Beijing Design Week
2013.09.26 Thu - 2013.10.03 Thu
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Beijing: Design Capital? A Preview of Beijing Design Week 2013

A year after Beijing gained the status of a “design capital” from UNESCO, the third official edition of Beijing Design week (BJDW) will open on 26th September. Since the departure of Aric Chen for M+ in Hong Kong, BJDW this year’s BJDW is being organized by Beatrice Leanza. The Italian curator and writer has been based in Beijing since 2002; until 2005, Leanza was managing director and curator at Ai Weiwei’s China Art Archives and Warehouse (CAAW), before founding BAO Atelier — a creative studio and research practice — in 2006.

Smart City 2013, Beijing Design Week main exhibition

Having last year curated “CCD — The Community” in the Caochangdi art district, as Creative Director Leanza aims to push BJDW as a process and an incubator, rather than a sporadic annual event. Speaking earlier this year to the Design China blog, she envisions the event in terms of a “return to human scale” — as an assertive, local and forward-looking force that will promote solutions aside from the usual rhetoric of rapid production and consumption in China. Indeed, she sees BJDW as less about the “Design Week,” than the city itself, its needs and ambitions. This year’s introductory material is peppered perhaps more than last with attendant jargon, with slogans like “smart capital” and “design city;” at its core, however, remains the goal of replacing “Made in China” with “Designed in China” — and, one might add, “for” China as a place where creative and functional ideas for contemporary life are extremely pertinent.

751 D-Park



BJDW 2013 will again revolve around a series of projects and exhibitions in specific locations around the city — though those visiting them shouldn’t ignore the places where design work can be found any day, aside from the Design Week. The main sites are 751/D-Park (in 798 art district), Caochangdi village, Dashilar Hutong and the China Millennium Monument, where the yearly BJDW exhibition and award will continue its focus on Beijing as a contemporary city, and aim to reward its best local talents. The annual “Design Hop” also highlights different spots to visit. The 2013 “Guest City” — design culture and related names from which will infuse various exhibitions — is Amsterdam.

Giannantonio Bongiorno, Momo Andrea Destro, Eugenia Murialdo,”Anti Tectonics”,A curated event about innovation for design and industry
Giannantonio Bongiorno, Momo Andrea Destro, Eugenia Murialdo,《超构造》,正在组织中的关于工业和设计创新的活动

Part of the 751 display this year will be “Anti Tectonics” — an Italian project on new approaches to design and urbanism inspired by today’s rapid social change. A related forum will also happen in collaboration with the research and development office Hybrid Space Lab, from Berlin. Those interested in Ma Qingyun will also find drawings and drafts spanning 24 years of the Chinese architect’s career displayed inside the old train in D-Park.

Katrin Reinfurt, MPMP (Magnitosphere Prospecting and Monitoring Program), “Instant Heaven”

Studio Henny van Nistelrooy in collaboration with ACF and C-Space,”YiFu” Series
Studio Henny van Nistelrooy in collaboration with ACF and C-Space,《衣服》系列

Matt Hope, “People’s power station”
Matt Hope, 人民发电站

In Caochangdi, prominent contemporary artist Liu Wei is designing the main pavilion. In this area, look out for the Design Laboratory, which will include work from clothing designer Katrin Reinfurt (MPMP label), Naihan Li, Dutch product designer Henny van Nistelrooy and arch-experimenter Matt Hope, who has made an air-filtering bicycle (and, incidentally, thinks people will look back on Caochangdi in 20 years as somewhere where “things happened”).

Matali Crasset,” MODUL’HUTONG”
Matali Crasset, 《模板胡同》

Zhang Ke, “MicroHutong”
张轲, 《微胡》

Matali Crasset, 《胡同无限》-改造大栅栏茶儿胡同

Studio Archea,” Interactive Wal”l
意大利阿克雅建筑师事务所 ,《 胡同互动墙》

Downtown Dashilar Hutong is a 600-year old area which, rather than being bulldozed, is the focus of an on-going revitalization initiative by the authorities with Beijing-based company Approach Architecture (launching this year as the Dashilar Pilot scheme). Design studios installed there long-term will, as usual, feature their work as part of BJDW — for example Jellymon-Spoonful of Sugar. Names that will pop up here this year include new Beijing-based German furniture design company LEIN EINS and the versatile Matali Crasset, who professes not to care about products, and summarizes her work as “scenarios for living.”

The Fabrick Lab, Elaine Ng Yan Ling, “Climatology: Celebrating Nature’s Survival Tactics”

The Fabrick Lab, Elaine Ng Yan Ling, “Climatology: Celebrating Nature’s Survival Tactics”

On the Design Hop, one might look out for Meta Hutong and Wu Hao, which stock different labels including Finnish clothing designers Laitinen (and whose beautiful Qing Dynasty hutong is apparently soon to be reclaimed by the authorities — go while you can). MoMA cinema, inside the memorable Linked Hybrid complex by Steven Holl architects, is worth seeing in itself, and will be exhibiting designs by Masayuki Kurokawa. Beijing Capital Museum will focus on fashion, with a preview of the retrospective of Amsterdam-based designer Marcel Wanders (to be shown at Stedelijk Museum next year), and a look at fashion students at Beijing’s Central Academy of Fine Art. Today Art Museum will extend this with a broader look at contemporary fashion design in China. In Sanlitun, the 5th floor of Nali Patio will play host to 14 Chinese and foreign designers.

Thus does BJDW 2013 aim to oil the wheels of design here this month. Hopefully this, and each subsequent edition, will help instill — not just inspire — awareness and productive competition in this milieu. It’s a space we continue to watch.

For more on the events and venues at BJDW 2013, please check out this link BJDW 2013.