When talking about design, people may come up with images from household items we use everyday to giant buildings standing as landmarks in the city. Yes, design is everywhere in our life. Modern designers are like magicians who are making our life full of surprises and ideas. With the rapid development of economy and advances of technology, modern society is seeing more and more great designs. Beijing, one of the oldest cities in the world, has already seen more and more modern constructions rising up in recent years from the Bird Nest and Water Cube constructed for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to the new China Central Television Headquarters which has attracted attention as much as controversy.
Next week the 2011 Beijing Design Week & the First Beijing International Design Triennial is going to open. With Chinese design rising as a new power on the world?s stage, more international attention has been focused on the capital of China. Set against a backdrop of a rapidly growing modern city, the event is going to be a global summit on design with top designers from all over the world. The activities during the event will cover the whole landscape of Beijing including cultural hotspots both new and old. Artists from different backgrounds will bring their designs which can be applied in various aspects of life, while audience can have a taste of different modern styles in the ancient city of Beijing.
Turning ?back to history
As one of the earliest civilizations in the world, China inevitably has a history of design that dates back early. Early design has had a close relationship with the country?s agriculture, handicrafts and industry, which was mostly for an empirical end. The design industry, as it still does today, has much to do with culture, society and economy, which has been a reflection of the trajectory of the Chinese society.
The earliest designs in Chinese society in primitive times were stoneware, pottery, textiles, etc.China has thus developed superb technique in making such items. Certain craftsmanship is still much hailed today. The designs from this period, as well as a long time following this, were for practical household usage. It was not until the later prosperous dynasties that design went beyond practical tools and started to boom. These included sophisticated patterns on clothes and exquisite ceramics.
Today, as globalization goes further, international ideas have permeated Chinese design while it inherits cultural traditions. With economy increasing and society advancing, design as an industry is rapidly gaining a stronger influence in modern China. China?s design industry is developing rapidly and covers a wide range of aspects and the country is seeing a lot of talented designers.
Chinese faces in an international event
For the country?s first international-level design event,China has invited an international team made up of top curators and designers from across the world to come to Beijing. The Beijing Design Week has not only invited the chairmen of renowned design weeks/festivals including London, Milan, Berlin, Helsinki and Seoul, but also established a counseling panel mixed with international faces. As for the first Beijing International Design Triennial, there will be a collaboration of Chinese and foreign curators for each of the five sub-exhibitions.Zhang Yonghe (???)
Among all the international figures on the counseling panel, architect Zhang Yonghe (???) is one of the three Chinese consultants. Zhang Yonghe (???), who has participated in the design for the famous Commune by the Great Wall, is the principle architect of Atelier Feichang Jianzhu. He has participated in many international exhibitions of art and architecture, including five times in the Venice Biennale since 2000.
He is also the winner of several international architecture awards. With his contribution, Zhang received the ?Culture China?Figures in a Decade? award in June 2011. The award, which was initiated by Dongfang Daily (????), was aimed at honoring leading figures from different fields of contemporary Chinese culture including music, art, literature, movie, news, architecture etc. Zhang said receiving the award, ?Because architecture has more or less something to do with culture and life itself is about culture, so they are not unrelated.?
Zhang is also nominated for the Design Education Award.Ou Ning (??)
Nominated for the Design Promotion Award, Ou Ning (??) is a publisher and a graphic designer, whose exhibitions have hit worldwide galleries. He has a wide influence both inside and outside China. He has established Chutzpah (???in Chinese), a new literary magazine?in 2011 and proposed the ?Bishan Community Project? (???????) specifically designed for rural area. He was also the curator of the first 2011 Chengdu Biennial. He has significant contribution in expanding the scope of design in a traditional sense and promoting application and development in several new areas.
Ou?s works has been exhibited in different places in the world and his projects have attracted an international attention. One of his famous projects is the Da Zha Lan Project (?????).This project is about researching and filming the area of Da Zha Lan (???), which is a slum inBeijing. The Da Zha Lan Project is an extension of San Yuan Li (the village-in-city inGuangzhou), a project that was featured in the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. Together with an upcoming project about Caoyang Xincun in Putuo District in Shanghai (a workers? community in Shanghai, 2006), it will make up a series of research and creative practice concerning urbanization and impoverished communities in cities in China. The project has been to various exhibitions across the world and caught much attention.
Ou loves writing as well, whose blog has been chosen by danwei.org as the most popular Chinese blog on art design and urban study for three years in a row. He has been to various seminars and lectures around the world. He established the independent music group Xin Qun Zhong (new people) and the independent movie group Yuan Ying Hui (fate movie society).
The Beijing Design Week
The First Beijing International Design Triennial (BIDT) is an important part of the design event. The general theme of the first BIDT is Ren: Good Design (???????). ?Ren? is one of the most important concepts in Chinese tradition which could also perfectly convey the spirit of ?Good Design?. The exhibition will focus on living-friendly designs in life. A wide range of categories will be covered including product design, industrial design, dyeing clothes design, graphic design, interior and architectural design and traditional crafts such as ceramics, glass, bamboo furniture, etc.
During the Week, there will be a series of exhibitions, seminars and projects happening all around Beijing. They will cover 90 places on the map of Beijing including creative parks, exhibition venues, department stores, communities, parks, etc. The Design Week happens to?coincide?with this year?s Chinese National Holiday. It is a great opportunity for local residents and travelers to get to know design more closely. With London being this year?s Guest City of Honor, there will be a series of activities under the theme of?London?Beijing Design Express? in areas such as?China Millennium Monument, Da Shilan, 751 Design Park, etc.
There will also be ?competition among outstanding designs, individuals and organization during the Week. The award is set up to select designs, individuals and organizations who have contributed to the social, cultural, industrial development and urban construction of the capital. It will come in four categories: the Design Beijing Award, the Design Education Award, the Design Communication Award and the Design Promotion Award.