Chinese contemporary design goes on display at London Design Festival | Updated: 2017-09-27 00:40

Chinese contemporary design goes on display at London Design Festival

A visitor is viewing the design works from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, in London, UK on Sept 19, 2017. [Photo/]

Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, together with Guangzhou Advertising Industrial Park, brought contemporary design in Guangdong to the spotlight at London Design Festival last week.

The exhibition theme, Outside the Ivory Tower, is inspired by the English term "ivory tower", which refers to the alienation of some areas of higher education from the rest of the world.

It aims to show how Chinese education institutions step outside the ivory tower and apply design and fine arts for practical purposes.

Xiang Xiaowei, the cultural counsellor of Chinese embassy, opened the exhibition with his speech.

"Design and creative industry has been one of the major driving forces nowadays in China's transformation," said Xiang, "And Guangzhou has been the leader in education of profession in design activity. It has been contributing in the creative industry and trying to open up a new chance of new international cooperation."

The exhibition consists of three major parts, displaying various design works of the past, the present and the future, all created by the students and professors from the design department of GAFA.

It is the first time that GAFA's work has been displayed in the UK.

David Crow, the vice-chancellor of University of the Arts London, saw it as a great opportunity for cultural exchange between art students from both China and the UK.

"It's hugely important for UK students to meet Chinese students," said Crow, "Because the future of visual communication is there with them and it's really important that we encourage them to understand that design can break down all those barriers and boundaries."

"We've had close relationship with China so I want this to be another step in a journey with Chinese friends. Chinese design is certainly taking off, it's like finding a library that you didn’t know it was there, very fascinating."

Being the only academy of fine arts in south China, GAFA is one of the first education institutions to make alliances with business and has undertaken design projects across the country.

Cao Xue, the curator of the exhibition, said: "We're trying to tell a story here. Our designs can demonstrate the normal lives of Chinese people, and each life is itself a story worth telling."

"It's not about seeking similarities, but more of respecting differences. And this exhibition provides an international platform for us to communicate with the world and to tell Chinese stories to the world."

Zhang Yangfei in London contributed to the story.


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