Design Shanghai is the most awaited event among creatives in the Asian capital of design. From 8th to 11th March at Shanghai Exhibition Center the most important Chinese and international brands have met surrounded by installations, collateral events and exhibitions.
Why Design Shanghai
Design Shanghai ended few days ago and this year was more successful than ever. Shanghai is experiencing a deep creative and cultural Renaissance becoming the Asian capital of fashion, creativity and design. Far from a polluted and corrupted Beijing, Shanghai is the perfect city to live together with the Bund, skyscrapers, artistic districts, and fancy clubs.
Design Shanghai is the direct consequence of the fresh explosion of Chinese creative industry, a new growing and promising sector. After the great success of the 2016 edition, this year Design Shanghai came back with a new complex theme: the relation among global design, craft and manufacture. Which is China’s role in contemporary global design?
China does not want to be the world’s factory anymore. It is trying to revaluing its traditional origins through high quality craft such as precious silk qipao and white-blue Ming ceramics. However, this revival is perfectly integrated in contemporary innovative trends where digital approaches and innovative materials are considered an opportunity and not a threat.
“Design Shanghai aims to explore how eastern and western design philosophies can work together synergistically” across a big exhibition divided in five design halls: Workplace Design, Collectible Design, Classic & Luxury Design, Bathroom and Kitchen Design e Contemporary.
More than 350 exhibitors, including many Asian emerging designers, showed their works at Design Shanghai. Among speakers there were many international guests: Benjamin Hubert from Layer Design with his industrial style, Jason Bruges with his innovative installations, Jesse Mclin & Julie Progin from Latitude 22N, Kamir Rashid with his eclectic objects, the minimalist Natasa Perkovic, Paul Cocksedge mixing technology and manufacture and Bethan Laura Wood with her colorful symphonies.
Among several initiatives, Emerging Chinese Designer Platform is one of the most interesting, thanks to the collaboration with AD China. Ten emerging and promising young Chinese designers have been working to new projects about “New Chinese Vision”. This showcase for emerging talents is one of the most powerful tool to develop a new wave in Chinese design led by younger generations.
Design Shanghai around the city
Design Shanghai is much more than a fair. Xintiandi district, in the heart of the city, every year becomes a stage for collateral events. Xintiandi Design Festival is the perfect mix between design and urban space. This year the festival aims to create a real city of design starting from the concept of “Future City”.
Many Chinese important curators have been worked to the project, especially Song Tao, Hou Zhengguang, Du Xinyue, Hu Zeming, Tian Mengran and Deng Min. They wanted to tell the idea of the “Future” in a creative and innovative way through exhibitions, installations and immersive experiences, here some examples.
Dragon Tree is a mapping 3D projection installation which creates the image of a dragon among trees of Xintiandi. The dragon is the logo of the Festival and the most ancient Chinese symbol of power. The dragon invites people to start experiencing design in a new different way.
Mesh Installation: Public Bench is a 10 meters bench realized by Chinese artist Zhoujie Zhang. The handmade laser cut steel seems interact with people thanks to its mirrored surface.
L’Eden by Perrier-Jouët is an oasi in the heart of Shanghai which remembers us where we come from. A neon natural garden, made with a vintage taste like in the belle epoque.
The Design Archeology of a Suitcase is one of the most important initiative of the 2017 edition. The exhibition was entirely curated by the Chinese industrial designer Jamy Yang. Different kinds of luggages land on the space creating a surreal and futuristic scenario. Why? They are talking about what China needs: changes and explorations.
In collaboration with Elle Deco, MINI Living tells about having “Limited space and unlimited creativity”. The main concept of this project is reinterpreting the space and the dwelling from new generations’ point of view, introducing a new smart way of living the house.
Natural Instrument is an interactive installations realized by A&Alison about the distopian relation between men and machine. A spectral but colorful vivisection tries to answer to one of the most complex question of the near future.
Shine Shanghai is a project about objects of behavioral design, and in this case the work is about food boxes. These functional but high level objects aims to teach a new way of eating. The action of eating can become a real artistic masterpiece.
The Tea House by Biofore represents a new sustainable way of interaction between natural elements and the space. No other place is better than a traditional Tea House to explore this new way of building, putting at the center the principal element par excellence: wood.
The New Eastern Making exhibition is maybe the most important part of the festival. This show wants to talk about a new Eastern design through the work of seven iconic artists who worked to combine traditional crafts, contemporary design and innovative materials. The idea is expressing the big potential of Chinese design telling a story which starts from a deep and ancient common cultural identity.
This is the real goal of Design Shanghai. Make Chinese design valuable and original. Something with a story to tell. Something that can play an important role in global design.