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Beijing Design Week

Highlights from the festival, including the First Beijing International Design Triennial.

Beijing Design Week


October 13th, 2011

At Beijing Design Week from 26 September to 3 October, the city was transformed into a cultural and design hub with a showcase of over 2,000 works from some 40 countries. The festival was significant both as an international event and as a platform to show the country’s burgeoning talent and creative drive.

Beijing Design Week

Liberation of Light at Dashilar.

Highlights included…

Guest City: London

The new ’guest city’ programme invited London to take up the inaugural role this year with the objective to encourage cross-cultural exchange and dialogue.

Beijing Design Week

Manuscript sculpture by British designer Paul Cocksedge.

British designers and curators such as Ab Rogers and Ghislaine Wood were there to give a series of talks; Tom Dixon brought his Flash Factory to Beijing’s Crossover Center; while Paul Cocksedge gifted the city with a massive steel sculpture engraved with Chinese and English poetry.

Beijing Design Week

Tom Dixon’s Flash Factory, where a limited number of exclusive products were made and sold on site.

Beijing Design Week

First Beijing International Design Triennial

One of the festival’s core events, the First Beijing International Design Triennial covered nearly 5,000m2 in the National Museum of China on Tiananmen Square. It involved more than 500 designers from over 40 countries, including nearly 100 creatives representing the present and future of Chinese design.

Beijing Design Week

Under the main theme “Ren: Good Design” were 5 sub-themes.

“Creative Junctions” had the largest floor area showing the collaboration between renowned designers and leading brands. Iconic pieces by Alvar Aalto, Ettore Sottsass and Tadao Ando were showcased alongside the latest works by contemporary designers such as Zaha Hadid, Patricia Urquiola and Oki Sato.

Beijing Design Week

Part of “Creative Junctions”: Z.Scape Moraine by Zaha Hadid (UK).

“Rethinking Bamboo” focussed instead on Oriental design and handcrafts made with bamboo. 

Beijing Design Week

Part of “Rethinking Bamboo”: Truss Me Bench by Sandeep Sangaru (India).

“Reason Design Emotion” emphasised the balance between reason (function and technique) and emotions (symbolic and aesthetic value).

“Good Guys” saw more than 400 pieces of contemporary works uniquely displayed on rows of dragon-like shelves made from over a 100,000 pairs of chopsticks.

“What If”, undoubtedly the most experimental of the sub-themes, explored the possibilities of applying edge-cutting hi-technology in future life, going beyond the traditional realms of design to look at such topics as transgenosis and nuclear physics.

Beijing Design Week

Part of “What If”: The Cloud Project-Nano Ice Cream Van by Zoe Papadopoulou (UK) and Cathrine Kramer (UK).


Covering the most area at Beijing Design Week, DesignHop involved more than 50 exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops — alongside more than 90 design landmarks, and dozens of talks — across China’s capital city. The programme ventured into the alleyways of Dashilar, the heart of Old Beijing, to Sanlitun, the city’s modern commercial centre, and to the industrial area of 751-D PARK, an ex-former plant with a strong post-modern vibe.

Beijing Design Week

Beijing Design Week

Industrial area, 751-D Park

Beijing Design Week

Beijing Design Week

Water Calligraphy Device by Canadian media artist Nicholas Hanna. Photos courtesy of the artist.

Top image: Silent Heroes at Dashilar alley, an exhibition that offers an intimate look into the life of actress Zhou Xun. Photo: Eric Gregory Powell.

All other photos: China Design News

Beijing Design Week

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