Caochangdi’s Beijing Design Week: A Mess Worth Walking Into

By The Good Doctor

The Caochangdi branch of Beijing Design Week is an eclectic mess. The posters have the wrong dates. Designers didn’t finish their work on time, so you’ll find empty spaces in the place of installations. Volunteers might sell you a button or a program that’s supposed to be free. You’ll wonder what some exhibits, such as a mishmash of geolocation balloons and a physical “chat room” called “The Real Network,” have to do with design.

Mix it all together, and you have a wonderful template for the best and worst of Beijing. A combination of overseas and local designers have come together to create something that, if it isn’t exactly cohesive, at least is interesting. If you are at all fascinated by architecture, design, or urban planning, or just want to interact with creative types eager to pontificate on their work, it’s well worth checking out.

Highlights include:

  • Carl De Smet’s Memories of the Future, a demonstration of shape memory polyurethane that posits a future where our furniture will come in handheld containers and expand to full size with the application of heat.
  • Nicole Condon used adhesives to capture particles in Beijing’s atmosphere, and then took microscopic photos of the results. You’ll be scared to see what the Particle City looks like when scaled up a thousand times.
  • And Chinese Shanzhai, one of the most immersive installations, is a multinational brand posing as an art project posing as a multinational brand… posing as a biennial. Even when you see it in person, it still doesn’t make sense — but it makes for tremendous eye candy. Just follow the red carpet from the main entrance.

And, of course, dinosaurs, which is always fine in my book.

Beijing Design Week at Caochangdi is happening now through Thursday Saturday, October 6. 

The Good Doctor is a writer in Beijing. Check out his website, The Chaos Factory, and follow him on Twitter @doctorentropy2.

    One Response to “Caochangdi’s Beijing Design Week: A Mess Worth Walking Into”

    1. Jay K.

      holy crap is that my former colleague benjamin bacon sporting more clean look instead of his long hair grunge rock style?!


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