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Experts share insights on design in urban system

Writer: Cao Zhen  |  Editor: Lin Lin  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2020-08-17

Experts from China, Britain, the Netherlands and Turkey agreed at the Design Forum of 2020 Shenzhen Design Week that design events in their countries have shifted from showcasing new products to focusing on bigger issues like urban development, education and crisis.

As part of the opening events for the 2020 Shenzhen Design Week, the forum held online Saturday focused on how design activates urban development and how it brings opportunities to the city with a future-oriented approach.

Dr. Han Wangxi, deputy director and secretary general of Shenzhen Association for International Cultural Exchanges and director of Shenzhen Innovation and Creative Design Development Office, first introduced that the features of Shenzhen design are a close integration with industry, a high degree of autonomy, a highly engaged public and benefits from the government’s favorable policies. He then talked about Shenzhen Design Week’s achievements in the past four years, especially its bottom-up feature with strong culture of education.

Han Wangxi. Photo from sz.people.cn

“I agree with Dr. Han that Shenzhen Design Week not just focuses on design products but is supporting entire urban system,” said Ole Bouman, founding director of Design Society in Shekou. “At this year’s design week, the Netherlands will collaborate with the Shenzhen Municipal Water Affairs Bureau to address water challenges and management issues. This event shows how design is positioned in city life,” Bouman added.

As the pandemic has accentuated the urgency of major social challenges, design events in Britain and the Netherlands will tackle these problems.

John Sorrell, co-founder and president of London Design Biennale and co-founder and chairman of London Design Festival, introduced London Design Biennale 2021’s “Design in an Age of Crisis” open call for radical design thinking about the world in the pandemic. He said the biennale will seek to harness the creativity that comes from crisis which includes health care, climate change and social and economic inequalities.

Jorn Konijn, head of program of the Dutch Design Week, said the theme for the Dutch Design Week in October will be “The New Intimacy.” “The search for new forms of intimacy, a new balance and a challenge that requires knowledge, imaginative power and inventiveness from designers has commenced,” he said.

Deniz Ova, director of Istanbul Design Biennial at Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, and Marisa Yiu, co-founder and executive director of the Design Trust, also shared their visions on the topic.

Saturday’s forum is one of the five talks of the Design Forum of 2020 Shenzhen Design Week held from Aug. 1. Taking “Values of Design” as its theme, the whole event is joined by 28 leading figures from the global design scene and aims to explore the impact and potentiality of design toward our society, urban development, culture, technology and manufacture. On Aug. 22 and 29, the final two talks, “Seeking the Invisible” and “The Observer of Commodity Chain,” will be held on the Bilibili app.