The UK’s First Ever Shanghai Design Week Launches in the West End
Words: Will Moffitt
Making its timely, much needed debut on September 16, Shanghai Design Week will make its much anticipated mark on London with the launch of ‘Design to Wonderland’ (D2W). Hosted at the China Exchange Centre this inaugural event will serve as a prominent global platform to spotlight Chinese innovation across diverse creative sectors, including architecture, art, fashion, and beauty, within the vibrant cultural hub of the UK capital.
Far from being a straightforward homage to Chinese creativity, Shanghai Design Week is also a statement of collaboration and seeks to build bridge between the design industries of China and the UK.
In this capacity it provides a significant and much needed space for reconnection in the post-pandemic world. Confirmed guests for the event include notable figures such as, Neil McConnon, director of International Partnerships at Tate, Ben Evans CBE, CEO of the London Design Festival and Janet Coyle CBE and managing director of Business Growth, London & Partners among others.
Below: 东边野兽 herbeast Reishi Repairing Oil Serum, above: model wearing exhibiting brand PECO
The event will be a valuable networking opportunity for London creatives, designers, artists and brands seeking to foster connections and investment opportunities in Shanghai as the city prepares to become a visionary city of design empowerment by 2030.
As keynote speaker and co-founder of the London Design Festival Ben Evans, says: “The extraordinary talent that has emerged through the capital has established London as a global design leader. Shanghai Design Week as part of the London Design Festival brings some of the best and the brightest design innovators from China to our doorstep and the start of an exciting collaboration across two leading design cities.”
As the world navigates its evolving challenges of sustainability, climate change and a growing population, the role of design in facilitating international development within the consumer goods industry is more crucial than ever, and Design to Wonderland will lead these critical discussions.
The exhibition will feature 33 multi-disciplinary design brands from Shanghai, presenting a total of 168 exhibits. Visitors will be immersed in three distinctive thematic areas:
鲜地 FRESH: An exhibition space dedicated to sustainable design, offering fresh perspectives and innovative technologies that transcend the boundaries of imagination.
设集 D STAND: This space integrates immersive brand and retail experiences, bringing together leading brands and products that exemplify great design. It facilitates connections between brands and a diverse global ecosystem.
东西 DONGXI: Focused on artisanship, Dongxi presents contemporary, innovative representations of Chinese culture and aesthetics in design. The exhibits, curated by COMO, showcase Chinese artistry in new and inspiring ways. Design to Wonderland will also feature a special presentation from Shanghai Fashion Week (SHFW) titled “ULIO by SHFW,” spotlighting sustainability within the fashion industry and the innovative work of Chinese fashion designers.
Shanghai Design Week’s CEO Steve Lau summed up the aims and ambition of the event, saying: “Global cities need global design solutions. Shanghai designers are excited to share knowledge, ambition and cutting-edge innovations as part of London Design Week. This collaboration marks a vital bridge connecting trailblazing designers in China and the UK, reaffirming the importance of collaboration and dialogue in shaping the future of design on a global scale.”
Shanghai Design Week runs from September 16th – September 29 2023 at The China Exchange Centre