Beijing Design Week
Design is taking centre stage in China come September. Spanning the city, Beijing Design Week (BJDW) is expanding its reach to a new zone, Cao Chang Di (CCD-The Community), the urban village on the city’s rural margin, alter ego to the famous 798 art district. Backed by the Ministry of Culture and Education and held over their key ‘National Holiday’ when the city welcomes domestic tourists en masse, BJDW will be celebrated as a national event.
The programme is nothing if not diverse, taking place in an array of locations such as Dashilar, the ancient commercial artery of Beijing and the China Millennium Monument, and including the latest innovations in information design, geocities/smart cities. Art meets design with 798’s contribution – the 751 Water Tank, a renovated industrial water tank where D Tank (a new design fair) launches; while CCD-The Community is a research driven ‘creative incubator, rethinking synergies across art, design and technology’ that includes talks and performances. International designers will also have their moment through the festival’s Guest City programme Made in Italy, to be hosted at the 751 Water Tank.
Initiated by designer Naihan Li and curated by Beatrice Leanza, veteran residents and professionals of CCD, whose projects and collaborations have long since taken inspiration from the village as a space of convergence and flux, CCD-The Community is a much anticipated addition to BJDW, and set to raise the bar of cross disciplinary/community discourse. A curated programme drawing together Beijing’s scattered communities of academics, practitioners and industry folk to a communal platform — to consider all forms of design from built environment to product — and with nationwide media coverage, the scope and potential impact of this event, not least to raise the profile and promise of design in the country, is huge and unprecedented.
Ai Weiwei, founding father and central node of the CCD arts community (and international creatives who gather there), and architect of the village’s striking red and grey compounds, has designed the BJDW Community pavilion. This will serve as a point of gathering and reference for educational seminars, workshops and live events, and of departure, to explore the indoor/outdoor series of exhibits, installations and performances that will interlace the village and span further geographic locations in the city.
Beijing Design Week will be held from September 27 - October 6, 2012. Visit bjdw.org for more programming information soon.
Zain Masud is assistant fair director at Art Dubai. Born in Saudi Arabia to a Hijazi mother and Pakistani father she was raised in London, read Art History at SOAS, UCL and Oxford. She worked in contemporary art, in Paris before joining the fair in 2009. She is an art nomad and food sleuth.
Beatrice Leanza, a writer, curator and consultant, established The Bao with designer Naihan Li, a China-based interdisciplinary think-tank in 2005. To learn more visit thebao.com.
An architect by training Naihan Li has developed an artistic vocabulary and life style products responding to the CCD pulse and ‘shifting urban playground’ that is Beijing. For more info visit naihanli.com.