70,000 visitors join Design Shanghai in one of the first physical design shows of the year
Set across six remarkable design sections, Design Shanghai is Asia’s largest and leading design event. Celebrating its 7th anniversary, this year Design Shanghai continues to shape and inform the global design sphere by welcoming the world’s leading industry figures and international brands for global product launches.
With record-breaking visitor numbers of almost 70,000, Chinese and international creativity were reunited at Design Shanghai, the first physical design show of the year after a period of unprecedented challenges in the global design community. Global business has shifted and in recognising the unequivocal strength of the Chinese market, International designers and brands such as Yabu Pushelberg, Flos, Ligne Roset, Laufen, Carl Hansen & Søn and HAY flocked to Design Shanghai 3-6 June to launch new products after a long absence of events elsewhere in the world.
Asia’s largest and leading international design event Design Shanghai celebrated its 8th year this June, expanding by 25% and showcasing more than 400 local and international brands from 30 countries and regions set across eight remarkable design sections. Design Shanghai demonstrated how eastern and western design philosophies can work together synergistically across the eight halls: Contemporary, Classic & Luxury, Collectibles, Kitchen & Bathroom, Workplace, New Materials & Applications, Objects & Accessories and Talents.
In partnership with Audi, Design Shanghai continues to shape and inform the global design sphere with over 1000+ first product reveals. Throughout the four-day event, a record-breaking 70,000 audience of professional visitors including designers, architects, retailers, specifiers, property developers and interior professionals were welcomed at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. The world-renowned talks programme, ‘The Kohler Exquisite x Design Shanghai Forum’ was a key highlight, this year welcoming over 150+ speakers including global thought leaders such as award-winning British architect, Thomas Heatherwick.
International brand highlights
Many of the world’s key players in design and architecture chose Design Shanghai to launch and showcase their work, with many brands using the show for their global reveal. In the Contemporary Hall, highlights included Ligne Roset, Rolf Benz, Herman Miller, Swedish family-owned USM, Italian lighting brand Flos, heritage Czech brand TON and quintessential British lighting brand, Anglepoise. Carl Hansen & Søn celebrated more than 70 years of collaboration with Hans J. Wegner through a display of five iconic Masterpieces and additional Danish brand highlights also included HAY, Verpan, YBJY and &tradition.
Many established European brands turned to Design Shanghai to present new collections to the global market. Among them, highlights included French brands Lalique and Roche Bobois; Yabu Pushelberg’s lifestyle label Departo, Spanish-based Lladró, Finnish glassware brand Iittala and lighting innovation company Philips.
“This is our 8th time exhibiting at Design Shanghai, we have grown with Design Shanghai since the very beginning. I hope the show will continue to grow, and evolve more with even more brands and exhibitors coming to this world-leading event.” – Roche Bobois
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Within the Objects & Accessories Design Hall, launches were presented by British heritage tableware designer Denby and in the Kitchens & Bathrooms section launches included Versace, Barber & Osgerby for Axor, Villeroy & Boch, ASKO and Aritco.
Design Shanghai welcomed a range of exhibitors from Europe and Asia making their Design Shanghai debut including emerging brand Starset, French design brand Maison Dada, Shanghai-based gallery Arktek World and innovative German brand Occhio. LG and BTicino both joined Design Shanghai for the first time in the New Materials & Applications Design Hall and contemporary Swiss brand Laufen made their debut in the Kitchens & Bathrooms section. Over at the Objects & Accessories Design hall, key highlights included Amsterdam-based Pip Studio, Murano glassware design brand Venini and Hungarian luxury porcelain brand Herend.
“It’s our first time exhibiting at Design Shanghai, and it is also our first time ever exhibiting in China. It’s been a pleasure to exhibit with so many cutting-edge brands. We created a French-inspired space with a selection of brand new collections. We met a lot of high-quality visitors during the show, and received numerous business opportunities.“ – Maison Dada
Continuing to set office trends and innovation, the Workplace section welcomed Humanscale and first-time exhibitors, KOKUYO and Royana. First-time exhibitor Prime Works Group also joined the show and presented a selection of leading names including Vitra, Sitland, Cassina, Sinetica, Mogg and B-Line from Italy and from Germany, Konig Neurath and Anker.
In addition to international brands, Design Shanghai continues to be a platform to highlight and celebrate increasing numbers of exceptional Chinese design brands and designers. Key exhibitors included globally recognised design studios such as Stellar Works, Boking, PUSU, 2-LA, Sun At Six, UFOU, Studio Monana and THESHAW. In the Collectible Design Hall, China’s first-ever Memphis Group exhibition space, YA SPACE featured classic works from the Memphis Group.
