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Print Edition> Lifestyle
UPDATED: October 10, 2011 NO. 41 OCTOBER 13, 2011
Design Makes a Splash
The capital city hosts new blueprints for modern living

SPLENDID OPENING: The 2011 Beijing Design Week kicks off at the China Millennium Monument on September 26 (BAI SHI)

What does the word "design" conjure up for you? Luxury clothing, awesome graphics, or fancy furniture? Beijingers can find their own answers at the 2011 Beijing Design Week and the First Beijing International Design Triennial from September 26 to October 3.

Beijing has succeeded in establishing itself as a global center of modern art and architecture. Now the city wants to make its presence felt in the world of design. The eight-day event involving participants from over 30 countries was the largest design-focused event ever held in the Chinese capital. More than 2,000 pieces showcasing cutting edge design, 130 projects and 100 design landmarks were made accessible to the public.

The Beijing Design event, however, covered more than simply exhibiting world-class design ideas.

While focusing on dialogue between Chinese and Western designers on the role of creative design in people's daily life, the event also "aims to shift international attention from 'Made in China' to 'Designed in China,' and demonstrates Beijing's already strong connection with design," said its creative director Aric Chen.

The 2011 Beijing Design Week was launched as China's premier annual design event, and Beijing will engage a world leading creative city as a guest city each year. London was invited as the event's first this year.

A feast of design

British designer Paul Cocksedge unveiled a major installation at the China Millennium Monument, Manuscript on 30 sheets of red rolled steel, which highlights the exchange between Beijing and London.

Shaped like a huge Chinese scroll, 20 meters long by 6.7 meters high, the sculpture serves as an example of Western understanding of Chinese culture.

The sheets, which can be wandered through both day and night, celebrate the Chinese invention of paper, the very basis of global literature and communication, said Cocksedge.

The sculpture, in shapes of flying pages inscribed with Chinese and English poems, symbolizes the exchange of words, poetry and knowledge between the East and West, while attesting to man's advanced engineering technologies and design capabilities, he said.

In addition to the guest city, the Beijing design week is co-presented by one of China's leading design institutes. This year Tsinghua University promoted the First Beijing International Design Triennial.

The triennial, which was launched at the recently reopened National Museum of China on September 28, will run through October 17. It is providing an opportunity for designers from China and the world to showcase their works. Many of the participants have previously exhibited design at the world's five major design events in London, Milan, Berlin, Helsinki and Seoul.

The exhibition's main theme is based on applying the Chinese tradition of "ren"—the notion of caring for others, to modern design.

Participating designers have organized their work along five separate sub-themes identified by the event's curators. The craft and skill of these leading designers is embedded in their masterpieces which take the form of real objects, sketches, videos, models, and devices. Contemporary reflections on new technologies are communicated through experimental designs and proposals.

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