Design week triumphs

Source:Global Times Published: 2012-10-8 19:45:04

A visitor to Beijing Design Week views work on display. Photo: CFP
A visitor to Beijing Design Week views work on display. Photo: CFP

In addition to traditional tourist attractions like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, Beijing Design Week proved to be a hot spot that drew huge crowds during the recent National Day holiday.

"Don't add to the traffic on the highway. Stay in Beijing to see the designs," became a popular slogan among netizens. Held from September 28 through October 6, the nine-day event comprised about 200 exhibitions, forums and lectures at over 150 locations in Beijing, such as the 798 Art District, 751 D-Park, Dashilar Alley, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art and the Central Academy of Fine Arts.

On Saturday, the second Beijing Design Week successfully closed its curtains with total visitors exceeding 5 million and a transaction volume that reached 5.6 billion yuan ($890 million). On top of the numbers, organizers are encouraged by the potential impact of the event's new platform for design studios, independent designers and enterprises to engage in trade with each other and members of the public.

Mixing modernity with tradition

Throughout the event, it was clear that the organizers embraced a concept of design that combines modern, edgy art with the more old-world traditions to be found in Beijing.

In Dashilar Alley, modern artistic designs were mixed with Beijing's old hutong, traditional alley neighborhoods. Displayed amid picturesque old buildings, works from 48 domestic and foreign designers blended contemporary art with mainstays of Chinese culture. A giant light installation was made out of a collection of the city's ubiquitous ceramic jars used for Beijing "old yogurt," and a map of China was created from eggshells.

Yangmeizhu Street was filled with video and sound equipment to create a "time-travel path" showing the history and changes of Dashilar over time. The diverse designs, including a guidance system and an app for visitors to download, offered new possibilities for the preservation and development of Beijing's traditional hutong and siheyuan, courtyard houses, in the face of growing modernization of cities.

A truly international occasion

From opening day to the final evening, the event drew many big names in the design world. British interior designer Ab Rogers, famous for his reform design of the Tate Modern in London, journeyed to Beijing for the event, as did Brazilian brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, designers of the famous Favela Chair. Italian architect Ico Migliore, who won the Compasso d'Oro award for his design project "Look of the City" for the 2006 Turin Winter Games, even made a pilgrimage to see what's hot in Beijing.

On Friday, a special series of creative lectures and a 3D concert were held at 751 D-Park, drawing famous names like German designer Daniel Augusiak and American architects Ricky Hehle and Mike Tunkey. The "Pecha Kucha" model, in which each lecturer is allowed 20 PowerPoint slides and 20 seconds for each slide, was a crowd favorite.

Zeng Hui, the deputy director of the Beijing Design Week committee told Beijing Television (BTV) that the international event offered a chance for domestic designers to learn about the ideas of their international counterparts as well as an opportunity for foreign designers and organizations to get to know the Chinese market.

Art critic Fang Zhenning told The Beijing News that this year's event outshone last year's in terms of the quality of project spaces. Through the event, organizers successfully attracted figures from the international art world and drew global attention, but Fang noted that there is still a long way to go before they make the Chinese capital the frontrunner in the art world. For Beijing to compete with international art and cultural centers like London, New York and Paris, local artists need to make original creations that can lead creative trends, he said.

A platform for the future

Although the 2012 Beijing Design Week has come to an end, many experts believe that it will have a lasting effect on the design world. One key factor in the event's impact on the future of design is its trade service platform, with the slogan "Let design be the best business."

Sun Qun, another deputy director of the Beijing Design Week committee, told BTV that this year's market activity was created to help build international communication and business in the global design industry.

As many who participated in the trading platform came from abroad, the process was overseen by Beijing customs, allowing foreign brands to enjoy fast distribution channels and favorable tax policies.

Zeng also told The Beijing News that the trade platform of Beijing Design Week also provided services to authenticate and protect the copyright of designs.

"This provides a good foundation for the design marketplace," said Zeng.

Global Times

Posted in: ARTS, Diversions

blog comments powered by Disqus