Now that China has joined the WIPO's Hague System, Chinese officials should begin cracking down on design pirates within their borders. They should also do more to promote homegrown talents like Cui Zhihua, an industrial designer who runs a design research studio in Jingdezhen, a porcelain-producing region.
The freshly-minted Cui (Bachelors in ID from China's Northeast Forestry University, 2018, currently working towards his Masters in Product Design at Germany's Academy of Art & Design in Kassel) states he's interested in different cultures as well as local materials and handicrafts. Recently he traveled through the Chinese countryside to study bamboo craftsmanship, and has been conducting experiments with how minimal amounts of bamboo might be integrated into furniture.
"Dongli (Fence) side table uses the toughness and resilience of the bamboo itself to pass through and fix the upper table and base," Cui writes. "The three bamboo pieces are arranged like a fence and can be used for magazines and books."
It might not be a gallery show-stopper, but Cui's young yet, and it's his willingness to experiment—and integrate homegrown craft techniques—that point the way towards the best path forward for China's design industry. By cultivating and supporting curious and independent-minded designers, the country can make a clean break from piracy and encourage others to do the same.
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