In the Contemporary Design Hall, Shang Xia showcased new tableware and tea sets in a curated ‘Tea Space’ in celebration of the venerable Chinese tradition. Leading China-based design brand Stellar Works revealed their latest collaboration with Sebastian Herkner and first-time exhibitor U+ showcased its Shan Qiu Zhi Ge Sofa Collection. Kun Design also presented a fresh collection of outdoor furniture, lighting and interior accessories, and Shanghai Fuli Tapestry Carpets displayed a captivating collection of luxury, contemporary carpets founded on traditional techniques.
Industrial designer and Loewe Foundation expert judge, Chen Min curated Neooold, a collection of 12 pioneering designers, craftsmen and artists pairing traditional artisanal craft techniques with contemporary design. Frank Chou, Founder of Frank Chou Design Studio returned to curate TALENTS for the second year. Featuring 14 of the best-emerging designers in China today, Design Shanghai’s TALENTS section is on a mission to nurture the country’s next generation of design talent.
On the first day of the show, Tom Dixon talked all things sustainability live from London via Hologram to TALENTS participants. Yang House presented a batch of new design pieces at the show including the new Fusheng Series and the ‘Cloud’ Sofa, Trend forecasters Yang Design also released the 7th edition of China Design Trend Report.
Alongside the main exhibition halls, visitors experienced innovative installations exploring groundbreaking ideas. The Seesaw Roundtable located in the Contemporary Design hall was a metaphor of harmony and balance. Created by Isabelle Peng Zhao, Isabelle aimed to explore the relationship between humans, objects and society through her installation. Kinney Chan’s installation identified just how cooking is all about colour and fragrance and different taste experiences as is design.
The installation Taste of Design sought to explore this phenomenon, exploring the taste of design that we have never experienced through food. Chinese architecture studio ORIA presented Touch, an installation that reflected on society’s misplaced relationship between reality and the ideal. The misplaced circular center and perspective ladder encouraged conversation about ourselves and real life.
British industrial designer Michael Young collaborated with Dezeen for the Design Shanghai Café Bar and ‘Beer Shack’, inspired by Young’s lifetime in the design industry. Young also designed a bespoke beer brand with editions inspired by music. The Café Bar was created to be a place for fun, but where you could also feel connected; the beer brand was specifically designed to connect creatives at events, trade shows and gatherings around Asia. Drinkers could scan a QR code on the beer packaging to connect with other creatives attending the event.
Design Shanghai’s lead sponsor, Audi responded to the show theme ‘regenerative design’ through a collaboration with Stella McCartney, presenting forward-looking, sustainable solutions and recycled material in the Audi e-tron GT quattro* as well as in McCartney’s innovative products.
“The theme of this year’s trade fair – Regenerative design comes to China – and the world – is an excellent fit for Audi,” explains Henrik Wenders, head of Audi Brand. “Audi is known for its outstanding design and is passionately committed to sustainability. With the Audi e-tron GT quattro* we are presenting this combination at its very best. We are delighted to be at Design Shanghai this year in cooperation with Stella McCartney, providing an insight in a walk-in installation of how both the fashion and the automotive business think and live in a sustainable way.”
Influential industry voices
Global industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators grappled with the concept of Regenerative Design at the annual Kohler Exquisite x Design Shanghai Forum. Spanning design disciplines from across the world, the world’s most influential speakers explored the cultural shift towards Regenerative Design as an urgent response to social and environmental needs. Keynote speakers included Thomas Heatherwick, Sebastian Wrong, Aldo Cibic, Neville Mars, Diego Fuertes, Richard Hutten and Michael Pawlyn.
“We were so pleased with the results of this year’s show, it’s not just about numbers, which were better than ever, it’s really about the abundant spirit and positivity that was so evident amongst our visitors and exhibitors. Design Shanghai has always been an open and diverse event, with a tremendous range of design disciplines and products on display. It’s so heartening to know that this spirit is thriving as we look forward to a bumper event in 2022, and our forthcoming events in Beijing and Shenzhen, for which I thank each and every one of our audience, partners, sponsors, exhibitors and collaborators” – Zhuo Tan, Design Shanghai Event Director.
In partnership with Audi, Design Shanghai is the first show to take place this year from the Design Shanghai portfolio, which now covers three key cultural and commercial hubs in China, followed by Design China Beijing (24-27 September) and launching for the first time this December, Design Shenzhen (9-12 December).
Interested in furniture design? Dig into the story of the iconic brand Cassina, building its collections without nails, just glue and joints.