China Project and among other things is Assistant Professor at PolyU’s School of Design. As a co-founder of Paradox Design in Canada, he created high performance sports products for clients such as Itech Sport, Burton Snow boards, Brine Lacrosse, and Nike/Bauer.
Out on the snowfields he found that many of his Asian snowboarding companions removed their headgear frequently, even when descending a slope. They suffered headaches from their helmets. On further research he discovered that the majority of headgear proportions were based on a non-Asian set of standards. No one had mapped the Asian head! And so the Size China Project began; to map a digital database of Asian head and face sizes for use by manufacturers and designers internationally. It was the first such digital database of its kind.
Through 3D digital scanning, measurement data was collected from males and females in six distinct areas on the Chinese mainland to ensure the patterns of features and differences were captured in the study. These areas included Guangzhou, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Langzhou, Beijing, and Shenyang. This process was undertaken in collaboration with Chinese universities and local industries with expertise in ergonomics.
While there Roger, Tina Yan Luximon ( PHD, Chief Scientist) and Janis Tsui Ka Man (Research Assistant; CAD Specialist) scanned my head for prosperity. They have a database of designers’ heads too which includes scans of Australian Designer Marc Newson’s and Architect Zaha Hadid’s head.
Roger gave a tour of PolyU’s School of Design where we saw some great work by Industrial and Product Design, Environment and Interior Design students and graduates. In 2012/13 PolyU Design will move into a new home, Innovation Tower, the first permanent architectural work in Hong Kong by Zaha Hadid. It will provide additional space to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration.
I also met other members of the School of Design including Scot Laughton and Martin Wong. The team at PolyU Design was amazingly generous with their time and thoughts and I felt a special connection with their inquisitive and creative process, and forward thinking approach to the teaching of design.