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  Chinese Way>Life
Building up Chinese Design


The "Surface'D Chinese Design Exhibition" was officially launched for the first time at Tent London, a popular London Design Festival (LDF) event from September 20 to 23.

With their interest piqued by the emergence of the service design sector in China, Tent London worked with Chinese Vision Surface, a magazine under Art and Design Press, to put original Chinese designs and manufacturing under the spotlight.

"We invited Chinese designers to attend the LDF to compete on the same stage with world-class designers. We hope this platform can encourage more cultural exchanges between China and the West," said Qian Zhu, president of Art and Design Press. Moreover, "it is a good opportunity to bring works by Chinese avant-garde designers to the international market," Qian added.

The four-day event saw the participation of 240 organizations from 26 countries at stands as well over 900 international media agencies. Tent London welcomed more than 20,000 visitors to experience the vigor and vitality of modern design.

Original Chinese styles

Seven outstanding Chinese designs were displayed at the China Design Pavilion at the marquee event. Representative works by well-known designers, such as Yang Mingjie, Jiang Li, Xiao Tianyu, Zhang Xiaochuan, Sun Yun, as well as from brands like PinWu and Design MVW, were shipped to London.

Votini Crissley, who works for a design magazine in London, told the Global Times that she found "the Valentine's chairs" most impressive.

The Valentine's chairs were designed by Sun Yun, copartner and design supervisor of Hangzhou Interior Architecture Design.

According to Sun Yun, his inspiration came from a Western-style chair found in the Shanghai Antique Market. The chair is both sleek and strong.

The design takes a mellow shape and combines it with the warm texture of the wood. The two chairs stand apart with an intimate distance between them. They look normal but the seating style is quite different.

The person sitting in one of the chairs can rest their leg on the other person's leg. This method is mostly aimed at couples sharing a moment of intimacy. As such, the Valentine's chairs, despite being plain, have a magic power. They seek to make lovers reconcile with each other and strangers smile at one another, according to their design.

"It's lovely for couples and friends. I like the concept, the wood, and the design. It's my favorite," Crissley said.

"The Bamboo paper chair is fascinating," Chris Wally, a student majoring in product design at Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, told the Global Times.

He was amazed by the material of the bamboo paper chair made by PinWu, a design company from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province.

Bamboo paper pulp, made from moso bamboo, makes up the chair's raw material. In Yuhang, a southern region in Zhejiang, some villages retain their traditional paper-making process. Villagers have been using two-year-old tender moso bamboo to make paper for painting and calligraphy for millennia. Through a long process, bamboo is then turned into paper pulp.

"At first sight, I thought it was made of some complicated material. I didn't realize that bamboo was actually very strong," said Wally, adding that it is incredible to use a material that has such structure and integrity with no additional adhesive.

Other highlights include 180 degree rotatable 2-in-1 sunglasses, a barrel-shaped chair, a series of coffee tables in brilliant polished stainless steel and solid wood, a "breed and grow" chair, and a "Harmony sofa."

Winner of the iF product design award 2011 and the Good design award 2010, the sunglasses designed by Yang Mingjie, are a revolution as they function as two pairs, efficiently reducing waste in production and consumption. The reflective brown lenses provide clear eyesight for car driving, and the silver lenses are used for outdoor activities. And the 180-degree rotatable frame design makes it easy to flip between them.

The barrel-shaped chair is designed to hark back to a past way of life, reminding people to treat nature carefully without asking for too much. The series of coffee tables and the "breed and grow" chair are both "an ode to nature," while the "Harmony sofa" combines Western and Eastern styles of seating.

Architecture design exchange

The "Surface'D Chinese Design Exhibition" was one of two major activities themed around "Chinese Design in London" during the London Design Week and London Fashion Week.

The other one was the "Work and Its Social Class Forum" co-organized by the British Council and the Art and Design Press. Part of the London International Architecture and Design Showcase, the forum focused on the reality and development of Chinese architecture and showcased remarkable achievements made by the Chinese architectural community.

In the process of urbanization, the imperative topic for the modern Chinese architecture and design community has been how to maintain traditional architectural features while navigating economic transition and modernization in China.

Ma Xiaowei, founder of MA Studio Architecture & Art, and Li Hu, founder of OPEN Architecture, manager of Beijing Architecture Centre&Studio-X of Columbia University, and other famous designers shared their views with their counterparts in UK.

The architects shared insights on architecture philosophy, attitude, methodology as well as the future of the profession.

This is the very first concrete step in building the roadmap for closer exchanges between Chinese architects and their British counterparts as well as a wider international community.

Source: Global Times