Design Shanghai returns with bigger show
The seventh edition of Design Shanghai is underway at a new venue, the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center, until Sunday.
After postponements earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s design industry event is 40 percent larger in size than the previous edition. More than 400 exhibitors from over 30 countries and regions are attending the gathering presenting their latest works to the market.
As the leading design exhibition in Asia, Design Shanghai serves as a platform for designs from various fields and regions as well as a catalyst for the growth of the regional creative community.
“Although we have experienced unprecedented circumstantial challenges and postponements, we have received support from many brands and designers both in China and abroad, which is a testament to the industry’s confidence in the Chinese market,” said Zhuo Tan, director of Design Shanghai. “This year’s show is larger than ever, and we believe it will be the most high-profile design event in China and Asia this year.”
During the four-day event, there are also design-related events, installations, talks and panel discussions across multiple creative disciplines.
A total of 78 international brands are participating for the first time, such as Tom Dixon, Visionaire and AXOR.
Among the many international exhibitors in the Contemporary Design section, Danish family-owned Fredericia presents a variety of products that embody the spirit of Nordic aesthetics; Italian brand Zanotta showcases home furniture that balances artistic elements and technology; Sun at Six, a wooden furniture brand from the United States, pays tribute to the traditional Chinese technique of mortise and tenon; Gufram from Italy, known for pushing the limits of industrial design, returns with its iconic Domestic Sculptures, such as the Bocca chair and Metacactus.
Although we have experienced unprecedented circumstantial challenges and postponements, we have received support from many brands and designers both in China and abroad, which is a testament to the industry’s confidence in the Chinese market.Zhuo Tan, director of Design Shanghai
A newcomer this year — House of Wang — brings a well-curated selection of designs from over 10 refined global design brands (including Ochre, Apparatus and Omar Khan Rugs), making their debut and jointly presenting an “infinite realm” of art and design.
House of Wang, founded by industry leaders Ruby Ren and Eric Wang, opened recently its first concept store in Beijing.
“We have a few non-negotiable criteria for the chosen design brands: originality, cultural representation, artisanal craftsmanship and material innovation,” said Ren. “Each piece of work selected by House of Wang conveys an engaging story, inspired by the culture, sensibility and character of the designers. Chinese consumers have seen enough Italian and Nordic brands and there is a gap in the market for niche, boutique home furnishing products. What we are trying to offer is the rich diversity of great designs, with individuality and unique taste, from different cultures and countries.”
Each piece on display has an intriguing story to tell but Lee Broom’s site-specific lighting installation “Kaleidoscopia” takes viewers on an enthralling journey of altered perspective. It is a representation of the one presented at London Design Week last year, inspired by Broom’s ongoing fascination with reflections, featuring six of his most iconic lighting products.
As China’s design culture has shifted toward innovation and original designs over the past years, a number of Chinese brands and designers have gained reputations abroad while a contingent of emerging designers are blazing a trail with unexpected materials and experimental models.
Chinese brands featured here include UFOU that brings its iconic adjustable desks and other functional products for home office; lighting brand LEEDARSON integrates the oriental spirit into contemporary design by showcasing some new poetic and elegant works; and Above Studio, which received the Emerging Chinese Designer award at last year’s show.
One of this year’s newly added sections — Talent — is not to be missed. Curated by Chinese designer Frank Chou, this section aims to spotlight and support young talent across various design fields.
Product designer Zhang Zhekai is one of the selected talents who is showing for the first time a collection of design objects from his company Studio KAE, founded last year with partner Karen Wang.
“The use of natural and recycled materials as well as the process of making are the key considerations for our designs. For example, we developed a method of staining porcelain with used coffee grounds to mimic the texture of marble and applied the technique to the pendant lights to create a pink marble-like effect,” he said.
Zhang said the challenge for a young designer like him is to find a stable collaborating manufacturer. “We would like to seek support and cooperation with bigger brands and manufacturers if they show interests in our design ideas,” he added.
Date: Through November 29
Admission: 150 yuan for one day
Venue: Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center
Address: 1099 Guozhan Rd, Pudong