Walking through Hong Kong's Happy Valley last week, a billboard caught my eye: "Delay No More," it said in large type next to a photograph of a guy undoing his belt buckle. A friend enlightened me: Delay No More is the fashion brand of Goods of Desire, a chain of design-y stores that since its founding in 1996 has spread from Hong Kong to Singapore and beyond. I had to inspect for myself.
I came away from the crammed, Hollywood Road branch only with Pacman-like t-shirt ($16). Oh, and a "double happiness" keychain ($14), though I could have bought the same striking Chinese characters in three dimensions as candles ($18), trivets, napkin rings or any other number of applications. The store's trick is to use traditional Chinese images for their graphic punch as well as their connotations in creating accoutrements for the modern home. Even the store's abbreviated name, G.O.D., is a pun not only on the religion of shopping, but also on the Cantonese phonetic sound of the word, which means, "to live better."
G.O.D., art directed by its architecture-trained founder Douglas Young, mixes mass-market kitsch, Mao-era propaganda and sleek modern design. Chinese letter boxes become card cases ($12), photographs of tenements adorn mouse pads ($7) and ring binders exhort you to "Make Meaningful Content," "Keep Things Organized," and, of course, "Delay No More" ($8) for a set of four in assorted colors.
So jet over to Asia and pack up the goodies, for Young has no plans to open in America and only a few of the items are available online. Luckily, those do include the Panda eyeshades ($14) I somehow overlooked in the store but could have used on the flight back. Those "Delay No More" belt buckles, by the way, are available in a variety of colors for the extravagant sum of $45.
For more information, check out Goods of Desire.
Critic, curator and museum director Aaron Betsky curated the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2008, ran Rotterdam's Netherlands Architecture Institute from 2001-2006 and these days, helms the Cincinnati Art Museum. See his previous blogs HERE and check back on Thursday for his next post.