Here's a cool event kicking off this weekend, just a quick gaotie ride away, of potential interest to you urban planners, product designers, architects, Italian academics, mid-level municipal government functionaries, food artists, people who drink champagne at parties attended by the aforementioned: Tianjin International Design Week 2015.
What is it? Now in its second edition, Tianjin Design Week is a six-day conference aiming to connect Chinese and international design professionals through a series of large-scale exhibitions, discussions, and education programs.
The theme of TDW 2015 — cooked up by Japanese architect and product designer Masayuki Kurokawa — is Memory and Dream: "fundamental design dichotomies such as 'Tradition and Modernity', 'Nature and Human Presence', 'Preservation and Development' which play a central role in contemporary China and beyond.... past collective MEMORY and future DREAM for sustainable cities in China and beyond." Chinese designer Song Tao, Italian designer Paolo Colantuoni, and TDW director Li Yunfei round out the globally-minded organizing committee.
Tianjin Design Week enjoys strong local support: the official organizer is listed as the Tianjin Municipal Government, with a laundry list of Party co-organizers including Tianjin's Propaganda Department, Commission of Commerce, Science & Technology Commission, Urban Planning Bureau, et al. Keeping in mind Xi Jinping's Jing-Jin-Ji long game, Tianjin Design Week seems like a heavily subsidized, coordinated, and — bottom line — earnest effort to bring new design and urbanization solutions to the economic region. To that end, TDW has invited a handful of international patrons and collaborators — mostly Italian, including Cultural Italian Institute Beijing and Federico II Universiti of Naples, among others — to lend a foreign perspective.
Where? The main exhibit of Tianjin Design Week will be installed in Beining Park [天津市河北区中山 北路门 1 号(南门)], a century-old park located to the east of the Tianjin Railway Station. The 8,000-square-meter space includes a library, a theater, a pool, and other facilities, which have been refurbished by TDW's core team of of Italian architects.
When? The opening ceremony of Tianjin Design Week 2015 will be held on the afternoon of Friday, May 22, at Beining Park's main square. Its exhibitions and events will subsequently take place from May 22-26.
Exhibits & Events The core of TDW's programming is a diverse spread of exhibits, with an overarching and rather vague emphasis on "the role of design in daily life." As previously mentioned, there is a major Italian presence at this thing: the majority of the exhibits have been assembled by Italian curators and/or feature the work Italian artists and designers, including a solo show for multiple Golden Compass winner and "child prodigy" Matteo Ragni.
In addition to the exhibits, the Italian Trade Association and the Chamber of Architects of Rome are putting together a two-day architecture and design conference connecting Chinese and Italian architects, which will run in parallel with an education program focusing on "the protection and use of historic architecture" coordinated by the Sino Italian Inter-university Consortium (CISI), comprised of the University of Naples Federico II and a handful of Tianjin technical and arts universities.
Another stated focus of TDW 2015 is food: "Some of the exhibitions will explain the importance of design object that we usually need in cooking and in general linked to the sphere of food." There will also be a street food workshop which will presumably serve the dual purpose of spotlighting the inextricable link between food and design + filling people's stomachs.
More info: You can find more information on Tianjin International Design Week and its associated exhibitions, workshops, forums, etc, at their official website. Or you can follow them on Weibo / Wechat (@天津国际设计周) for more micro-style updates.
For specific queries or a more detailed rundown of TDW 2015 programs and activities, contact Elaine Xu via email or at +86 15026583769.