Do you want to hear a story of carefully created cork bags? Civilian Goods was founded by Husband and Wife duo Kenneth Ng and Candy Kok in Hong Kong. Both of them are designers from San Francisco and relocated to Hong Kong a few years ago. They love to craft things and explore materials and enjoy the simplicity of designing and making stuff. In particular, they have released a fantastic range of uniquely useful textured bags in a range of sizes and applications. Here’s a little chat we had with them about their brand and what they like to do around Hong Kong.
Tell us a little about yourself?
Both of us graduated from California College of Art in San Francisco. Kenneth graduated in BFA of Product Design and Candy as BFA of Graphic Design. With our similar background, it sound like the perfect match to start something together. In 2011, we started Civilian Goods and begun sharing our designs with the public.
What’s the concept behind your brand?
Our objective is to design and create simple but functional; minimal yet fashionable products. We called it “Civilian Goods” because we want our products to be suitable for everyone – for business people, yuppies, college kids etc… our products are design to be functional and fashionable and at reasonable prices for the mass audience.
What guides you into designing a specific object?
We observe and survey every season and see what is in the market what is currently lacking. For example since Kenneth and I are frequent travelers, we used to keep all our travel documents in one big zip bag, obviously it’s not very pretty and it is big to carry with us. We have also asked other frequent flyer and they also have the same problem. Therefore we decided to design the travel pouch to solve the problem. We believe that designers are problem solvers, if we find a problem we will try to solve it. We usually start from sketching out our concept. For each product we will usually sketch out 5-10 concepts, then we will select 1-2 ideal ones for sampling.
What makes Civilian Goods’ products or concepts so unique?
Although our products are simple, yet we like to explore different materials and mix n’ match them. We believe in unique approaches towards design has been key to their success. Our design motto is Less is More. We also believe as a designer apart from creating products that are pretty, we also have to be responsible to what we choose to use. We like to play around with materials. Cork is a material that is usually seen as a bulletin board, or on a wine bottle. By chance, we found this big sheet of cork material and therefore we begun using it in our products.
In Hong Kong, What are your favorite places to…Shop? We like going to small shops around town. Sun street have a few small boutique that are quite nice to hang out and shop. Drink? Globe at Central is a nice hanging out place with friends. A cozy environment and a good selections of drinks. Eat? We like going to yum cha (dim sum and tea lunch) like many locals do. Old school yum cha restaurants are something unique in Hong Kong that we like to recommend to visitors. Lok Yu Restaurant and Lin Heung Restaurant at Central will be a good experience for visitors. Chill out? Hong Kong is a very small city with a very high population. Therefore during our free time we like to find places with less people. We like hanging out or inviting friends to our house to hang out for a drink and games. When the weather is good (usually around March – May/ Oct – Nov), we like to go for a nice hike. Hong Kong is known for its night life and shopping, but there is also a nice natural side of Hong Kong that not many people know about.