International expo in Wuxi scales up with domestic design
Published: Sep 10, 2023 09:50 PM
Photo: Courtesy of China International Design Expo

Photo: Courtesy of China International Design Expo

One of the most comprehensive design expos in China has now re-imagined itself with China's award-winning patented technologies and small but vibrant traditional-inspired gadgets in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province.

More than 500 designers from over 300 companies and design studios are participating in the 18th China International Design Expo, with over 300 experts and scholars gathering together for seminars and workshops.

After a gap year in 2022 due to the pandemic, the three-day event, running from Saturday to Money and taking up 18,000 square meters inside the Wuxi Taihu International Expo Center, has been scaled up in terms of size compared to the last session in 2021.

Jointly held with China's National Intellectual Property Administration, this expo also serves as an opportunity to look at the state of patent protection in China in terms of industrial design after the country joined theHague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs in May 2022.

In Jiangsu alone, the province has registered a total of 1.246 million design patents, introduced Xu Ying, vice governor of Jiangsu, noting that this design expo is not only an internationally influential event in the design industry, but also a comprehensive intellectual property exhibition. 

"This is an opportunity to build an industrial science and technology innovation center with global influence and an important industrial science and technology innovation highland," Xu said.

The design show takes place with award-winning gadgets brought by the Red Dot Design Museum Xiamen, a design landmark among the world's three Red Dot Design Museums, to pillar Chinese designs such as the country's high-speed trains and deep-sea manned submersible Fendouzhe, or Striver.

At the exhibition area for China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation (CRRC), the country's largest rolling stock manufacturer by production volume, five eye-catching models are displayed inside the exhibition booth.

Among the five is a model of a Fuxing EMU (Electric Multiple Unit), the dynamic appearance of which reveals a particular design concept: prosperity brought by the Chinese dragon and phoenix.

The Fuxing EMU won the 23rd China Patent Award as it is the world's first intelligent and autonomous high-speed train with a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour. The train was developed by CRRC, which owns the independent intellectual property rights.

"The red and yellow stripes on the train are totem elements of the dragon and phoenix in traditional Chinese culture. The theme of prosperity brought by the dragon and the phoenix is also an expression of the good wishes for national prosperity and people's happiness," an exhibition staffer noted. 

Over the previous 17 sessions, a total of more than 10,000 companies and over 1 million people have participated in the expo.

The year 2023's show not only includes the latest designs from industry leaders, but also displays chic products inspired by traditional Chinese elements.

In the section for Creative Wuxi, a line had formed in front of a small café booth.

The cafe, providing visitors a space to rest their feet, is a chic branch run by the creative department of a local intangible cultural heritage clay figure brand. 

A cultural and creative department dedicated to Huishan clay figures, an ancient handicraft dating back some 400 years, was set up several years ago in the hope of building up the tradition's reputation with interesting products for younger customers.

"We have 10 cafes across Wuxi, and one of them offers products especially for the hearing-impaired as part of our social responsibility," vice general manager of the Huishan clay figurine company associated with the department told the Global Times.

Next to the exhibition area are some exquisitely designed tents decorated with the Chinese zodiac.

A total of 34 designers from various regions across China provided their ideas on how to depict the zodiacs in a modern way.

Located next to Taihu Lake, the third largest freshwater lake in China, Wuxi is known for its humanistic and artistic beauty varying from exquisite paintings and purple clay ceramics to exquisite Wuxi gardens and clay figurines, which show the creativity and life pursuit of local residents. 

The 17th design expo adopted the  "green, low-carbon, healthy and safe" concepts as more than 90 percent of the construction materials for the expo were recycled and reused.