During its inaugural edition in 2011, Beijing Design Week introduced Dutch design to China. An entire building in the cultural area 751 D-Park played host to exhibitions, lectures, a Pecha Kucha evening and much more in the way of Dutch design, courtesy of Dutch DFA and Premsela among others.
This year, the Netherlands will be back in full force with designers such as Dirk van der Kooij, Lex Pott and fashion designer Anne de Grijff traveling to China’s largest city for Beijing Design Week 2012. Looking towards BJDW – taking place from 28 September to 6 October – Design.nl speaks Lex Pott to find out about his preconceptions, hopes and expectations of the trip.
Product designer Lex Pott’s studio is situated in a large warehouse (together with some fifty other creative companies) in the North of Amsterdam. His artisanal studio – which he shares with David Derksen – is just about big enough for his steadily growing company.
Together with Premsela (the Netherlands Institute for design and fashion) Pott will be touring through China, visiting Shenzen and then moving on to Beijing for BJDW. But what are his expectations of this trip to China and how does it differ from our Dutch design industry?
“China is often referred to as the factory of the world, whereas the Netherlands still has a rather elitist production industry. They do everything in large scale but here we focus on craft. China is more of a production country while the Dutch would rather shy mass production.”
“In the Netherlands we no longer have an actual need for design, we designers make things because we like to. You can see that shift happening now in China. I hope to start new collaborations in China, apply my work techniques to the materials I find.”
Pott works with natural materials. In his work he zooms in on their characteristics and creates new, exciting forms without actually manipulating these raw materials. We asked him what he hopes to find in China.
“China is the land of raw materials. I would love to take these materials and apply my vision to them. I think China could profit from a new vision, looking at the tension between nature and culture for instance. The country has an unbelievably old and rich culture but it seems to get lost in mass production. It’s time to rediscover ancient artisanal techniques.”
“The Dutch are really good at local and small-scale production;,it allows them to work in an innovative and inspiring way. Producers and designers are good at working together and I think it’s something we should export to China. Get companies to work on a smaller scale for instance.”
In Shenzen, Premsela will be presenting the exhibition Basic Instincts featuring an array of work by Dutch designers. On 2 October Lex Pott and fashion designer Anne de Grijf will then speak about Basic Instincts and their work at BJDW.
“The exhibitions features work well known to us but I find it interesting to talk about why these products look the way they do. The exhibition brings together many different disciplines which is very interesting.”
“Organizations such as Dutch DFA and Premsela can really offer designers a platform for development, introducing them to each other and to each other’s products and work methods. The unknown is very interesting to me and it’s time to start thinking on a global scale. Global-local is a term we will be seeing a lot more of in the future.”
For more information about this cultural exchange between China and the Netherlands visit the websites of Premsela of Dutch DFA.
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