Greatest Good Like Water

On July 18th and 19th in Hangzhou, C Foundation, the first non-profit organization in the Chinese design community, hosted the 2015 China Design Forum, an event purely for public welfare. Domestic and international participants from the design community, design universities, industrial organizations, relevant industries and authoritative media outlets made in-depth and candid discussions and exchanges on the theme “greatest good like water” and envisaged “the future of design” together, inspiring participants and provoking them to think about further development of China’s interior design industry.

On the afternoon of July 18th, around 100 heavyweight figures in the industry were gathered in the headquarters of NetEase at Hangzhou. At the C Foundation Roundtable Symposium, they discussed the ten hot topics concerning the status quo and future of China’s design. At the “In the Boat of Charity Together: Design Salon & Dinner on Water” held in the evening, C Foundation founders shared with design professionals what they believed in about design for the greater good. Next day, the 2015 China Design Forum was held in Zijin Theater of Zhejiang University. On the agenda of it are such items as “C Foundation 2015 interim release of information on public-welfare projects”, “main forum: future of design”, “summary of roundtable views” and “design dialogue”. Public-welfare projects dedicated to the greater good, wonderful speeches and insightful and thought-provoking views of the guests were met with warm applauses from the 1,000-strong audience.

At the C Foundation 2015 interim release of information on public-welfare projects, Mr. Jiang Feng, the Chair, first introduced the evolution, purpose and mission of C Foundation and then reviewed the 18 public-welfare projects over the past 6 months: of them, the 2015 C Foundation 4×4 Workshop Experiment Project aims at transcending boundaries and improving the design and feasibility of practice-based education; the “Grand Canal 2050” project conducts in-depth survey and research on and makes long-term planning for tapping into, preserving and making relevant the historical and cultural value of the Grand Canal; the Bauhaus Research, Education and Publication Program is about digging into, revisiting and re-innovating Bauhaus, the source of modern design; C Foundation financed the publication of Doors of Beijing Hutong (beijing hutong de men) and Architecture for All (zhuzhong de jianzhuxue), books written by an expert and a scholar; more public-welfare projects including C Foundation Academy will be gradually launched.

In the “Future of Design” main forum, Shashi Caan, former President of the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI), delivered a speech and said: “Nowadays Chinese design has become an important force in international design and I wish that C Foundation can become an important organization representing Chinese design.” Sebastiano Raneri, President-Elect of IFI, shared the success experience of Italian interior design from the perspective of diverse, systemic and globalized design. Chi Wing Lo, an internationally well-known architect, designer and sculptor, elaborated on his pursuit of “eternity” and practical aesthetics through his architectural and interior design and designs of small objects. Alan Chan, a well-known brand consultant, designer and artist, delivered a speech “you will find the greatest fun of life in sharing”, in which he talked vividly about his design career and life experience and told young designers to “be prepared to give and work hard” amid economic fluctuations.  

Afterwards, ten industry representatives gave a summary report on the roundtable forum held on the 18th. The “Internet + Design” panel believed that designers should all the more return to their roots in the context of the Internet, reasonably make use of Internet technologies for their own benefit and proactively improve relations between the design and Internet industry; the panel of “Status quo and Future of Design Education” suggested that design education should properly handle the relationship between knowledge and experience, emphasize thinking and systematization, and factor in the impact of contemporary science and technology on social life to re-integrate design knowledge and improve the design education system; the panel on “Relationship between Industrial Development and Design” advocated that we should drive industrial upgrading through design, encourage design research and development through effective protection of intellectual property rights, creating a favorable atmosphere for interaction between industry and design; the panel on “Regeneration and Sustainability”, in response to such issues as cultural preservation, sustainable operation and the “green building” concept, proposed applying interior design to create new “memories” in new urban structures and living spaces; the panel members of “Building Design Brands” shared the brand stories of their respective company and discussed the model and significance of design brands and how to build them; the panel on “Future Model of Chinese Design Enterprises” discussed the suitable path for the development of design enterprises in terms of competitiveness, quality, capital, global awareness and humanistic care. The panel on “Design and Awards” reflected on the chaos and disorder often seen in domestic design awards and suggested that the industry should be united and convey the spirit of design and the attitude in national life that are aligned with the cultural context it is in; the panel on “Role of Design Industry, Associations and Societies” dived deep into the development of associations, the transformation of their philosophies and functions, and the relationship between associations and foundations; the panel on “Professional Values of Interior Design” held that the social responsibility and ultimate goal of designers was to create good designs and thus improve the well-being of the public and give back to community; the panel on “Design and Media” talked about the values of media and replaceability of media and, by extension, the connection and cooperation between the media and the design community.

Another highlight of this forum is that ten Directors of C Foundation and five editors-in-chief of design media had five thematic dialogues, in which they asked questions that were not asked in everyday design scenarios and gave answers to the questions that were usually left unanswered. Such dialogues provided additional know-how that enlightened and inspired listeners from a different angle.

C Foundation plans to hold such a forum annually for promoting the common good and invite senior designers and representatives of the design industry from near and far to share the ways of design and discuss relevant hot topics, being of greater use to designers and university students. At the same time, the ten founders of C Foundation hope that what the participants and others involved do will show the power of working for the common good far and wide and attract more people with compassion to join the Chinese community of design for the common good. 

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