This year's Shenzhen Design Week (April 20-30) kicked off yesterday with a barrage of fascinating forums and events, plus exhibits around the city.
At MindPark headquarters in Nanshan District, Friday saw the first set of talks in a three-day conference co-organized by innovation platform TOPYS and C FutureCity. It featured notable designers like Daan Roosegarde, whose studio created the world's tallest air purifier in 2016, then tested it out in Beijing's art district.
What's more, Studio Roosegarde has used collected smog particles to create, of all things, diamond jewelry.
In his talk yesterday morning, Roosegarde focused on how existing expertise can be used to create environmentally-friendly projects. Or, put another way, how to turn air-purifying into art.
He was followed by James Binning, co-founder of London architectural collective Assemble, which takes an inclusive approach to building things. Among other things, the team has worked closely with the residents of a hard-hit local neighborhood to rejuvenate their area, winning a 2015 Turner Prize in the process.
They've also set up DIY workshops for locals, as well as an 'adventure playground' where kids can mold their own play environment.
Assemble's renovation plan for a derelict London building
The final speaker of the morning, Kingsley Jayasekera, came from neighboring Hong Kong, where he serves as director for the West Kowloon Cultural District.
While sharing plans for the area, which is still under development, Jayasekera emphasized not only the importance of good infrastructure – in West Kowloon's case, performing arts centers, theaters and public parks – but welcoming participation from the public and artists themselves.
From left: Daan Roosegaarde, James Binning and Kingsley Jayasekera speak at Mindpark
Elsewhere during Design Week, an exciting roster of upcoming events is at your fingertips, mostly held at the CBD's Museum of Contemporary Art or the Sea World Culture and Arts Center. (See the full list of events here.)
While many seem promising, at least some of the exhibits have fallen short of expectations.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art, for instance, long lines and a required ID check (pro tip: bring a photo of your passport) guard entry to under-curated collections housed in cavernous rooms.
The Greater Bay Area design exhibition (above), while pretty, lacks written explanation for its many, many posters and objects.
By contrast, the designs in this year's main exhibition, Everything? Everything!, are both interesting and painstakingly subtitled – but only in Chinese.
Self-elevating 'gravity chopsticks' (Dang Tran)
Art using 'air-ink,' made from air pollutants (Graviky Labs)
Other collections, intriguing or not, seem small, although that might just be in comparison to the vastness of the museum.
At least the architecture is a work of art in itself.
Still want to check it out? Ongoing exhibits are open until April 30; see the official site for details.
[Images via Mindpark, Studio Roosegarde, Assemble, Bailey Hu]