China Design Centre held an unprecedented Shanghai event to announce its official launch in China. The event took place at Langham Hotel Terrace in Shanghai Xintiandi on 18th July, co-hosted with University College London’s Bartlett School of Architecture and supported by VIP speakers.
- Professor WU Zhijiang, Vice Chancellor of Tongji University, Chief Planner of the Shanghai Expo 2010
- Professor Bob Sheil, Director of the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
- Mr William Vanbergen, Head of BE Education
- Ms XIA Hua, CEO of Taiji Zen – charity supported by actor Jet Li and Ma Yun
- Mr QU Jack, Founder CEO CDC London and co-founder Mr XING Ziyan, MD CDC Beijing
This event included the recap of CDC’s opening exhibition – ‘From Made in China to Designed in China’ in London, and the ‘UK Chinese Student Design Show 2014′ (14.07—30.08). CDC also took this opportunity to express the deepest appreciation to all institutions, designers and artists, friends and colleagues who supported the establishment and operation of the centre in the past months. The event attracted more than 400 guests from across the design and built environment industry.
The Founder and Chief Executive of CDC London, Mr QU Zheng (Jack) addressed the crowd with a brief welcome speech, highlighting the visions of CDC London in promoting original and contemporary Chinese Design to the world stage; bridging the exchanges and collaborations between UK and China in the field of architecture, design and culture; then further exploring how to assist ‘Designed in China’ to be more widely accepted in the West rather than ‘Made in China’.
The Vice-Chancellor of Tongji University, Professor WU Zhiqiang congratulated the establishment and growth of CDC London, and expressed his high expectation of CDC to become a key force in promoting the new Design generation from China to the world. Prof WU said:” when I come to such an event abroad, the guests would predominantly be from my age group with some grey hair, but today I’ve witnessed lots of black hair and youth figures; that just shows great enthusiasm in the fields of architecture and design from our new generation; the future and new forces of the creative industry is in China, and the CDC undoubtedly provides a perfect platform in London for them to showcase their talents on a world stage.”
Professor Bob Sheil firstly thanked CDC for organizing such a big event in Shanghai together with The Bartlett School of Architecture UCL, and expressed great optimism for future communications between UK and China in the design and creative industry. “Today I have just met the first Chinese student who studied at the Bartlett 17 years ago under Peter Cook.” He added:” More and more Chinese student now choose to come to the UK and the Bartlett to study, the current student exhibition at CDC London also presented works from our students, therefore I think CDC will become increasingly important for the design professionals and students between UK and China, UCL and the Bartlett would like to have long term collaborations with the CDC and help new design talents to grow and exchange ideas between the two countries.” Professor Bob Sheil also briefly introduced the Fabraicate Conference held in Zurich, Switzerland this year, and hopes the triennial conference can be held in Shanghai in 2017.
The Founder and Managing Director of BE Education, William Vanbergen took the stage in an ebullient fashion, he said:” we’ve all seen the changes of China in recent years, the centre of the world is moving towards here. The Germans may have known to be the provider of their manufacturing techniques and experiences to China, but the UK are more equipped to help China in education and the creative industry. CDC London now acts as a fantastic bridge in those areas. I’m glad to see many Chinese students go to the UK to study, and then come back as the ‘ambassadors’. The two founders of CDC, Jack who studied at Newcastle and Ziyan who graduated from Cambridge are two classic examples among them. I hope British education would help China to produce more design talents, ‘From Made in China to Designed in China’ is probably the best way to raise China’s soft power on the world stage, let’s hold the glass to congratulate CDC and build the Chinese Dream together! Come on China!”
Thereafter, Co-founder of CDC and Managing Director CDC Beijing, Mr XING Ziyan carried on to introduced the recap of past exhibitions and events in London on the projector screens, the art and design works located around the venue, and the plans of CDC for coming months. “People always ask me and Jack why we want to establish CDC in London, I think it’s the drive to promote and showcase original Chinese designs, and build its reputation and brands, this is a dream from my college days.” Ziyan added:” The talented designers from China may now be realized gradually, but the Chinese design brands are in desperate needs of better presentation and promotion, therefore turn the concept of ‘Made in China’ into ‘Designed in China’. When I see so many Western luxury and designer brands and products are introduced into the Chinese Markets, I feel it’s the time to travel the other direction, and promote the design merits from the China to the West. It will be a challenging process, the same as designing.” Also, “to grow Chinese designs more sustainably, we need to continuously develop new generations of design talents, and that’s why we organized the UK Chinese Student Design Show, and invited Prof WU Zhiqiang from Tongji University, Prof Bob Sheil from UCL and Mr William Vanbergen from BE to this event. We’d like to forge long term relationships with these educational institutions in helping to raise our next generations of designers.”
Ziyan then informed the crowd that CDC are currently planning a contemporary Chinese furniture design exhibition in the autumn to be in tune with the London Design Festival, followed by Jingdezhen porcelain design exhibition and China’s New Town Development exhibition. The New life of Intangible Heritage Culture in modern contexts exhibition will form the theme of the 2015 London China Design Festival during the Chinese New Year period. It will present the impacts and wisdom evolved from the manufacturing and design process, and China’s social, economic and cultural developments. CDC aims to promote and brand the Chinese folk arts and crafts design and skills, making them to be better appreciated by the general public and the commercial market. This is the very areas that China could learn immensely from the UK experience and expertise.
As the applause is fading away, soft music, dreamy mist and light/shadow effects attracted people’s attention at the event to three large white screens aside of the central stage. The mysterious performance from Taiji Zen begins.
As one of the collaborators of CDC, the CEO of Taiji Zen, Ms XIA Hua warmly introduced the concepts and contemporary Chinese lifestyle Taiji Zen believes, and why Jet Li and Jack Ma founded it with the mission of spreading “Health and Happiness for All” through a balance of physical wellness and mental fitness – the Taiji Zen lifestyle. Rooted in the traditional wisdom, Taiji Zen seeks to inspire and enable a modern, balanced lifestyle through a suite of uniquely designed training programs and products.
“Taiji Zen is not merely a sport; it is the harmonious attitude in lifestyle” spoke Ms XIA Hua, “I hope to work with CDC London closely and bring Taiji Zen spirit to the UK, then we must invite Mr Jet LI, who missed this event, to London and share the joy with us in translating the ancient wisdom in a creative and contemporary language.” The performance pushed the event to its climax: “everything has two sides – yin and yang, which form part of an all-encompassing whole. Fast and slow, hard and soft, dark and light, motion and stillness…all must exist in balance.” When the performers stepped out of the white screens like butterfly emerged in its full splendor, loud and lasting ovation drew the formal part of the event to an end.
The party lasted until after 10pm, more than 400 guests enjoyed the occasion and exchanged ideas in their interested area, which greatly exceeded our expectation. They are from practicing architects, designers to acedemic professors, and design institutions, commercial organizations, the UK shanghai consulate, and developers from the greater Shanghai area.
Special thanks to Mr. Hui WANG, Executive Art Director from Inlink China, who made huge effort to direct Taiji Zen performance.
Specials thanks to generous support from sponsors, who have made this event possible.
Sheshan 59 Wine Cellar
Inlink China Public Culture & Arts Strategy Institution