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Design matters

What will China's design landscape of the future look like? The exhibition Omni-Dimensional Design in China, held recently at Beijing Center for the Arts, offered some answers.

Weng Ling, art director of Beijing Center for the Arts, says the exhibited works reflected growing efforts to encourage design ideas rooted in indigenous culture.

"So-called modern design has had a significant influence on China's society, economy, culture and other aspects in the past 30 years," Weng says. "But with the buzzword changing from 'made in China' to 'made with China', setting up a new standard of design has become imperative."

Led by the "people-oriented" principle, three of the five exhibitors chose architecture as their theme.

Yung Ho Chang, 55-year-old architect, professor of architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and head of the Graduate Center of Architecture, Peking University, presented an installation to demonstrate his research into the application of fiberglass reinforced plastics (FRP).

FRP has only one-fifth the density of steel, but enjoys the same if not more tensile strength, Chang explains. It also has the advantages of having low energy consumption, being easy to transport and install, and being recyclable.

"In contemporary China, design and fine art are terribly mixed up. As a result, the technical part of design has usually been ignored," Chang says. "But environmental protection and sustainable development cannot be achieved merely by lip service."

He says the lightweight and reusable character of FRP fits the spirit of Chinese traditional wood construction, and his designs attempt to "seek out new ways to bring new technology and materials into the contemporary Chinese culture of design".

A model of an FRP-built house was displayed at the exhibition. Designed by Chang, the real house is under construction in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, and will be completed by September.

Jeff Dah-Yue Shi, 47, a designer from Taiwan, also underscored the importance of sustainability in design.

Shi's bamboo house reflects the Chinese philosophical idea of harmony, not only its natural and simple exterior, but also in the modern designs inside, such as the combination of LED lights and bamboo flooring, and the bamboo furniture.

All the bamboo he used came from Lanxi, Zhejiang province, and was cut between Mid-autumn Day and the Spring Festival, as is customary in China.

Recalling the inspiration for his bamboo creations, Shi mentions what a rescue worker said at the site of destruction in earthquake-hit Taiwan on Sept 21, 1999.

"He said, 'If people were still building houses using bamboo like they used to, we wouldn't be facing this'," Shi says.

He points out that bamboo can absorb 30 percent more carbon dioxide than trees. A forest of bamboo takes only 10 years to form, which is much faster than for other trees, and a bamboo house can stand for more than 50 years, he adds.




Author: Zhejiang XinYuan Bamboo Products Co.,Ltd.
main product:bamboo furniture,bamboo flooring

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