World of Design

World of Design

This year’s Design Shanghai – the 11th edition of Asia’s leading design event – is dedicated to international collaboration and idea generation. It aims to show how “eastern and western philosophies can work together synergistically,” presenting everything from furniture and lighting to kitchen, bathroom, lifestyle and new material innovations by studios around the world. There’s also an in-depth talks and workshops programme, with key speakers like Thomas Heatherwick, who was responsible for the instantly-recognisable Seed Cathedral at Shanghai’s World Expo in 2010. He returned to the city in 2021 for the 1000 Trees project, and is now launching the Chinese-language edition of his book Humanise: A Maker’s Guide to Building Our World. Here’s a snapshot of what’s on at the huge international event, 19-22 June.

A sense of play runs through Design Shanghai’s four exhibitor halls. There’s high-end furniture with a twist, like the YAYA Lounge Chair from Chinese brand HC28. It brings to mind Jeff Koons’ famous “balloon” sculptures, with bulbous monochrome forms joining to make a whole. The line between art and functionality is further explored by Reflections Copenhagen, a lifestyle company based in Denmark. The Delirium Sphere, which resembles a crystal ball, is part of its Spring / Summer 2024 collection – bowls, cups, mirrors, teapots and trays designed to “hypnotize and captivate.” Here, pastel pinks and sunshine yellows are combined with delicate transparencies and refractions. Audiences will also discover the latest innovations in 3D printing; Cerawei is part of an entire hall dedicated to new materials and technologies.

There’s a big focus on traditional crafts, too. Craft+ presents innovations in Dong fabric, which has long been produced by local people from Zhaoxing Dong Village, southwest China. The waterproof cloth glistens with a metallic luster, made by a process of dip-dyeing, drying and hammering. The Dong Fabric 100 project hopes to revitalise interest in this textile technique, showing its enduring value in an age of mass machine production. Likewise, there’s a presentation about the future of casting; Rong is dedicated to breaking down traditional approaches and seeing how ancient craftsmanship can collide with today’s concerns. Moreover, Beyond Craft Japan celebrates a country with a famously distinct design heritage – showing how time-honoured methods, like origami, togei and ikebana, are applied in the 21st century.

Design Shanghai runs 19-22 June | Shanghai World Expo Exhibition & Convention Centre

Image Credits:
1. HC28
2. Villeroy and Boch
3. Reflections Copenhagen
4. Beyond Craft Japan