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Car factory plays host to designer's fashion show

By Deng Zhangyu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-30 07:30
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Models present futuristic clothes at a show in a car factory that houses hundreds of robotic arms and unmanned vehicles in Shenyang, Liaoning province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Walking into a carmaking factory in Northeast China's Shenyang, fashion designer Sara Yun feels like she has entered into some sort of futuristic world depicted in a sci-fi movie-hundreds of huge orange robotic arms are busy connecting, painting and assembling car parts while driverless vehicles deliver parts precisely to their intended locations.

It's hard to see the workers in the huge factory, which is the size of several football fields-only the robots are visible, and the sounds they make fill the space.

The fashion designer was invited to hold a special show on Jan 16 at the BMW Brilliant Plant Tiexi in an industrial park in Shenyang, Liaoning province. She designed four ranges of clothes inspired by her experience visiting the factory, mainly featuring the colors of silver, orange and a reflective white.

"When I stood in the factory, I was impressed by the robots. The style, the materials and colors of the clothes are inspired by it," Yun says, adding that she wanted to give her designs a futuristic feeling.

She explains that orange represents the color of the more than 1,000 giant robots at the manufacturing facility, while the silver comes from the factory itself. Models dressed in the new outfits stood motionless in front of the robots and production lines, making the audience wonder whether they were also automatons.

Models present futuristic clothes at a show in a car factory that houses hundreds of robotic arms and unmanned vehicles in Shenyang, Liaoning province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

It's not the first time that the carmaker has worked with artists to combine art with industry. Last year, multimedia artist Cao Fei visited the Tiexi plant and created the 18th BMW art car (a continuing series inviting leading artists from around the world to reinterpret BMW racecars) by using augmented reality and virtual reality. To accompany the art car, Cao made a short film showing how the future could be influenced by VR and artificial intelligence.

Cao tells China Daily that she was shocked by the highly robotized factory and impressed with its artistic elements. Designer Sara Yun agrees.

"The factory is art," says Yun.

Inside the plant, there are dozens of artworks on display, including sculptures and paintings shown through cooperation with the Luxun Academy of Fine Arts in Shenyang and the Academy of Fine Arts Munich. Office space is also integrated into the factory, where workers can see new cars float past their eyes, suspended on conveyor belts.

The plant opened its doors to the public in February of last year and was listed as a 4A tourist attraction. According to Yang Meihong, vice-president of BMW Brilliant, the number of visitors to the factory has since reached more than 10,000.

In January, the factory unveiled its mascot, designed by a young Chinese artist named He Zifei. He created a cartoon figure inspired by a sculpture in the shape of the Chinese character ren (meaning people) that was installed in the factory. The mascot sports a pair of intelligent glasses and has orange hands, to represent the robotic arms used in the factory.

In the future, the Tiexi plant plans to host more art events and cultural activities to make it one of the most state-of-art facilities in China, says Yang.

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