Last week in Milan we were pleasantly surprised to find Beijing Design Week presenting Design in Common—a selection of pieces from the capital city's fair. With a focus on communal furniture and tea-drinking pieces in particular, the exhibition was proof of China's far-ranging aesthetic. While Droog Design was cleverly poking fun at China's copycat reputation with "The New Original," Chinese designers presented innovation of their own with riffs on traditional forms and materials.
Painter and designer Shao Fan has made a name for himself by riffing on Ming Dynasty furniture, and in the past has deconstructed and rearranged historic pieces, even physically fusing them with contemporary designs. In Milan, Shao exhibited "Embroider Table," a piece composed of almost impossibly smooth lines from the base through the supports and onto the surface.
As the winner of the Red Dot Design Award and founder of Thruwood and Thrudesign Studio, Wu Wei has already made quite a splash in the design community. Wu showed of his Ming Series, our favorite of which was the low cabinet, a well-executed piece that is equal parts modern design and flawless carpentry.
Having studied Architectural Design Technology at Coventry University in the UK, Zhu Daxiang nevertheless showed a series of primitive-inspired pieces. Rather than mask the quality of the original logs that make up his stool series, Zhu allows natural contours to influence the final shape while leaving his own stamp on the design.
Images courtesy of Beijing Design Week