Idiot Ville: Fotanian showcases HK’s tiniest flat

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Article by Lisa Choy; Photo: The advertisement poster of “Idiot Ville”, provided by Paper Scissors Stone (Facebook page)

Housing is the big daddy of Hong Kong’s political issues. Paper Scissors Stone have a satirical ‘solution’ – pop-up rooms for the masses!


Many believe great art comes from suffering. One of the societal ills in Hong Kong is the political issue of housing. While very few people go homeless in Hong Kong, aspirations for homeownership – and the perception of what constitutes livable housing – are a major source of personal and political angst.

The anxiety and suffering has been subtly highlighted in the very Hong Kong medium of satire of three young women from one of Hong Kong’s most exciting art collectives, Fontanian. Their eponymous annual open house at member studios in Fo Tan saw one design group take direct aim at Hong Kong’s housing issues.


Only an idiot…

Paper Scissors Stone, a design company in the Fontanian collective, caught the imagination of visitors with their piece, “Idiot Ville” 「巧﹒岸居」. The Chinese name has the homophonic pronunciation of the cantonese saying 「好戇居」meaning very daft. The name and faux advertising gently poke fun at Hong Kong’s developer-led housing industry and ideally have a more engaging means of addressing one of the largest problems affecting Hong Kong society.

The living room of the residential demonstration unit. Photo provided by Paper Scissors Stone.
The living room of the residential demonstration unit. Photo provided by Paper Scissors Stone.

“Idiot Ville” was designed so that each room of the 3D life size residential demonstration unit opens up like a pop up book. The artificially low supply of land in Hong Kong leads to incredibly small Hong Kong flats. In “Idiot Ville”, each pop-up room is opened only when it is needed – restricted space permits no more.

Photo provided by Paper Scissors Stone.
Photo provided by Paper Scissors Stone.

The choice to use cardboard as the main material of this design piece was to satirize the point that maybe one day we will run out of flats and the Government may not be able to provide us housing. Cardboard is, in Hong Kong, the material of choice for the homeless.


Paper Scissors Stone

Paper Scissors Stone is one of the graphic and handicraft design companies located in the factory buildings located in Fo Tan. It was established by Judy Lee, Shan Chow and Eva Chow in 2014.

“Fotanian” was created by a group of artists renting rooms in factory buildings in Fo Tan. They have turned these rooms to beautiful art studios that show their love and passion of art.

“Fotanian Open Studios” is a well known arts and crafts event that occurs once every year in January for two weekends. Fotanian was held on the 23rd, 24th, 30th and 31st of January this year.