johnson banks: what design can do banners
johnson banks: what design can do banners johnson banks: what design can do banners
sep 24, 2011

johnson banks: what design can do banners

what design can do is a series of six large-scale posters specially commissioned for beijing design week 2011 from the UK design consultancy johnson banks.  the posters celebrate the power of design through chinese and british collaborative practice, pioneered in the school of design, kingston university london.

— following text from johnson banks

sited within the industrial context of 751 d-park, the posters are positioned on six dramatic high towers, each up to 20 metres in height. formerly the power generator for the original 1950s industrial complex, 751 is now the designated design zone situated next to the world famous 798 art district.   to respond to this unique site johnson banks developed six design posters with the london-based animation studio realise.  realise used state-of-the-art 3d rendering techniques to produce striking black and white images that resonate with the imposing industrial structures that surround power square, the name for 751 d-park’s central outdoor space.     in this iconic setting the posters’ visual impact emphasise to the visitor not only the relevance of design but also the importance of shared ways of working together.  a series of slogans headlining international design ideas and theories were developed by the UK and chinese project teams, designed to echo the passion for sloganeering which has formed a distinctive role in chinese culture and society. these headlines include new from old, shared design history, collaborative practice and the continuing impact of the power of making. two final themes focus on design process and the next generation – key elements of what we hope will be a shared design future.   the posters were created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the ma curating contemporary design course at kingston university in partnership with the design museum london.  since 2001 the course has specialized in developing partnership projects between uk and chinese curators, museums and universities.  in 2009 it developed dream lab, a competition offered to 20 leading chinese universities and the following year presented a curating project with students at china academy of art in the UK pavilion at the 2010 shanghai expo.   each year the course offers a scholarship to an emerging chinese curator, the current scholar is the designer and curator danful yang, pearl lam gallery and for 2011-12, zhang chi, a graduate of beijing’s central academy of fine arts (cafa).  

what design can do was curated by professor catherine mcdermott kingston university and tingting xu,

a beijing curator and graduate of ma curating contemporary design kingston university in partnership

with the design museum, london.

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