Hong Kong design correspondent Ben McCarthy gives us his impressions of this year’s 100% Design Shanghai.
November 15th, 2010
I seem to forget that every design week revolves around a trade show. The Milan Fair Ground is a detail amongst a slew of events, 100% Design London is just one draw card in an exhausting week. But 100% Design Shanghai is certainly a trade show.
Essentially, these design fairs are where industry meets market. And 100% Design Shanghai certainly delivers that, albeit in a less glamorous fashion than its international franchises.
But the productive energy surrounding the week is, to quote creative director Michael Young’s opening speech “comparable to Tokyo or London ten or fifteen years ago” and the optimistic energy that surrounds it is equitable.
This was not like the Tokyo, or London events, it’s not to say it’s worse or better, but the transcendence of a manufacturing industry into a ‘design’ industry was more apparent, and at a glance, could possibly even be misinterpreted as vulnerability.
But as manufacturers realise the value design can add to their business model they invest more resource into design, and local ‘design’ awareness grows. This has happened already in Europe, but is evolving in Shanghai.
There were a few new products launched, from small brands, and large ones. Rado watches had a large presence, sponsoring Designed In China: The Rado Young Design Prize for Chinese design talent.
Dupunt Corian unveiled their illustrious showroom, designed by Michael Young, including his concept motorbike, Motolima at the 100% design location.
The Japanese, Italian, and Czech Pavilions presented considered, coherent work from their countries. New brand Praxis was also among my favourite new items, presenting their first collection designed by Alexis Georgacopoulos.
100% Design Shanghai was an enjoyable albeit undernourished show; a newly self-aware design market in a rapidly growing economy.
100% Design Shanghai
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