Design Shanghai reveals programme highlights

Ahead of its sixth edition in March, Design Shanghai has revealed highlights from its four-day programme, with details of its exhibitors, installations and conferences. Over fifty Chinese designers and brands will present their latest work at Design Shanghai 2019, showcasing the latest in furniture, lighting, accessories and new material innovations. Alongside a number of well-known established brands including 8 Hour, Banlan, Black Drama, EndlessForm, Grado, HC28, Lost & Found and Urbancraft a contingent of emerging designers are blazing a trail with experimental designs and unexpected materials including Buzao, Defront, Kun Design, ShengYin & KaiYi, Sozen, WUU and ziinlife. New brand Ginkgold, founded by Wang Chun Lei, will also debut at the show with the Ginkgo Leaf Chair. Designed to be light and elegant, the Ginkgo Lead Chair has been inspired by falling leaves and designed using a single piece of carbon-fibre weighing just three kilograms.

Design Shanghai will also welcome a number of new international brands including &tradition, Ton and Brokis. Across five design halls, these international brands will present the best in furniture, lighting, bathroom and kitchen design, decorative accessories and surfaces, with renowned brands like Swarovski, Knoll, Caesarstone, Roche Bobois and Stellar Works launching new designs as well as a second stand of Jens Risom reissues including the Risom C140 Chair.

New to the agenda, the New Materials and Applications Hall will give exhibitors an opportunity to showcase the latest advancements in materials and surfaces. International and local Chinese brands will show their latest collections and innovations as well as joining a series of talks and hosted workshops presented by Shanghai-based Neuni. Other brand highlights include Lewu Design, who have developed a foam-like material that can be applied to existing furniture to give it a new lease on life, and Bentu Design, who are highlighting the amount of waste produced by the ceramics industry by repurposing it into furniture products.

This year’s Design Shanghai Forum will explore the relationship between craft and technology under the notion: ‘the true value of craft in a technology-driven world, the true impact of that technology on societies both eastern and western, and the true picture – as far as we can see it – of the future that these concepts are shaping’. Curated by programme director Aidan Walker, the Forum welcomes a number of standout international and Chinese speakers including founding member of the Memphis movement Aldo Cibic; Spanish designer Jaime Hayon; Italian designer Paola Navone; and Konstatin Grcic, who joins the Assembly programme and Chinese designer Zhang Zhoujie.

Elsewhere, the work of some China’s most promising young designers will be presented including Buzao; a collective of young designers who will present two new series of coloured glass and stainless steel pieces, Ginkgo, Sozen, Defront, Urbancraft, and Ziinlife. AD China will also present the AD Emerging designers Award for the sixth year at the fair. The winning studio will be awarded on the opening day of the show joining a respected group of past winners including; Furong Chen Founder of WUU, Sheng Yin of Benwu Studio, and  Qingtong Qian, Founder of Minimaist. This year’s emerging designers finalists are Above Studio, Chen Shangyi, Dejawu Studio, Foam Studio, Hi Thanks Bye, Hoii Design, Huang Jing, Mutopia, Re:Studio and The Shaw Studio.

Further highlights include 15 large-scale works – including a capsule that has been inspired by the first moon landing, Apollo by Timothy Oulton Studio – which will be installed across Design Shanghai as part of this year’s Features programme. Experimental Shanghai based designer Zhang Zhoujie returns to the show with his Manifesto Cabinet, an interactive digital installation that reflects the feelings of its audience, while Zaha Hadid will present Skyrunner, a collaboration with Royal Thai and Kohler that will feature the RE/Form Rug collection. The installation is inspired by themes that feature prominently in Zaha Hadid’s work: pixelated landscapes, striated lines, ribbon-like projections and organic cellular shapes, the RE/Form collection captures Hadid’s signature use of interweaving, layering and play with light and shadow.

Other installations within the features programme include Botanical Botanic – a collaboration with Cole & Sons showcasing the brand’s newest collection of the same name and exploring the range’s botanical inspiration; and Cube, a large-scale work that symbolises the elaborate manufacturing process of Jan Kath carpets made artfully through thousands of intricate and repetitive knots. In an ongoing initiative to bring design to all spaces in the show, Design Shanghai is also collaborating with acclaimed lighting design house Serip to present Forest of Light. Exploring manifestations of nature in Serip’s artfully crafted light pieces, and their interaction with natural elements from Vertical Green, the resulting installation allows visitors a peaceful and inspiring journey through the ‘Forest of Light’.

Design Shanghai has also partnered with a number of brands to present the latest trend research across the five design halls at this year’s show. From sustainability to future crafts, the 2019 show will highlight the newest innovations and design styles across a series of co-hosted talks and workshops with Yang Design, New Materials brand Neuni and WGSN.

Finally, the Xintiandi Design Festival returns to Design Shanghai for the fourth year in 2019. A satellite to the main fair, the festival provides a public platform for promoting Chinese design. Each year, Design Shanghai invites 20 local designers and architects to showcase their installations in a two-week long design festival.  Curated by Hou Zhengguang, Sun Xinxi, Du Xinyue and Chen Minjuan, this year’s festival is entitled ‘Back to the Social Origin-Acquainted, Encountered’ and explores the relationship between socialising, design and technology. A new initiative of ‘Design Talks and Sharing’ programme will provide a more interactive communication between designers.