(First and foremost a little introduction) My names Luu, I am an art student studying Illustration and Graphic design in the sunny seaside town of Bournemouth in the UK. I can usually be found writing over at Eyemaylisten music blog… but tonight, I just HAD to share with you an exhibition that can be found right now in the heart of London.. ^_^ So for all those travellers out there, get over here! 😀
China Design Now – (c) V&A Images
What can I say? Amazing. I have been meaning to check out this exhibition ever since March but just haven’t had the excuse to get into London before now.. and I wasn’t disappointed when I finally got there.
The exhibition is split into three main parts; starting in Shenzhen, the birthplace of contemporary Chinese graphic design. The exhibition shows off Chinas energetic style, the development of that style and the creatives that pushed it. It also highlights the complexities of graphic design and typography, displaying the forms that were touched on by Wang Xu through poster design for Taiwan Image exhibition in 1995. The two posters; ‘Fork of a tree’ and ‘birds foot’ are just that, a branch of a tree resembling a Y shape and a birds foot, both of which I am told resemble Chinese letter forms. To push this further, a Chinese typewriter is on display.. it has thousands of characters and in no way works as a standard typewriter, but more like a letter press whereby the typer must individually place each character because of the complexity of the written language. Among this part of the exhibition, my personal favorites were two huge pandas affectionately designed by Ji Ji to be both cute and mischievous. They are also joined by smaller model editions:
Ji Ji, Hi Panda, Toy Figures, 2006, (c) V&A Images
Ji Ji’s other works are also on display in the next room; Where the exhibition then moves on to Shanghai, a city which has recently exploded where shopping, dining and building development are concerned.. and this is very evident. The room is bursting with advertising and consumer design, from clothes to magazines.. This is where Ji Ji’s ever popular t-shirts in China by the design studio; Shirtflag are on display. The designs on the t-shirts combine many of the recognizable propaganda images with smooth contemporary design making for very desirable clothing. Another notable part of this section of the exhibition are the Nike trainers on display, something I wouldn’t have expected despite the consumer theme.
Nike Air Max NL1 ‘Kiss Of Death’ premium trainers
The final part of the exhibition is Beijing, a room which boasts the sudden push in recent years of china’s architectural design. Playing host to the 2008 Olympic Games, Beijing has grown at lightening speed and this is very apparent. There are models on display of recent developments within the city including the current development of Beijings National Swimming Center that somewhat reminds me of the Eden project with its bubble like appearance. There is also a walk in installation consisting of three screens which create a very realistic feel when watching the animation on show. Before you is a depiction of the future city with its new developments.. it looks really impressive I must say.
Herzog & de Meuron, National Stadium – the Main Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games Beijing, China, completion 2008. (Photograph by Iwan Baan, May 2007)
As a summary this exhibition was a real eye opener. After only a few years China has developed at an unstoppable speed in the way of new and interesting innervating design. This was an exhibition well worth seeing… I would say any exhibition that captures something so amazing as the recent developments in a whole country is well worth seeing! So if you can… get on over. It’s beautiful.
So there you have it.. Hopefully this has been an insightful post!
And with any luck I will be back again!
– Luu ^_^