30 September 2011
by Evonne Mackenzie
Beijing Design Week began with a quite extraordinary spectacle. The opening ceremony was a grand affair with red carpet, 3d building projection mapping, a plethora of speeches and even a unique song. Straight away it was clear that this was ambitious and there was a desire for Beijing to really establish itself as a design city.
One of the most impressive elements of the programme is the Beijing International Design Trienniale at the National Museum which features the exhibition What If…?, curated by Dunne and Raby alongside four other exhibitions. What Id…? Was clearly the most ambitious and challenging of the shows and shared with the public the direction which design can take beyond the present and can have in helping us to shape our futures.
One of the most exciting parts of the festival is in Dashilar where a day spent in the hutongs and courtyard houses reveals pop-up shops including local design store Wu Hao’s concept tea shop and design installations from Ab Rogers Design and Notch. This aim to take design into the neighbourhood, is clearly something new and adventurous in Beijing and as such the local shopkeepers and residents are curious about their new temporary neighbours and having a look around, while visitors discover a small part of the city that would otherwise have remained unknown.
Having seen the street water calligraphy on my last visit to china one of my favourite things that I’ve seen was the Water Calligraphy Device by Beijing based Nicholas Hannah. This project and the norm to leave no trace make Ben Eine’s street typography at the No. 8 Factory bring such a contrast to this corner of the city.
So far there’s been talks and events, but with even more to come, excited to see what the rest of the design week holds.