Festival of art, design and sustainability guaranteed to tie you in knots
If the 2017 Asia Design Management (ADM) Forum & Art Design Media Festival doesn’t have you tied in knots it will send you around the twist.
The first object that hits you when approaching the entrance to the building is an 8-meter-high twisted sprawling tube. The artwork entitled “Knot” is just one of many fascinating exhibits on show at the festival in central Hangzhou, which opened on November 2. It was made by French artist and architect Cyril Lancelin and is a bespoke installation for the 2017 Art & Design Media Festival.
Lancelin’s construction is a 3D structure modeled on the trefoil knot. It is like a labyrinth with passages leading to multiple exits. The massive volume enables visitors to bend down, step over inside it while viewing it from the outside from different angles. The pink color of the piece also sets it apart as it contrasts with the factory’s coarse industrial interiors.
“I always do things that people can walk around,” said Lancelin. “It’s not just the art itself, it is also about people who are looking at it.”
The festival, which ends on November 12, has attracted over 300 exhibitors this year from sectors of gardening, sports, gourmet, art, crafts and design.
Mr Moustache, an online fresh-cut flower service provider, revamped its exhibition area into a real-life garden. A gigantic dog sculpture standing at the fringe of garden is a bit of an eye-catcher. The 6-meter-high “dog” is furnished with hundreds of purple, white and green color forget-me-nots and French hydrangea.
The company was established in 2014 as an e-commerce flower supplier and customers can subscribe to a monthly or yearly service online that delivers flowers home with a discount price every week.
This is the third consecutive year Mr Moustache has attended the festival. In the first year, they came simply to sell flowers; last year, their concept of a “secret garden” inundated social media. This year, only one type of product is on sale -- a potted mini rose sold at a price of 19 yuan (US$2.86).
“I think we have grown together with ADM as our business expands from online to offline,” said Cui Wei, the e-commerce head of Mr Moustache. “It’s more important for us to sell our brand than any products.”
Cui also believes that the festival targets the same group of people as their brand, those who “want to improve the quality of their lives,” that are more fun-oriented and bored with traditions. In other words, companies like this are pursuing people who participate in China’s consumption upgrade.
The data from National Bureau of Statistics shows that China’s consumption accounted for 64.6 percentage of the GDP last year, while the service sector contributed 51.6 percent, up from 50.2 percent in 2015. The elevation has created new demand for the well-off middle class.
Another exhibitor Natural Campus focuses on the needs of modern families to get in touch with the nature. The project acts like a sishu (an old-style Chinese private school), which starts with teaching children how to identify various plants and collect seeds in nature.
They also encourage parents to spend time with their child in gardening and other outdoor explorations. The company used to own a 2-hectare piece of land in Liangzhu, an isolated residence area in suburban Hangzhou, which was planted with vegetables, flowers and medicinal herbs.
“Even if they failed to produce any fruits. It is a good experience,” said Zhang Xinyu, founder of Natural Campus.
At the festival, they brought with them air dried flowers and fruits, and small bottles of seeds. They also sold pear syrups that were produced out of their not-so-successful cultivations.
Zhang admitted their main target consumers were the middle class.
“It is not that lower-income families cannot afford to grow things in their homes, but probably their way of life does not let them care about things like this,” said Zhang.
World-renowned retail brands such as Ikea also joined the festival for the first time this year. They introduced a concept of “design your sustainable life” to visitors and customers.
All items in the 300-square-meter exhibition area are energy savers or have been sustainably produced: LED lights that can save 85 percent of energy compared to incandescent light bulbs; faucets that can save 30 percent of water; chairs made from mixed wood and recycled plastic, etc.
Louise Ling, local marketing manager at Ikea Hangzhou store, told Shanghai Daily that Ikea offers 400 products globally that enables customers to live more sustainably.
“Chinese customers are more interested in energy savers,” said Ling.
Ling also revealed a sealable food bag that was made from sugarcane-extracted bioplastics. It is Ikea’s first bioplastic product released globally.
“People asked me why big companies like Ikea took part this year, but I think they should come, to check on the latest trends on marketing and design, which might be their future,” said Bao Yiming, curator of the ADM Forum & Festival this year.
The ADM Forum & Festival was initiated in 2013 and has since become a grand occasion for chic young people in town. This year the event have been extended from five days to 11 days, accommodating 27 forums with more than 130 entrepreneurs, designers and marketing specialists worldwide.
The venue of the festival is at the former Hangzhou Boiler Works factory, which was built in 1950s and has been reserved as a part of the city’s historical industrial remains.
Date: Through November 12
Admission for festival only: 108 yuan (workdays), 128 yuan (weekends)
Address: 245 Dongxin Rd