Have Your Say … Is China going to become the next design powerhouse?

Have your say feature China question

This month Design Insider will be focusing on Eastern design by asking:  Is China going to become the next design powerhouse?

We welcome you to join the discussion by leaving your opinion in a comment at the end of the article.  Which statements do you agree with? What would you challenge? Is China going to become the next design powerhouse? Let us know!!

Rodney McMahon, Managing Director Morgan

‘I heard today that there are 250,000 designers graduating every year in China, whilst you will know that we have withdrawn Design Technology and many arts subjects from schools. I think that this puts China very far ahead of us in terms of being able to be a design powerhouse. Our good fortune is that being capable of technical design does not make you creative or original and it is recognised that the skill set in China is very adept at copying rather than creativity.

Substantial changes to IP law have been recently introduced in China in order to protect their own IP and that of their manufacturing industry. When new laws are promulgated in China, due to its being a one party dictatorship, judges are called into Beijing and instructed to apply the law so we can be certain that there will be little, if any, copying.

Both these factors point to a determination by the Chinese Government to become a design powerhouse. Whether they can achieve this ambition remains to be seen.’

Have your say feature China quote 1

Gemma Allman, Managing Director Decca

‘I feel that “powerhouse” is the wrong adjective to describe design within a Chinese perspective. As a nation of immaculate craftsmanship, the “Middle Kingdom” values quality and craftsmanship very highly. Their approach to design has not traditionally been the same as the European approach of constant revolution, more of quiet aesthetic evolution. So whilst cutting-edge design may not be constantly produced, a constant refining, with small adaptations to meet the requirements of the modern world is very much the aim.

Have your say feature China quote 2

Chinese manufacturing skills have not always been associated with cheap products, this is very much a misconception of modern day Europe. Furniture design has been specific to their cultural norms and requirements. Adapting to a European concept of furniture design has happened very fast, and their individual Chinese designers blending the two cultures, and I certainly see this increasingly influencing European design in the future.’

Barry Jenkins, Director BroomeJenkins

Have your say feature China quote 3

Notwithstanding the obvious cultural difference in recent consumer style, I think the answer is yes for the following reasons:
– Critical mass of population – the probabilities would suggest it is very possible.
– Economically and industrially they are in a good position.
– In the past twenty years China has up-skilled in manufacturing technology and the way they currently serve the rest of the world in R&D capability, rapid prototyping etc. they are bound to move up the food chain from being subcontractor to inventor.
– Over the past ten years or so, the number of Chinese designers educated in European institutions means that their home grown designers have a world view and a global power behind them.
– Historically China has been responsible for all kinds of invention from paper to gun powder, bone china to printing. Innovation is in their DNA.
– And finally they have the can-do attitude. Looking at some of the audacious engineering to construct infrastructure, they just get on a solve the problem.

We look forward to reading your opinion in the comments section below, alternatively you are welcome to tweet us @DesignInsider1


About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
View all posts by Alys Bryan →