The 5 big trends at Design Shanghai 2017
Design Shanghai was previously dominated by big international brands. This year, Louis Vuitton was one of the major players to take part, promoting Objets Nomades, its travel furniture collaborative collection. However, as China’s economic growth continues to slow, we noticed more Chinese upstarts offering affordable alternatives to luxury brands.
Ziinlife (吱音), for example, makes space-conscious designer furniture perfect for Shanghai’s shrinking studio apartments, while start-up Zaozuo (造作) offers unique home designs at more affordable prices. Zaozuo updates China’s reputation as the factory of the world, recruiting both big international names and local talents to design items they produce in China, a model they describe as ‘global design, local manufacturing’.
3. E-tailers prevail
While only some of them have offline showrooms, most of the local brands that exhibited have shops on Taobao. Last year the e-commerce platform launched their one-stop home decorating platform Jiyoujia, which features quality items available on Taobao,quickly and safely delivered to your doorstep, and offers an assembly service.
(Ziinlife is one of the most popular brands on Jiyoujia.)
4. Scandinavian style
The opulence associated with Chinese furniture brands like Da Vinci was scarce at this year’s event, replaced by understated Scandinavian style.
Designs were more playful and colourful than Ikea’s functionalist solutions, but Flamingo researcher Jidi Guo, raised in the Netherlands, nevertheless said she felt right at home.
Scandinavian fever has also expanded into food and fashion here. Restaurants like the Cannery, Pelikan and Fika Bakery are popular spots in Shanghai, and Kinfolk magazine and Fjallraven backpacks are ubiquitous.
Concurrent with Design Shanghai, a Beijing exhibition of Noma Copenhagen cutlery by K.H. Würtz attracted large crowds.
5. Happy, healthy homes
During our last visit to Design Shanghai, the term ‘craftsmanship’ was everywhere, despite it already having begun to feel stale. On this visit, the design language had made a real shift away from the material towards health and happiness.
Themes we noticed included ‘happiness and well-being’, ‘breathing’ and ‘eco-homes’.
- Article by Stephanie Fan