Shenzhen Design Week: CSD an international professional membership body for designers

CSD members displayed their work in China when, with the support of the Mayor of London, the Society curated the London Design Pavilion at Shenzhen Design Week (SZDW) 2019.

The Society first engaged with Shenzhen Design Week at its inauguration in 2017 when the Chief Executive, Frank Peters FCSD, gave a keynote speech with a further invitation to speak the following year on the ‘Future of Design’. The organisers of SZDW initiated a ‘Design Guest’ programme for the 2018 event inviting Italy as the first guest and for 2019 they invited CSD to curate a pavilion in 2019 showing the work of London designers and organise a series of talks. The two week event featured four days of the London Pavilion and two days of speaker events.

Amongst those participating at the London Pavilion were, New London Architecture featuring the work of some 50 architects, the London Fashion District and representatives from London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional agency.

In all the London Pavilion occupied 1,500 sqm of space at the Shenzhen Convention and Exhibition Centre and featured alongside the display of work by winners of the Shenzhen Global Design Awards of which the Society is pleased to be a supporting partner.

The work showcased on the pavilion included fashion, product, lighting, interiors, graphics, and packaging alongside architecture and structural engineering and ranged from tableware to the latest model Jaguar.

Maynard Design, founded by CSD Fellow Julian Maynard, exhibited their wayfinding work which included their recently completed work for the new London Bridge station. A full size totem developed for the project was on display together with a video compilation of their other international projects. In a city such as Shenzhen with a population of some 18 million and which is only 40 years old, wayfinding is strategic to its development in terms of infrastructure and social interaction and visitors from other cities in China were keen to know more about this unique field of design.

Nigel Coates MCSD created an interior on the pavilion comprising five room sets each displaying his interior design work and populated with his furniture designs. Nigel is an iconic and well respected figure in interior design and his playful approach to interiors and furniture delighted the audience.

CSD members at ARUP offered exhibits from their sustainable product design initiative, including lighting, seating, storage and emergency hygiene equipment.

Environmental concerns are a driving factor at ARUP and in collaboration with ARUP Foresight the Society showcased a major exhibit promoting their ‘Drivers of Change’ toolkit which considers how our world will be like in 2050. In a constructed space of 100sqm 3,600 ‘Drivers of Change’ cards were suspended from the roof on ribbons through which visitors passed whilst reading the information on each of the specially designed cards which identified a particular environmental issue and offered statistics to substantiate concerns. On exiting the exhibit visitors were invited to draw on a 20m wall illustrating their wishes as to the kind of environment in which they wished to live in 2050. The resulting images from young and old alike showed why we as designers need to do more in order to address the concerns of peoples around the world as to the future of the planet on which we live for such a relatively short time.

For those not able to attend in person the Society offered a ‘Designer Gallery’ where some 16 exhibitors displayed their work and credentials from retail interior design to corporate identity.

Running alongside the pavilion were two days of presentations by CSD members in attendance and designers and architects from Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Each day culminated in a panel discussion seeking ways in which the UK and China design sectors might collaborate in future, something the Society has been active in facilitating commercially and academically over the last two decades.

The Society would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our friends at the Shenzhen Design Promotion Agency for their generous support in enabling the initiative and we look forward to supporting you in 2020.