Gold piggybank from the Chinese Stuff exhibition at Liangdian Design Center
Continuing on the trend of presenting everyday objects curated through a designer's lens, three exhibitions curated specifically for Beijing Design Week examined the aesthetics of common Chinese objects as artifacts for exploration.
Bye Bye Disco opened up a popup shop on the outskirts of Dashilar for design week. One of China's first "retro shops," Bye Bye Disco is the brainchild of Pang Kuan of the Beijing rock band New Pants. The popup store sold Feiyue kungfu shoes, hot water thermoses (also seen in the Chinese Stuff exhibition), retro Chinese board games and our favorite: Fashion Poker playing cards, in an open air hutong tucked behind the more touristy main street.
Bye Bye Disco
38-2 Nanluoguxiang Hutong
Fashion Poker playing cards
Traditional Chinese board games
Hot water thermos
Lighters, army knives and aluminum toys
The wildly popular Chinese actress Zhou Xun worked with Beijing Design Week Creative Director Aric Chen to curate the exhibition, Silent Heroes, centered on oral histories and artifacts taken from the actress' childhood. Ray Lei and Chai Mi's beautiful illustrations tied together objects, recorded voiceover narration and photography in the surreal environment of a factory in Dawailangying Hutong. The curators invited local residents of Dashilar Hutong to share their own memories of select objects including bamboo steamers, wooden chairs, a chamber pot, press punch and a geometric pocket puzzle imbuing the objects with specific histories and meaning.
Silent Heroes: Objects, As told by Zhou Xun
Illustrations by Ray Lei and Chai Mi
Dashilar Design Hop
No. 8 Dawailangying Hutong
Plastic Slippers and a Comb
The Chinese Stuff exhibition at the newly opened Liangdian Design Center brought to life the popular book of the same name. The 120 artifacts on view provide an interesting snapshot of the aesthetics of every day life in China. Amongst my favorite objects: an electric fly swatter, ashtray in the shape of the Olympic "birdsnest" stadium, chopstick dispenser, Erguotou liquor, electric water heater, spittoons, sun visors and a lowtech but ubiquitous stool found throughout the streets of Beijing and in Chinese homes.
Liangdian Design Center
Through October 10th
A gas-powered rickshaw
Hot water thermos
The ubiquitous stool. Low tech, low cost and found on every street in Beijing
Embroidered shoe inserts
Trikets such as this can commonly be found in Chinese homes. Appropriately, China launched its first module, Tiangong-1, into space last Thursday, September 29th marking the official beginning of the Chinese space age.