Since last week, Sanlitun Village has been attracting hordes of people not for shopping but to try out colorful and wacky eco-chairs at the Design for Sitting exhibition.
On display are more than 70 winning works picked from nearly 800 international entries by students working individually or in teams, using non-traditional material in the design and production.
The selected works include those by many local and international avant-garde furniture and product designers, such as China's Jiang Li and Zhu Xiaojie, Italy's Yrjo Kukkapuro, Germany's Luigi Colani, and Japan's Toshiyuki Kita.
A number of designs draw inspiration from traditional Chinese kungfu, poetry and philosophy.
Age of Pink, a cage-like chair made of steel is a creation of D9 Studio of the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. The studio says it wanted to reflect the idea of kidult - a kid-at-heart adult.
"Its iron chains move back and forth and its flexible net cushion goes up and down. Its not for people who want sophistication, but more for those looking for minimalism," says Jiang Li, a tutor at the studio.
While earlier China's furniture designers were more technicians than artists, they are now learning to give cold, household objects new beauty, and are focusing more on color, shape and material.
Traditional elements and environment-friendly concepts are key to the new works, and the Border of Nanluoguxiang combines both in its creations.
CAFA's Zhao Boqio has designed a 8-m-long chair that is simply presented in red lines, while Korean designer Yangsoo Pyo's Afro Chair uses springs to represent the typical texture of afro hair.
Wu Zhuoyang of CAFA presents several works. Shadow Chair hints at sleep talking and shadows; Armored Chair seems inspired by the world of knights and kings; Ladder Chair is, well, about ladders and giraffes; and Moment Under the Sea sets the scene on the seabed.
"Since words in a dream occur at random it leads to strange and, sometimes, illogical ideas for the designer," says Wu explaining his Shadow Chair. "When designers tie together such strange concepts, something original is bound to result."
Until Nov 22. Sanlitun Village South, North (Design for Sitting) and 1/F, 2/F Building 7, Sanlitun Village North