September is a busy month for the world of Chinese design: with a total of four major trade fairs in rotations, the lesser known EAST Design Show might be a force to be reckoned with - thanks to Qing Studio's well-curated show, ‘Swifting’.
Never heard of EAST Design Show? EAST Design Show is the main focus of the Shanghai's edition of CIFF (China International Furniture Fair). This show was founded by ZHU Xiaojie, a renowned interior designer, and HOU Zhengguang. Its goal was to discover brands, elevate design, promote exchange, and reshape Chinese manufacturing. The name "EAST" - without stating the obvious - was actually chosen for sounding like the word “interesting” in Mandarin. It implies a show that showcases interesting eastern design.
‘Swifting’, curated by media veteran Gu Qing, definitely fit the bill. By focusing on the interconnection between objects and space, four creative groups including designers, architects and artists, have been invited to interpret their understanding of this relationship.
"You can imagine an object in a void or in a space without any objects, in a real world these situations don't exist. The interaction between them gives meaning to both", explained Gu. By featuring their recent works - of which all are debut designs in different materials, techniques and forms - each individual has been able to reflect his or her different creative background within a space.
The exhibition will also "provide an interesting viewpoint, bringing more experimental products to the market. Meanwhile helping young creatives to tackle their target customer groups, exploring the possibilities to optimise their creations."
AL desktop storage system by PHAIdesign.
Established by Francois Yang in 2010, PHAIdesign has worked across multiple design disciplines including product design, visual communication and gift design. The studio has now grown into the most professional design consultancy agency in the country, especially within the realm of redesigning the country's traditional production processes like metal etching and lacquering.
At EAST Design show, they have launched AL, a new desktop storage system made with the same aviation aluminium production as an iPhone. With its user-friendly outlook, it comes in four different heights with a wide variety of colours. It isn't hard imagining them as the crowd pleaser of this show, with Yang certainly hoping so.
"The AL desktop could be a turning point for our studio as most of our own products are gift-design oriented, but the AL collection is aiming for a more wider market. We used an aluminium extrude technique which has only been used in heavy and building industry before, and turned it into a domestic office product, " he said.
Bu pottery collection, by Yang Hangli.
Independent artist Yang Hangli graduated at the China Academy of Art in Pottery and Industrial Art. Hence, it's no surprise that she has always liked the combination of ceramic materials with other materials like glass, bamboo, lacquer, and weaving. With her new work 'Bu' (which means "fill in"), she has used 'lines' to fill in her pottery, creating a contrast of hard and soft materials.
"There are a lot of weaving techniques that can be used," she said, "We have used crochet in the early stage of development but found that only this winding technique could express the sense of order with its arrangement. They evoke the feeling of peace of mind." The hand-made quality of the pieces is time-consuming, disallowing Yang to produce them in mass. The good news is: the vase and lighting equipment will be produced in small batches in the future.
"Empty room No.C/I ~ XXVI" by LingMeng
LingMeng's "Yugoslavia Hippocampus" (L) and one of "Empty Room No. C" (R)
Ling studied computer science in university, went abroad in Australia to do a masters in digital multimedia, only realising thereafter that he was more suited for art and design. He joined WK shanghai and subsequently Fred & Farid to become the Senior Digital Art Director. Now an independent artist, he enjoys creating "meaningful and interesting " works - fitting perfectly with the EAST Design Show.
Inspired by the O'Henry novel "The Furnished Room" - which explores relationships between people and space - Ling was able to create sculptures of buildings by using very thin slabs only 0.6mm thick. The fragility of these pottery works also refers to the skeleton of a sea horse: with complex rhythms and fragile hollows, much like the rich emotions of modern society.
The Architectural Vase by Mur Mur Lab.
Mur Mur Lab was founded by three architects, Samoon, Leo, and Chen Sun in Shanghai. For them, design is a tool for urban renewal and life improvement, and creating daily surprises is their main goal. By breaking away from traditional practices, they aim to establish a new architectural language. "In 2018 we had a plan - transforming our space's design into products. We had our very first product, the Architectural Vase. We also had our writing project, the Architectural Dictionary. Both of which form the framework of Mur Mur Lab."
The Architectural Vase was debuted and used as the focal point of their design the EAST Design Show. Made with 23 pieces of acrylic plates, the vase actually looked like a miniature of their own interior creation. With its transparent and crystalised shape, it certainly looked futuristic enough to have belonged in a sci-fi movie! Although it won't be mass-produced immediately, "we will have new products soon." they said. "By designing new spaces, we will be able to translate them into new products."
For more about EAST Design Show, visit here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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