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Trade fair preview: Design Shanghai

Asia's largest design event is unveiling new content.

Design Shanghai is Asia's largest design event.

Design Shanghai returns to the Shanghai Exhibition Centre from 6-9 March for the sixth edition of Asia’s largest design event. One of the leading events on the global design calendar, Design Shanghai attracts over 400 international brands from 32 countries and provides a platform for exhibitors to present the best and latest products to an audience of nearly 70,000 architects, interior designers, developers, retailers and design enthusiasts from across the region.

As the epicentre of the design industry in China, Shanghai continues to pioneer and champion exceptional local and global talent. With over 4,000 design related agencies and institutions across the city, the creative design industry reached 200.8 billion RMB in 2016, 7.31% of the total GDP.

‘We are very humbled by the fact so many designers and brands see Design Shanghai as important platform to launch their business in China and we feel a huge responsibility to promote these talents’, says Zhuo Tan, Show Director of Design Shanghai.

Design Shanghai will expand exhibition space by 20% and introduce a new design hall exploring New Materials and Applications in March as well as introducing Design Shanghai branded product for the first time at the show. The ‘Floating Life’ glass series celebrates the sixth year of Design Shanghai and has been designed in collaboration with Jamy Yang, founder of YANG DESIGN and YANG House.

Photo credit: Wang Wei

The 2019 Design Shanghai Forum in association with Kohler will once again bring together some of the best names in design to the fair such as Daan Roosegaarde, Paola Navone, Frank Chou, Aldo Cibic, Tony Chi, Dirk Wynants, Steve Leung, Ed Ng, Liang Jianguo, and Jamy Yang. This year’s theme explores the relationship between technology, craftsmanship and creativity and features over 40 world-renowned creatives from across China and the world.


Design Shanghai offers a bridge for Chinese and Western designers to meet and engage in new creative projects, bringing the best of both worlds. Some of the world’s most well-known design brands will present their latest collections at the show, such as Roche Bobois, Knoll, SieMatic, Zaha Hadid Design, Saint Louis, &Tradition, Flos, De sede, Please wait to be seated, Sancal, Karimoku, Cornelio Cappellini, Marsotto, Delta Light, Compac and many more.

Alongside this showcase of global design, the best of Chinese design will be on show at Design Shanghai including contemporary furniture brands BANLAN, HC28 and HIGHTLINE as well as designer Liu Feng. Over 50 local brands and designers will present work at the fair with an emphasis on the progressive and innovative practices people have come to expect from Chinese design whilst also focusing on traditional techniques and modern applications.

A number of emerging Chinese brands will also show new work at the fair this year including WUU, Urbancraft, PUSU, Shengyi & Kaiyi, Weimo, Mexmarko, Haostyle, Yi Yang Yi Sheng, Kun Design, EndlessForm, Grado, Haoyu Studio and Sozen.

‘Chinese designers are currently quite constrained to the Chinese market and I think we still have a long way to go, however, with economic growth more designers and students are able to travel across the globe to study, work and attend exhibitions and due to this an increasing number of European brands have started to not only acknowledge, but also truly understand the importance of the Chinese market, which brings opportunities for local players to learn and grow’. says Ximi Li, Founder of URBANCRAFT


Alongside the existing Design Halls, Design Shanghai will introduce the New Materials and Applications Hall for the first time at the fair in March. The 1000²M hall will capture new trends in the industry and showcase innovative materials and the applications from over 50 global brands. Development of this new hall comes following the consultation of the architects and designers that attend Design Shanghai and look forward to seeing the latest material technology and application trends under one roof.


This newly-added design hall also offers a dedicated talks programme sponsored by the world premier coating brand PPG. It will be the first time to have material designers, engineers and end-users all together to discuss the future of new material and design.


This year’s Design Shanghai Features present a number of world-class installations alongside the main exhibitors including Timothy Oulton Studio’s ‘Apollo’ which is inspired by the moon-landing and explores the designer’s inspiration of time and space exploration; world-renowned digital artist Zhang Zhoujie will present the limited edition ‘Digital Cabinet’, an interactive piece of 7-meter-high furniture that integrates sound and light; famous PINWU design studio will bring the third edition of ‘The Lake’, an art installation that will look at the revival of traditional Chinese cooking in partnership with leading Chinese kitchen brand; Portuguese lighting brand Serip will demonstrate ‘Forest of Light’ with its iconic organic designs and shapes; YANG House will launch a new series of ‘Virtual Landscape’ to explore areas like home decoration, transportation, workplace and food.


The Xiantiandi Design Festival returns to Design Shanghai for the fourth year in 2019. A satellite to the main fair, the festival provides a public platform for promoting Chinese design. Each year, Design Shanghai invites 20 local designers and architects to showcase their installations in a two-week long design festival.

Curated by Hou Zhengguang, Sun Xinxi, Du Xinyue and Chen Minjuan, this year’s festival is entitled “Back to the Social Origin-Acquainted, Encountered” and explores the relationship between socialising, design and technology. A new initiative of ‘Design Talks and Sharing’ programme will provide a more interactive communication between designers and the design lovers.

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