Design week fuels industry and art
Updated: 2012-05-22 07:48
By Yang Cheng and Wang Sujuan (China Daily)
The noted Italian design house Alessi had a show called "Unforbidden City" at last year's design week with products "made in Italy, designed in China". Luo Xiaoguang / Xinhua
The annual Beijing Design Week is expected to increase its trade volume while sustaining its position as a high-class, niche event that supports the design industry, related investment and works for sale, said organizers.
Hosted by the Beijing Gehua Creative Center for Cultural Industry, a subsidiary of State-owned Gehua Group, the event will include products ranging from industrial designs to fine art and even textiles. It also offers tax breaks and an auction.
"We have a new theme for the 2012 event - 'Good Design is Good Business,' an idea from renowned artist Andy Warhol," said Sun Qun, general manager of the center and vice-director of the gala's organizing committee.
The announcement came soon after Beijing was named China's Design Capital, an accolade awarded by UNESCO on May 12.
Part of the weeklong event from late September until the National Day holiday will be the first China Design Expo to showcase works.
Deals made during the event will enjoy favorable tax policies that before only extended to the Tianzhu Bonded Zone in Beijing.
Last year's event sold 158 million yuan ($24.9 million) worth of works and designs, which then drove 2.1 billion yuan in revenues for related industries, Sun said.
"But this was far from enough - and the 158 million yuan was also a conservative figure," said Zeng Hui, another vice-director of the event.
He said a design masterpiece can result in sales valued at 27 times of the original sale price.
He has set his sights on making an event like the Milan Furniture Expo, which does about 4 billion euros ($632 million) in trade annually.
More online trading elements will be included at the expo this year, as well as the first auction to help more "works hit the market and foster public and industry awareness of protecting copyrights", Zeng said.
Sun said a number of overseas designers were involved in the past events, including Japan's Kenya Hara and renowned Italian design firm Alessi, which launched a show named "Unforbidden City". The products are "made in Italy, designed in China", Alessi said.
Sun said he now finds that the biggest challenge is sustainable commercialization of design concepts, so "a facelift" for the design week will be unveiled.
Beijing has more than 20,000 design firms, about 1,000 of them large scale operations. Their contribution to local GDP is nearly 80 billion yuan each year, according to Song Weizu, vice-director of the Beijing Industrial Design Center.
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(China Daily 05/22/2012 page15)