loading video...

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'

The inaugural edition of Design Shenzhen ran from 27 February and 2 March, 2023, having happily hosted 40,000 visitors and over 250 brands in China’s first city of design. Here Architonic share a few of the highlights of the event…

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'
Design Shenzhen reflects the city’s transformation from a manufacturing powerhouse to one of china’s most cosmopolitan creative centers

 

 

Shenzhen is emblematic of China’s rise as one of the world’s most dynamic economies. It began as a market town of 300,000 on the Pearl River Delta bordering Asia’s financial hub of Hong Kong, before growing into a manufacturing boomtown when it became a special economic zone in 1980. More recently it has become known as a global megacity and tech powerhouse, drawing in large amounts of foreign and domestic investment, and spawning innovative companies out of its wholesale electronics markets.

 

The city’s latest reinvention as a center for the creative industries has been ongoing for some time. Shenzhen joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network in 2008 as China’s first ‘City of Design’ and since then, various initiatives such as Shenzhen Fashion Week and Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture and a Victoria & Albert Museum outpost in Shekou have become drivers of design and creative industries in the region.

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'
the audience was able to visit a broad array of displays and exhibitions from local chinese designers as well as international brands such as Ligne Roset, pictured above

 

 

Putting a spotlight on China’s first city of design

 

In 2023, the first edition of Design Shenzhen opened its doors between 27 February and 2 March. Welcoming over 40,000 visitors over four days, the exhibition showcased over 250 homegrown and international brands, such as Ligne Roset, Occhio, Roche Bobois and Caesarstone. But the focus wasn’t just on showcasing interior design solutions. According to the Event Director Raymond Wang, the aim was to put a spotlight on China’s first city of design by ‘bringing together industry pioneers in the fields of design, culture and creativity together and showcasing the vitality of design within the city.’

 

Some of the show’s highlights focused on the need for designers to more closely integrate sustainability and human experience. Audi, the show’s exclusive headline partner, showcased a more human-centric approach to electric and sustainable vehicles in an immersive installation featuring its new RS e-tron GP Model, and Sony Design’s Nature Resonance contained a display of Sony’s work with environmentally conscious materials and a display encouraging visitors to experience the products in person.

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'

design-shenzhen-designboom-fullsize-02
the show’s exclusive headline partner Audi presented its new RS e-tron GP Model, while Sony Design’s Nature resonance showcase celebrated natural materials

 

 

Specially curated exhibitions

 

Sony Design’s exhibit was part of the exhibition’s ‘Features’ section, which included specially curated displays, which also included Neooold, conceived by Min Chen, focusing on the intersecting tea cultures of China and the UK; and Good Design Select, in which industrial designer Xiaoxi Shi teamed up with G-Mark Japan Good Design Award to showcase award-winning designs for everyday objects.

 

‘I am so glad that Design Shenzhen brought us together again. It reaffirmed that exhibitions are indispensable, especially this face-to-face communication and offline experience. It is very crucial for us to have an offline space to know each other’

 

In addition, a program of talks, the Shenzhen Design Forum, brought together Chinese and international designers, architects and thought leaders including Carlo Ratti, Snøhetta‘s Shenzhen Studio director Cheng Gong, and Aedas Director Fiona Chen, to discuss a wide range of topics, from architecture, interior design and product design to wellbeing and sustainability.

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'
Design Shenzhen’s accompanying program featured the Design Forum, a series of debates and talks, while the Materials Lab also allowed visitors to get up close and personal with products and materials

 

 

Celebrating sustainable projects

 

Design Shenzhen also dedicated space to pressing issues in China, including rural depopulation, launching a Rural Futures Award together with APT (Architecture Practice Talks), a community of young architects. Dedicated to celebrating sustainable projects in rural China, the awards brought much-needed discussion on the sustainable regeneration of Chiina’s countryside. ‘I was really moved by the nine contestants’ presentations at the Rural Futures Award Ceremony. What we need now is a group of idealistic, enthusiastic, and practical people to go into the countryside and reactivate those empty houses,’ said Xinyu Chen, co-founder of APT, and Founding Partner of DEDANG DESIGN.

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design' inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'

design-shenzhen-designboom-fullsize-04
following the pandemic, events like Design Shenzhen ‘are indispensable, especially this face-to-face communication and offline experience’ according to designer Frank Chou

 

 

Above all, the exhibition has been a welcome platform for designers, architects and manufacturers to reconnect after the pandemic – and its success means the next event is already being planned. As Beijing-born designer and founder of the eponymous furniture brand Frank Chou – who exhibited at the show and spoke at two of the panels at Shenzhen Design Forum – said: ‘I am so glad that Design Shenzhen brought us together again. It reaffirmed that exhibitions are indispensable, especially this face-to-face communication and offline experience. It is very crucial for us to have an offline space to know each other.’

inaugural design shenzhen spotlights 'china's first city of design'
more than 40,000 people visited the event this year, confirming the city’s growing importance on the worldwide design scene

 

 

The next edition of Design Shenzhen will take place between 14–17 March, 2024, while its sister and umbrella show Design Shanghai will be back for its tenth-anniversary edition between 8–11 June, 2023.

 

Download the Design Shenzhen Media Pack.

 

Contact the organizers about exhibiting at Design Shenzhen.

 

Guest feature by Peter Smisek / Architonic

KEEP UP WITH OUR DAILY AND WEEKLY NEWSLETTERS
suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

Aedas (41)

caesarstone (14)

carlo ratti (72)

exhibition design (584)

g-mark japan GOOD DESIGN award (60)

ligne roset (24)

snohetta (180)

PRODUCT LIBRARY

a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

X
5