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6 Stunning Installations At Design Shanghai 2018

Cool sculptures, displays and showcases – here’s what you missed at China’s annual design show Design Shanghai this year.



BY Tamsin Bradshaw

March 28th, 2018


This year marked the fifth edition of Design Shanghai, and it was a melting pot of Chinese and international design brands, both emerging and established. The leading Chinese design fair – established by Media 10 – ran from 14 to 17 March 2018 at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, also extending into the city with Design Shanghai in the City.

As well as booths, talks and pop-ups, the show was peppered with installations, both large and small. Here, we round up our favourites from the fair.

1. The Discipline Factory by Seçkin Pirim

Turkish designer Seçkin Pirim created this undulating piece, which floated like a giant sea beast over a pond within the tent in front of the Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Pirim took inspiration from the words of Persian thirteenth-century poet, theologian and Sufi mystic Rumi. “From one to all”, said Rumi, and this informs the harmonious whole that Pirim’s sculpture becomes when each of its twisting, turning parts come together.

2. Endless Form

Zhang Zhoujie founded Endless Form, an innovative company producing furniture created using digital technology. The Central Saint Martins grad established a digital lab specialising in digital art and design before branching into furniture.

At Endless Form, furniture is effectively grown: Zhang sets a series of parameters for his computer and lets it run. The resulting metal chairs it creates are edgy and unusual, and a series of these were on show outside the main hall at Design Shanghai, demonstrating potential AI applications for furniture in the future.

3. China Trends Report by YANG DESIGN

The design consultancy behind YANG HOUSE once again presented a trends gallery in a fresh format, with products divided into four trend categories and framed in boxes on one of the main staircases at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre.

YANG DESIGN defined China’s 2018-2019 design trends as ‘Fragile Romance’, a mix of celadon, white, turquoise and teal, with delicate details and ethereal, daydream-y designs; ‘Advanced Darkness’, a blend of black, amethyst, sapphire, tech-enhanced creations and metallic detailing; ‘Measured’, a calm, nature-inspired combination of colours – sage, rose, emerald, grass – and natural materials; and lastly, ‘Wepublic’, a community-driven blend of cheery colours and innovative designs.

4. Crystal Automata by Preciosa

This stunning piece first drew crowds at Milan Design Week, and once again it captured visitor attention at Design Shanghai, thanks to the way it artfully blends craftsmanship and engineering. The mechanics behind watches and other automata inspired the dynamism of this installation, while also influencing the pieces in another way. Here, the mechanisms are on show, juxtaposed with shimmering crystals from this 300-year-old brand from Bohemia.

5. Love Is Free

Dotted around Xintiandi as part of Design Shanghai in the City were a number of installations, including Love is Free by Urban Public Plan. “Is love free? I don’t know. But I can be sure that love is unconditional.” This sentiment was at the heart (excuse the pun) of this installation, which consisted of a mirrored box filled with gleaming red love hearts. Inside the mirrored box, the neon hearts stretched on forever, as did visitor reflections. It was an “endless space filled with love,” and a wholly immersive – and slightly unsettling – experience.

6. Roca Water Forest

Using indoor and outdoor space at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, Roca created a water forest using their basins, taps and baths set amid seasonal scenes and creatures. Butterflies, deer, lily pads and more appeared amid climbing plants, trees and flowers, all made from paper by paper artist Melzi. Alex Shi and Rodger San curated this refreshing display.