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2016.12.15 Thu, by
Design Society and the V&A announce opening plans for October 2017 in Shekou

[Press Release]

14 December 2016 – Design Society, a new cultural hub featuring a new V&A Gallery will open to the public in Shekou, Shenzhen, in October 2017. This collaboration is the first of its kind between a UK museum and a Chinese partner.

Design Society’s upcoming launch is the result of an important pioneering international partnership between leading state-owned company China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world’s leading museum of art and design based in South Kensington, London. Located in the Sea World Culture and Arts Center in Shekou, Shenzhen,Design Society is an open and collaborative platform that will connect China to the world, and empower the inter-connectivity between design and society, design and everyday life, and design and industry.

As one of the founding partners of Design Society Foundation, the V&A has led the development and design of a dedicated V&A Gallery devoted to 20th and 21st century international design, and has provided professional advice and training to help CMSK to establish and develop a world class design institution. Two major V&A touring exhibitions will also come to Design Society in 2018and 2019.

Ole Bouman, Director of Design Society, said “Shenzhen has been widely recognized as a hotbed of Chinese creativity. In the last 36years it has allowed countless newcomers to apply their ingenuity to build a future; to literally design their life. By way of our pioneering collaboration with the V&A, this culture of aspiration now meets the richness of international design heritage and the curatorial intelligence of its current leadership. The forthcoming opening of Design Society in October 2017 will mean a fantastic showcase of the power of design today.”

Tim Reeve, Acting Director of the V&A, said: “For the V&A, this important international initiative represents a new way of engaging more deeply with China at a pivotal moment in its design history. It’s a pioneering collaboration that will come to life when both Design Society and our new, dedicated V&A Gallery opens in October 2017”.

Design Society will offer an innovative and inclusive cultural platform that will show ground-breaking designs from the past, present and future, and will expand into other creative disciplines. It will encourage dialogue and collaboration to reveal how design can be a catalyst for social change. At opening it will have several major exhibition spaces, including a main hall dedicated to exploring the future of digital design, an area critical to China’s shift from a manufacturing centre to an innovation hub; and a new V&A Gallery that will illustrate the scope and diversity of modern and contemporary design around the world and its impact on our lives. The highly diverse selection of objects in the V&A gallery will be drawn from the V&A’s major collections including fashion, photography, furniture, product and graphic design, theatre and performance. Alongside the exhibition program, a 330-seat theatre will host concerts, performance and screening projects. In the retail areas there will be space to showcase the best in cutting-edge contemporary design for the urban lifestyle. There will be other stunning public areas such as a roof garden and a multipurpose hall with a sea-view.


About Design Society
Design Society offers an innovative and inclusive cultural platform, comprising Design Society Foundation, of which the V&A is a founding partner, and a commercial arm to ensure a sustainable operating model. Founded by China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK), it adheres to the pioneering spirit of Shekou and Shenzhen in creating a unique cultural experience.

Design Society is located in Sea World Culture and Arts Center, within Sea World’s coastal city complex in Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, near Nu Wa Coastal Park. The center has a footprint of 26,000 square meters with 71,000 square meters of floor space. It will feature four floors above the ground and two floors underground with spaces for galleries, a theatre, a multi-purpose hall, restaurants and cafes, and retail. Renowned architectural studio Maki and Associates, led by Fumihiko Maki, has designed the building, its first in China. Maki’s design features three cantilevered volumes atop a deconstructed plinth, opening up horizons to the mountain, the sea and the city, where interconnected space enable cultural conversation and dialogue.

About the V&A
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 5,000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.

The V&A holds one of the most important and comprehensive collections of Chinese art and design dating from 3,000 BC to the present and continues to collect actively, with a focus on contemporary Chinese work. The Museum has staged hugely successful exhibitions at numerous venues in China including the Palace Museum, the National Museum of China, the Chinese Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), the Shanghai Museum, the Capital Museum, the Hong Kong Heritage Museum and the Liaoning Provincial Museum in Shenyang.

The V&A has also played an important role in bringing an understanding of Chinese culture to Europe through exhibitions such as Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings (2013), which was the first comprehensive presentation of the topic in Europe since the 1930s and included some of China’s national treasures. In 2008 the V&A held China Design Now, a survey show of design and architecture being created in contemporary China, and in 2005 the first major display in the UK of contemporary Chinese photography and film in the exhibition Between Past and Future.