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Design Shanghai 2018: A Preview

One of the hottest tickets on the regional design calendar, this year’s show is set to run from 14 to 17 March 2018. As the fair looms closer, we bring you a round-up of some of the events to get involved in.

Design Shanghai 2018: A Preview

Installation titled The Lake by Robam at Design Shanghai 2017's Kitchen and Bathroom Hall

Design Shanghai is five years old this year. It’s a birthday that marks the design event’s achievements in positioning itself as a regional leader, and a major player on the global design calendar. For this milestone anniversary, Design Shanghai is introducing even more new content, and creative new exhibitions and installations in and around the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, the decorative, 1950s building the fair calls home.

“A lot of the space is outside,” says Ross Urwin, Brand Ambassador for Design Shanghai, and Co-Founder and Director of creative agency Infrastructure (alongside Darrel Best). “They’ve got gardens, they’ve got this huge very decorative pond, courtyards and everything. We’re basically covering the entire space with a gigantic marquee. It’s going to be a challenge, but we want to do it. We’re trying to make as much use of the outside space as possible. We’ve actually given some brands some of the gardens to do things with.”

The Shanghai Exhibition Centre will be home to the five halls in which brands will showcase their wares. This is where you can find the Contemporary Design hall, a platform for leading and emerging global brands such as Italian newbie Qeeboo by Stefano Giovannoni, Fermob and Kelly Hoppen, alongside Chinese brands such as Domus Tiandi, ZaoZuo (which is directed by Luca Nichetto) and other regional brands.


Design Shanghai 2017

“One of our points of difference is that we have 30 to 40 countries on show. It’s now about 50 percent Chinese brands and 50% international,” says Urwin.

“We also have art, we have collectibles,” says Urwin. Some 30 galleries will have a presence at the fair, demonstrating the crossover between art and design – something that will be front and centre in the Collectible Design hall, where limited-edition pieces will be on show.

Other halls include the Workplace Design and Kitchen & Bathroom Design halls, where the latest innovations will be on display. Also in the workplace arena, naked Hub and ONO Design will collaborate on an installation that looks at workspace design. Other installations to look out for include YANG DESIGN’s China Design Trends.

In addition, “We have some of the best seminar content. We’ve got a great lineup. Darrel and I are getting more and more innovative with the programme,” says Urwin, and indeed, this seems to be a big selling point for both visitors – the talks are always jam-packed – and for participants.


Installation titled The Lake by Robam at Design Shanghai 2017’s Kitchen and Bathroom Hall


You can expect to hear from the likes of Naoto Fukasawa, Simon Rawlings, Creative Director at David Collins Studio, Elaine Ng of The Fabrik Lab, Vince Lim and Elaine Lu of Lim + Lu, Humberto Campana, Waa Architects… to name just a few of those speaking at the Design Forum. “To me, that’s one of the most exciting parts of the programme. If I could, I’d sit in on all the talks,” says Urwin.

It’s worth exploring beyond Shanghai Exhibition Centre, too; there will be plenty going on around the city. Particularly in Xintiandi, where interactive installations, created by Chinese and international designers, will consider the theme The New Social Era on Boundary.

There is clearly plenty going on at Design Shanghai this year, and Urwin is adamant that the fair will present products and brands in new and creative ways: “We try to shake it up a bit each year.”

A Media 10 event, Design Shanghai will run from 14 to 17 March 2018 at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. 

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