Taiwan design: a model for Shenzhen
2012-November-8 Source: Szdaily web edition
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LED by the Shenzhen Industrial Design Profession Association, a group of Shenzhen-based design companies took a seven-day trip to Taiwan last week to explore the spirit of Taiwan design.

Participating companies included LKK Design Co., Tiening Iron Art and Sculpture Co. and Kongwu Design Co.

The Shenzhen designers visited Taiwan design parks and companies such as the Taiwan Design Center, the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Franz Collection Inc., and Nova Design Co., and talked with local design professionals about the future of the design industry across the Straits. Several Shenzhen designers said Taiwan's design industry is a model from which Shenzhen can learn.

A porcelain vase produced by Franz Collection Co.

A liuli statue produced by Liuligongfang.

A Taiwan designer introduces the process of making porcelain wares to Shenzhen visitors.

Taiwain design

Regarded as a "design kingdom of China," Taiwan is the birthplace of several internationally known design brands, including Nova Design and the One. The region plays an increasingly important role in the world's design industry.

Taiwan's design industry was once infused with copycat culture. The industry was dominated by imported American designs and ideas in the 1970s and only began to develop its own designs later. Since the 1990s, Taiwan has strived to transform itself from a manufacturing hub to a design center. After years of concentrated efforts, Taiwan now has developed an original and professional design industry and is standing out in the international design field.

The International Design Alliance (IDA) selected Taiwan to host the first IDA Congress. The international, grand-scale congress was held last year in Taipei, Taiwan's capital, and drew more than 1.36 million attendees.

Creative culture

Creative culture is a focal point in the development of Taiwan's design industry. Many Taiwan design companies have carved out a unique development path by integrating China's cultural heritage with modern design techniques.

The Franz Collection Co. is one example. Founded in 2002, the company designs, creates and markets a variety of porcelain accessories. Invented in China thousands of years ago, porcelain demonstrates delicacy and the exquisiteness of Chinese culture and craftsmanship. Franz porcelain has been successfully marketed and sold in more than 5,000 retail establishments around the world.

"The Franz Collection captures cultural, artistic, and fashion elements and fuses Chinese aesthetics with Western decorative styles in its porcelain products," said Wang Yong, marketing director with the Tiening Iron Art and Sculpture Co. "That's the key of its success."

Local brand Liuligongfang was established in 1987 as Asia's first liuli, or glass, workshop and stands today as Asia's largest liuli arts brand. Its founders didn't associate their products with traditional Chinese culture until 1991, when they realized that a casting method they'd tried hard to learn was used in the ancient liuli crafts of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220). Since then, they've paid much attention to the culture and history of liuli.

"Liuli is a miniature part of Chinese culture and history," one of the workshop's founders, Zhang Yi, said. "We want to bring the Chinese culture to the world through our products."

Shenzhen design

Shenzhen's design industry originated from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Similar to what Taiwan has experienced, Shenzhen is on its way to transforming from a copycat-dominated manufacturing base into a design center focused on originality and creativity.

"The mainland's design industry started late, but has developed very fast," said Zhang Guangmin with the Taiwan Design Center. Zhang said he sees the progress the industry has made every time he visits the mainland.

"Premier Wen Jiabao has called for great attention on the development of the nation's industrial design," he said. "The government is quite concerned about the industry, which will be the key to its success."

Huang Zhenming, deputy director of the Taiwan Design Center, said creative culture is another key to vitalizing the design industry.

"How to embody rich Chinese historic and cultural resources into design products is what mainland designers should consider," he said.


Editor: Jecey
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