March 26, 2017 - Design Society - Inaugural exhibitions
March 26, 2017

Design Society

Construction site of Seaworld Culture and Arts Center. © Design Society.

Inaugural exhibitions

designsociety.cn

Design Society will open to the public in Shekou, Shenzhen, China in October 2017 with two inaugural exhibitions: Values of Design in the V&A Gallery and Minding the Digital in the Main Gallery.

The forthcoming opening of Design Society, a new cultural hub, is the result of a pioneering international partnership between leading state-owned company China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK) and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance. The first of its kind between a UK museum and a Chinese partner, the collaboration is multi-faceted and includes the provision of professional advice and training by the V&A to help CMSK establish and develop a world-class design museum; the presentation of two major touring V&A exhibitions over a three year period; and the development of a V&A Gallery devoted to international design opening with the site specific exhibition, Values of Design, which will be housed in Design Society. 

Design Society will generate a diverse public programme and aims to activate design as a social catalyst. In view of the pervasive digitalization of today’s world, Design Society opens its Main Gallery with Minding the Digital, an exhibition exploring how design shapes the present and the future, positioning digital design as a platform to connect technology with human imagination. Through its presentation of a cross-disciplinary array of design, Minding the Digital will also investigate the effects of rapid digitalization on people and societies in China and around the world.

The first exhibition at the V&A Gallery will be called Values of Design and will consider how values drive design and how design is valued, as well as highlighting the key role that design plays in society. Values of Design will feature objects drawn from the V&A’s major collections of fashion, photography, furniture, product and graphic design, theatre and performance, but has been curated and devised specifically for the V&A Gallery’s setting in Shekou. It will showcase objects that represent key turning points in the history of design against the backdrop of Shenzhen, a city in which design and manufacturing are developing at a rapid rate.

Ole Bouman, the Director of Design Society stated: “In an age of accelerating change, the future belongs to those who are agile, curious and creative. It has become increasingly clear that human creativity will be the critical factor to decide success over failure. And not just creativity as a goal in itself, but creativity as an applied human endeavor. Future-proof states don’t curb the creative drive, they support it. They make creativity a pillar of their legitimacy. I am confident that, together with the V&A Gallery, the opening show in Design Society’s Main Gallery sends the message of a thriving creative culture in China in relation with global developments in design today.”

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director of the V&A stated: “Today, it is with great pleasure that we reveal to the public the content of the new V&A Gallery at Design Society. The exhibition Values of Design is the result of two years of extensive research and cross-cultural dialogue between the V&A team and scholars, designers and makers in China. Building on the V&A’s 160-year tradition of interpretation and display of art and design, with a particularly rich heritage in Chinese design, this partnership is an exciting continuation of our work. We very much hope that this new V&A Gallery, as a key component of Design Society, will offer a unique visitor experience and an important historical and international backdrop to understand the context in which the move from ‘Made in’ to ‘Created in’ China is taking place.”

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