The Rise of Chinese Contemporary Design


Priscilla Lydia, Account Manager, outlines her experience at Design Shanghai

Coming to its 5th edition this year, Design Shanghai 2018 did not disappoint and continued to impress bringing together some of the world’s most established brands and upcoming designers from China and abroad.

It was interesting to see how the fair has grown to include an additional hall for exhibitors and how the number of visitors surpassed last year’s turn out at 68,000 over the four days. With the ever-evolving design culture in China, design oriented fairs such as this continue to be popular not only for designers but brands as well and will definitely not be losing its momentum anytime soon.

Contemporary Chinese design is evolving. With a more younger and educated demographic holding substantial spending power and a growing trend of spending on the Home & Living sector, China’s design industry is already moving away from a culture of copying and concentrating on introducing authentic design. We forget that in the 1960s and 70s, even countries like Japan and Korea produced copies to compete with the then emerging import brands in Asia.

This year popular design houses such as Frank Chou Design, Jiye Design and WUU to name a few were highlighted by design publication Wallpaper.com as rising influencers set to alter the design landscape. Not to mention, many import brands are now using contemporary Chinese designers in their collections. The Yanzi collection by Neri & HU for Artemide is also a good example of how contemporary Chinese design is already set to influence global trends.

Design inspires, it emotes and it disrupts. Even as import brands continue to strengthen their presence in China, it will be exciting to follow how the local design culture emerges to find a platform to engage and how that in itself will influence the future design direction.