When a Seagull in the hand drew envy

Wang Jie
A total of 51 design products varying from daily containers to toys, vintage radios, cameras and more are on show in an exhibition at the Jing'an Library through June 25.
Wang Jie
When a Seagull in the hand drew envy

Bear Camera, toy, 1970s

A total of 51 design products varying from daily containers to toys, vintage radios, cameras and more are on show in an exhibition titled “Design in the Past Decades” at the Jing’an Library through June 25.

Most are collected by the Shanghai View Studio with the aim of preserving haipai (Shanghai-style) culture and heritage.

These objects represent the development of light industry in the 1960s-80s in Shanghai, as well as the creative and stunning packaging designs and graphics used at that time.

“These products were not only made in Shanghai, but also designed in Shanghai,” said organizer Wu Nanyao.

“At that time, Shanghai brands stood for quality and the latest fashion trends.”

Seagull cameras, which were produced from 1964, used basic, time-tested mechanical designs that required no batteries.

Its design was kept for later modes, including the Shanghai 58, undoubtedly one of the most successful cameras over the decades.

Holding a Seagull in one’s hands on the street would evoke admiration or envy from passersby.

“But it is a pity that there is not a real name behind these Shanghai designs, most are unknown,” Wu said.

“Today, all we know is that the designers in Shanghai from the 1960s to the 1980s not only needed to fulfill the demands of people’s daily lives in a planned economy, but also cater to a trend of practical and functional aesthetics.”


Date: Through June 25 (closed on Mondays), 9am-11pm, 1pm-4pm

Venue: Jing’an Library

Address: 1708 Xinzha Rd

When a Seagull in the hand drew envy

Haiou radio, vintage, 1970s

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