'Taking a Stance - 8 Critical Attitudes in Chinese and Dutch Architecture and Design' has been instigated by the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and the Dutch Design Fashion Architecture (DutchDFA) and launches the Dutch Culture Centre in Shanghai, set up to host the Dutch cultural programme of World Expo 2010.
'Taking a Stance' is curated by Linda Vlassenrood and Suzanne Mulder, both affiliated to the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) and Li Degeng, director of Chinese design collective OMD. The four Dutch designers chosen are product designer Hella Jongerius, fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe, graphic designer Irma Boom and architects OMA. Representing China are graphic design agency MEWE Design Alliance, fashion designer Ma Ke, architect/artist Ai Weiwei and architects Urbanus.
For his installation, Alexander Van Slobbe illustrates his approach to luxury of using forgotten craft techniques and creating garments with minimal cutting. Garments are produced using hand embroidery and construction that mimic traditional Chinese kimonos which were also made from a single bolt of fabric. Fashion designer Ma Ke’s Wuyong (Useless) collection displayed in the exhibition is based on her ethos of sustainable and craftsmanship and refers back to China’s rich history and question society’s emphasis on throwaway mass-produced clothing.
Hella Jongerius has designed a cupboard with flexible moving sections that sits with her Coloured Vases. Irma Boom presents some of her most experimental work, such as the collection book for Museum für Gestaltung in Zürich from 2009, while MEWE Design Alliance, formed of Liu Zhizhi, Guang Yu and He Jun, aim to offer a fresh approach to graphic design, whilst retaining the Chinese calligraphic and philosophical tradition. Liu Zhizhi says: "Chinese society is inclined to similarities, people often refuse changes or differences – in other words, they refuse interesting things. We face problems that are more complicated than outsiders think and to solve these complicated problems has become the greatest enjoyment in my working process. I am like a chef who has to calculate the balance and relationship between paper, printing, text and typography to make a tasty soup."
OMA is showcasing a maquette of its recently completed Performing Arts Centre, Taipei, while Urbanus Architecture and Design created an installation based on its residential project Tulou in Guangzhou (2006-2007), where the traditional circular, multi-storey, communal residential building around a central courtyard of the Hakka community is reinvented for a new social housing prototype, designed to improve the living conditions of the poorer members of society and reduce social isolation. Architect/artist Ai Weiwei is represented by his artwork Monumental Junkyard from 2006.
Design.nl asked curator Linda Vlassenrood how she and Suzanne chose the designers involved in the exhibition: "Taking a stance is in China less common than in the Netherlands, and done by fewer people. In order to engage the audience and design community in China more intensively into the dialogue about a proactive attitude and other topics, we felt it was very important to show the works of eight renowned designers. We chose the most outspoken designers within the design field of architecture, fashion, graphic and industrial design and presented them equally. Besides, these four Dutch designers have never been brought together which is also a quite remarkable feature of the exhibition."
The exhibition highlights the 'critical yet realistic mode of thinking and designing' in both cultures since the 1990s. Vlassenrood explains how "these eight designers have been driving innovation by systematically exploring the boundaries of their respective disciplines and by critically questioning their role as designers within a rapidly changing society." In addition, it is their ability to imbue architecture and design with fresh significance in an increasingly uniform world where globalisation, commercialisation and standardisation prevail.
The works show how this group 'embrace commercial or politically sensitive assignments rather than side-step them' and are constantly juggling a whole series of options: 'mass production versus traditional craft techniques, work on commission and the pursuit of a personal agenda, between tradition and innovation, market demands versus the needs of users, large-scale planning and the human scale, and the effects of globalisation versus the call for distinctive identity.'
The exhibition Taking a Stance runs March 6 – 28 at the Dutch Culture Centre in Shanghai and then continues through China, from April 24 - May 16 at the Today Art Museum in Beijing and from June 25 - August 05 in the OCT Art & Design Gallery in Shenzhen.
Main image: Hella Jongerius
Image 1: Alexander van Slobbe
Image 2: OMA maquette, artwork Ai Wei Wei
Image 4: Ma Ke
Exhibition images: © Patrick Wack
Points of sale
( 0 Votes, average: 0 out of 5)
click to vote
- Amsterdam Fashion Week 2013
- Dutch Design Week 2012
- Milan 2012
- Amsterdam Fashion Week 2012
- Dutch Design Week 2011
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2010
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2011
- Dutch Design Week 2010
- Dutch Design Double 2010
- Milan 2010
- Design.nl 100th Issue Favourites
- Dutch Design Week 2009
- Dutch Design Double 2009
- Milan 2009
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2009
- Going Out - Restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs and hotels
- Graphic Design Festival 2008
- Dutch Design Week 2008
- Retail Therapy - Where to buy Dutch design
- FreeDesigndom 2008
- Milan 2008
- Amsterdam International Fashion Week 2008
- Design.nl Tokyo favourites