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In HB Design’s newly launched monograph, accompanying the usual project descriptions and drawn, photographed, or rendered imagery are quotes – floating, unattributed quotes, such as the ones above – coming, presumably, from HB Design’s founder Hans Brouwer.

That the architect’s voice is ever present through the pages is interesting. What is the point of the monograph, if not for a practice to express its ideas directly, and in its own terms?

A monographic volume can voice many things. It can present ideas, projects, the preoccupations of a practice; it can be a manifesto that sets down philosophies and ethos; it can market and promote a practice’s best achievements. In effect, it is a useful tool for communication – and communication, as the reader of this monograph will learn, is an important and fundamental underpinning of HB Design.

After eight years of working at Foster & Partners, Hans Brouwer started HB Design in Hong Kong in 1995 with Anthony Wang, a friend and fellow graduate from the architecture school of University of Southern California. In the first chapter, Stepping Stones: Hong Kong 1995 – 1998, Paul McGillick writes: ‘While the background at Fosters clearly lent credibility, the real value of the time at Foster & Partners proved to be lessons learned from Sir Norman’s ability to communicate an approach, which distils a design concept into clearly formulated strategies the can be easily adhered to. Hans adopted three key principles: approach, process, buildability…

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