Design Across Borders: My Hong Kong/Beijing Trip

Monish SubherwalBlogLeave a Comment

For two weeks I was traveling on vacation to Hong Kong and Beijing. In a whole new world with different people and different needs, I saw many examples of interesting design solutions.

Here are ten that I captured and wanted to share:

1. Umbrella Cover

It was raining a lot, but at the entrance of the mall I saw this — it’s an umbrella cover. You put your umbrella in it, and it will cover it with a plastic sheet so the water doesn’t get the floor wet.


2. Umbrella Dryer

They also had an umbrella dryer — put your umbrella in it and clean it. Not sure how effective this was — I didn’t use it nor did I see anyone else using it.


3. Priority Lines

The train stations in Hong Kong had really good signs — and the people tended to follow it! Here at the elevator entrance you can see 2 lines – for Priority and Others, the icons for priority are good too.


4. Helpful arrows

When the train stops it can be a jumble. People are usually stressed. To alleviate this, signs on the floor show where you should stand.


5. Adoption of lines

People actually follow the signs!


6. Priority Seating

Priority seating on the train is marked in red. I like how they put a smiley face on the seat to differentiate (but reminds me of mcdonalds a bit much).


7. Beijing Train Map

The Beijing train station however was SUPER complicated – and difficult for any english speaking person (notice nothing is in english here!). Too many trains and many colors.


8. Elevators without the Number 4

Cultural differences – the number 4 tends to be bad luck so they remove it from the elevator. The other interesting thing was that on the left side the numbers were ascending — and on the right side of the elevator they were descending. This was so handicapped people could get to all the buttons.


9. Dragon Holes

Cultural design – many of the middle of tall buildings had something called a “dragon hole.” Folklore says that dragons would come in the evening to drink water – so the dragon holes provided passage through the building. Nice honoring of cultural traditions. This area in the building usually has a garden or something else (pretty crazy how they do this considering the cost of living there is SUPER expensive and that could be a lot of potential money to the builders/owners).


10. Fitting Rooms

Fitting rooms at the airport on the international side (Makes sense). Near baggage claim.



What have you seen?

Ever been to Hong Kong or Beijing?  Or any other part of the world?  What have you seen?  Share below.  🙂

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