This week's Design Shanghai trade fair showcases emerging Chinese talent alongside international brands
BY SOPHIE DAVIES
For such a huge economic powerhouse, it's surprising that China has been relatively low-key when it comes to design talent. Design Shanghai 2017 aims to change all that, showcasing established and emerging Chinese designers alongside major global brands and galleries. Asia's largest annual design fair kicks off this week from 8 to 11 March at Shanghai Exhibition Centre, drawing queues of excited design hunters.
More than 300 exhibitors are on show across five halls, exploring how western and eastern design philosophies can work in synergy: Contemporary; Classic and Luxury; Collectibles; Kitchen & Bathroom; and Workplace. Prestigious international brands, such as Europe's Minotti, Roche Bobois, Hay, Magis and Moroso, are here, sharing their latest launches and keen to penetrate the lucrative Chinese market.
TOP: 'Milà' plastic chair by Jaime Hayón for Italian brand Magis, one of the A-List European brands on show at Design Shanghai's Contemporary hall. We love the Sino red!
ABOVE: Chinese Contemporary designs include Fnji's handmade wooden furniture; Frank Chou Design Studio's 'Suit' lounge chair and stool; and Haostyle's Ming-inspired 'The Dragon Chair' by Wen Hao
Perhaps more intriguing for overseas visitors are the less well known Chinese names in the frame, making up an increasing proportion of the fair. Local stands in the Contemporary hall include Beijing's Frank Chou Design Studio, showing clean-lined, graphic seating, Fnji Furniture's simple handmade wooden works, EY-Products alluring accessories, Suyab Design's nature-inspired modern wood pieces, ALiTLE's sleek chairs, Haostyle's Sino-luxe collection, 8hourdesign's eye-catching side tables and Yuso's playful seating.
ABOVE: Mumoon's 'Glob' pendant lamps by Phillip Ding and X+Q Art's sculpture 'The Grandmaster' by Qu Guangci are also on show in the Contemporary hall
For evocative lighting, check out Mumoon's covetable modern collection and Xin Yaoyao's paper pendant lights. You'll find witty Sino-motif objects at X+Q Art.
Look out for special installations, such as the new China Design Trends Gallery, in which local consultants Yang Design will forecast four future design trends (strategy director Xiaojing Huang will also release a trend report). Re-Design Shanghai is a collaboration between design mag IDEAT and architect Shuhei Oyama to create a futuristic vision of Shanghai's cityscape, fusing traditional and modern elements. The IDEAT Future Award, focussed on influential designs, will also be announced on 8 March. Plug & Hug's interactive globe lights glow brighter the more they're hugged.
Don't miss the debut Emerging Chinese Designer Platform, curated with interiors magazine AD China, which will feature 10 up-and-coming design talents inspired by the theme 'New China Vision'. Expect undulating furniture by Qiaolin Gong and Weijia Wang, industrial-chic chairs and tables by Wenqiang Li, beautiful bronze works by Daishi Luo, minimal blue pots by Qingtong Qian, and sculptural accessories by Xiang Chen and Weijie Huang.
More than 30 speakers will be at the fair's core Forum, including international design talents Benjamin Hubert, Paul Cocksedge, Peter Ting, Bethan Laura Wood and Karim Rashid. Regional names to note include Hong Kong's André Fu and Jesse McLin and Julie Proglin of ceramics duo Latitude 22N. The theme is 'global design, global craft, global manufacturing'.
ABOVE: Highlights from DS in the City's Design Shanghai @ Xintiandi off-site zone include installations 'Dragon Tree' by Media 10; 'Biofore Tea House' by UPM; 'Mesh' public bench by Zhoujie Zhang; 'Moon Birdy' outdoor lights by Pascal Bosetti; 'Malleus Time-Out' prints by Arnd; and exhibition 'New Eastern Making'
Extending its tentacles across town, Design Shanghai in the City includes interesting off-site activities. The main event is Design Shanghai @ Xintiandi (6-19 March), examining the city of the future, with 18 interactive spaces and installations by local and international designers and artists. Highlights include Media 10's 3D projection-mapped 'Dragon Tree' and recycling/deconstruction group exhibition 'New Eastern Making'. You can catch a design tour (daily 1pm-9pm, 8-11 March) taking in Shanghai's best design showrooms, galleries and architecture, between the fairground and Xintiandi zone. Stops include global stores House of Tai Ping, Roca, Leicht, Hay, Minotti and Senab, as well as Nordic-influenced Chinese decor from W+S. Fashion and art have already captured China's imagination, now it's design's turn to shine...
Design Shanghai 2017 is at Shanghai Exhibition Centre, No. 1000 Yan'an Mid Road, Jing'an, from 8 to 11 March 2017. Open Wednesday 10am-9pm, Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm (last entry one hour before closing time). Tickets are RMB 175 in advance or RMB 270 on the door, including optional showguide (RMB 50)