Xavier Tsang graduated from Automation and Design Engineering at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Furniture Design in Accademia Italiana D’arte, Moda e Design. He founded the artisanal candle and fragrance brand BeCandle in 2012. By producing locally at its Sai Kung shop-factory complex with premium materials carefully sourced worldwide, BeCandle’s products have gained widespread recognition and international distribution.
Located in an upscale residential neighbourhood on Hong Kong Island, Haw Par Mansion and the adjoining Tiger Balm Garden were once a popular destination for Hongkongers to spend a weekend afternoon. While the mansion has been preserved as a historic landmark, the redeveloped garden has become a collective memory. Hong Kong and Italian-trained designer Xavier Tsang collected stories about the mansion complex. The group of sculptures commonly known as the Ten Courts of Hell have left a lasting impression on many people because their graphic depiction of blood and violence served as an effective lesson in morality for children and adults alike. Inspired by this, Tsang, who is also the founder of the artisan candle company BeCandle in Sai Kung, Hong Kong, created an olfactory experience to evoke the shockingly gruesome imagery of the group of sculptures. The ideas behind 10 Scents originate in the folk understanding of the realm of the dead. The installation includes the scents of fire, ice, blood and metal, each representing the torment of the dominant element to which departed souls are subjected. Tsang also designed a pendulum in which aluminium foam, an experimental material, is used to trap and diffuse fragrance oil. Swinging into action, Tsang’s pendulum diffuser recreates the well-known narrative from the Hong Kong heritage site.
(Special thanks to Design Trust Futures Studio 2019)