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Design and other creative industries of China.

Chinese luxury brands, it started with a broken Durex

Chinese luxury brands, it started with a broken Durex

Last summer viral marketers at Durex posted this wonderful photoshopped image of China’s glamorous First Lady 彭丽媛 Peng Liyuan and president 习近平 Xi Jinping watching a folk dance presentation near the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Southern Mexico. It was uploaded to Durex’s official account on Weibo, Chinese biggest microblogging platform, and was almost immediately deleted by the authors themselves, in fear to get the whole account blocked by the censor. Before becoming the target of Durex viral campaign, this photo was already spreading like a wildfire through Chinese web, because it shows the first lady snapping a picture with a white iPhone 5, just months after CCTV and the People’s Daily attacked Apple for...
In defense of bad education

In defense of bad education

Creativity education in China is a controversial topic. Chinese creative education surely has its pros and cons, like anywhere in the world. A pro is the cheap cost of raw materials and relatively cheap cost of labor that allow Chinese designers and students to take risks and experiment. In Beijing, markets for DIY construction materials are everywhere in the city, and with some bargaining you can get anything you can think about for an unthinkably cheap price. A con is for sure the highly bureaucratic National Higher Education Entrance Examination, commonly known as 高考 Gaokao, the only criterion for tertiary...
Designed in China, a quick anthology

Designed in China, a quick anthology

If you ask a lot of Chinese designers why their design is Chinese, they will say they cannot articulate it. Chinese design doesn’t have a straightforward, cohesive identity yet. It’s not possible to say exactly where Chinese design is heading to, and young generations are still experimenting, leading some to think it will always be undefined. Due to the relatively cheap cost of raw materials and labor, Chinese designers can afford to take risks. As I already said, Fashion has been leading the way in establishing a Chinese design identity. Anyway, we are witnessing an organic movement within the local...
Design hot pot – Part II [alla Milanese]

Design hot pot – Part II [alla Milanese]

I am sorry for not updating the blog lately; I have been away from keyboard for two weeks. Our exhibition in Milan for the Fuorisalone 2014 has been a great success, but also a very though work. Following a trend that sees more and more asians flowing in Milan during the Design Week, for the delight of department stores managers, this year Milan saw a huge presence of Chinese visitors. However, the presence of Chinese brands in Milan Fuorisalone, not to mention the Salone itself, hasn’t been proportioned to the Chinese visitors. This was even more evident if compared to...
Design hot pot – Part I

Design hot pot – Part I

I’m not sure if in the postmodern society we live in talking about national or local identities and cultures can still mean something. Anyway, since I happen to live between Italy and China in a time when the made-in-Italy is losing its grip on global customers, while the made-in-China is quickly shifting from cheap commodities toward a diversified higher value-added production I feel there is the need to define what is the common sense of “beauty” in China and what Chinese share about aesthetics. Chinese goods already entered the houses of people in most countries, but it’s not yet clear...
Designing China

Designing China

Since last winter I’ve been working for a design exhibition called Yù – Designing China 中国设计进行时 which will be held in the cloister of Milan University “Statale” [Via Festa del Perdono 7 20122 Milano], from 7 to 13 April. I’ve been involved since the beginning, coordinating the whole project, together with the Chinese curator Yang DongJiang and the Italian organizers [and founders] of the Milan Design Week: the Italian design magazine Interni. Apart from the exhibition itself, you are all invited to attend the press conference and forum of the exhibition and the following cocktail, to talk about where is the made-in-China heading to with some of the most important...