Toy Story
Tatler Hong Kong|August 2020
Artists around the world are queuing up to work with Hongkonger SK Lam, who brings to life the fantasies of Kaws, Joan Cornellà and more as figurines, prints and even building-sized installations
Oliver Giles

On May 1, 2013—the coldest day in May in nearly a century—more than 1,000 Hongkongers bundled up and headed to the harbourfront to welcome a larger-thanlife visitor to town: a 16.5-metre-tall inflatable rubber duck. Some residents adored it: a headline in the South China Morning Post declared “Giant rubber duck has united the city”. Others weren’t so sure about the installation, which was actually a sculpture by the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman. One animation that was widely shared on Facebook pictured the duck being bombed and sinking beneath the waves. But love it or hate it, one thing was certain: everyone in the city was talking about the big, bobbing bird in Victoria Harbour.

“It was totally different,” says Lam Shu-kam, better known as SK Lam, the founder of AllRightsReserved (ARR), the creative studio that turned Hofman’s vision for a six-storey-tall bath toy into a reality. After years of working as a creative director for a magazine, Lam launched ARR in 2003 as a graphic design and branding agency, but by 2010 it had grown into what it is today: a company that collaborates with artists to produce books, prints, limited-edition figurines and public art installations like Hofman’s duck. Other projects have included collectible statuettes designed by big-name artists such as Yue Minjun and Joan Cornellà and—most famously—the American street artist Brian Donnelly, better known as Kaws. ARR collaborated with Donnelly on his yacht-sized Kaws: Holiday inflatable sculptures, which launched in South Korea in 2018, then travelled to Taipei, Hong Kong, Japan and Qatar last year. In the next few months, Lam is launching a new series of ceramics with American artist Andy Rementer, a wooden figurine by Japanese illustrator Yusuke Hanai and, he says, another Kaws: Holiday inflatable will be unveiled—this time in a city outside Asia—before the end of the year.

“I first met Brian in my previous job, when I worked for IdN magazine in the Nineties,” says Lam. “We became friends and talked about different ideas. We naturally ended up working on art projects.” Together they have produced limited-edition soft toys and vinyl figurines of Kaws’ famous Companion character—a Mickey Mouse-like figure with crossed-out eyes—and major installations, including Seeing / Watching, an eight-metre-tall bronze sculpture of two Kaws characters that now sits atop the Changsha IFS mall in China.

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