During the fist edition of Beijing Design Week, alongside the Chinese, English and Italian, it was the Netherlands which was profiling itself in the form of the Dutch Design Generator.
Located in the design districts named 751, the Netherlands was represented in the form of the Dutch Design Generator, an initiative by the DutchDFA, Premsela - the Netherlands Institute for Design and Fashion, and Brainport Einhoven.
Set over four floors and featuring two exhibitions (Connecting Concepts and Liberation of Light), an extensive lecture programme on various topics, a book lounge and presentation of NEXT - a cross-cultural student project - the Generator is attracting a lot of attention from an international design crowd.
The basement houses traveling exhibition Liberation of Light, devised by Yksi and supported by Brainport Eindhoven, where the future technology of LEDs and OLEDs is shown to its full potential. Leonne Cuppen of Yksi explains: "LEDs are set to have a great impact on our lives, not only as the traditional lamp bulb as we know it is starting to vanish, but because of their technical possibilities. We can now manipulate light and make it part of art, part of our interior, but also see it as a sense of well-being. And it's exactly that turning point which is on show in this exhibition."
Upstairs another exhibition aims to lure those interested in Dutch design inside: Connecting Concepts. Curated by Ed van Hinte and Tim Vermeulen of Premsela, the exhibition has already been on show in the Indian cities of Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Bangalore and now will travel through China together with it's latest additions. Exhibiting the Dutchness of Dutch design, Connecting Concepts aims to show the processes that lie behind an actual product or service. "It's a little strange to see the show in this new space," says Ed van Hinte. "But with new additions such as Taobao poetry, the outcome of the Bangalore cycling workshop and new project Plant Paradise by PlantLab I'm certainly happy with it."
The Dutch Design Generator forms a perfect location for a series of site-specific light installations and who better to ask than students from the TU Eindhoven and Tsinghua University. Given two weeks and the task of creating a socially-relevant piece together, the students needed to work hard on the collaboration.
"We have such different cultures and ways of working," says Summer Zhong of Tsinghua University. "I noticed that Dutch students work with prototypes, whereas Chinese students focus more on on the thought process of a project. I learned to practice, practice, practice, and I think the Dutch students learned to talk more."
Tiananmen square, away from the design district forms the setting for another presentation of Dutch design, this time in the form of the extensive design exhibition divided into five themes at Beijing's National Museum - The Beijing International Design Triennal. The likes of Formafantasma, Maarten Baas and Marcel Wanders find themselves amongst hundreds of Chinese and international designers.
With a number of Dutch creatives (such as fashion designer Daryl van Wouw and interactive installation designer Daan Roosegaarde) already pursuing the benefits of a Sino-Dutch collaboration, Beijing Design Week certainly seems promising for many.
Last image: Core 77
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