30th Nov 2014 Fufu Art Diary
The China Design Centre (CDC) is located in The Building Centre in central London, just 5 minutes away from the city’s most important architecture colleges, the Architectural Association and University College London. It’s a wonderful platform which has been showcasing Chinese art works and designs since 2013 and, surprisingly enough, CDC’s funding and operations are totally independent. Since it was established, the Centre has held a number of exhibitions of Chinese design, featuring furniture, products, materials, architecture and hand craft. Some of London’s most famous local architects, art critics and celebrities have attended these exhibitions.
The China Design Centre was established by Jack Qu, in collaboration with a group of Chinese architectural designers. The following interview arose from the writer’s curiosity about these designers, CDC’s background and plans for the future.
When I finished editing the interview, I was touched by the romanticism and heroism of design as a field. The designers involved in the China Design Centre want to display China’s design culture and encourage more and more people to use products made in China while also understanding and enjoying the designs. The designers also inspire each other by communicating and exchanging ideas and maintaining a friendly competitive design environment.
Design is not just about designing objects or space; the process of design can affect our world view, lifestyle and culture.
China Design Centre CEO Jack QU Interview
Writer: You are a successful architect with extensive professional experience working in the UK and China. What inspired you to establish the China Design Centre?
Jack: I worked for BDP Architects in Shanghai and had the impression that design in China was developing rapidly and quietly. I also noticed that people from Western countries were curious about Chinese culture; things like Tao, Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi were all interesting to them. But on the other hand, when it came to modern China design was perceived negatively, with a reputation for ‘cheap’ products and ‘copies’. People in Europe and America don’t know Chinese design very well. I had the idea that there should be a bridge between China and the outside world, made possible by design. Luckily, in 2013 a location became available in The Building Centre and I took the space along with some other designers.
Writer: It must be very expensive to rent a place in such a central location?
Jack: It’s London! It’s a highly prized location and it’s worth it. The designers and I all invested in the space because we saw its massive potential. London is the host to massive events every year.