SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Entry to SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. The show’s founder & curator, Marva Griffin Wilshire, working at the reception desk. Legend. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Scenes from SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
One of my favourites – Chou Er table light by Karl Yin Studio. The light integrates traditional hats and Chinese opera elements, utilising porcelain making skills of the Guan kilns in Qing Dynasty, and brilliantly expressing the oriental culture behind the work. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Little Chubby chair by Tianyi Zhong from Soochow University in Suzhou, and another favourite of mine – Flux lamp by Shanghai-based Studio Tame, which was the first prize winner this year. Right: Kinky version of the Ming Chair by Li Haiming from University of Technology in Chao Yaing, which expresses the young designer’s awe and respect for women. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

I think it would be fair to assume that, when most of us think of Chinese design, we immediately think of copies. Replicas. Fakes. Or the antiques. Unlike Italian design, Scandinavian design, French design etc, Chinese contemporary design has had virtually zero visibility or very little exposure in the international market. This is due to a series of several complex factors – many decades spent under a tight Communist regime and remaining closed off to the rest of the world would have done the trick, coupled with a generally low standard of living.

Although China is still ruled by the Communist Party, a modified and more radical version from the old-school variety, there’s a very different country ready to be discovered. For starters, China is now the world’s second-largest economy, with the government that nurtured a capitalist economy causing them to grow exponentially. There is this incredible paradox that can be experienced in China right now that manages to combine two sharply opposing and contradictory ideas of capitalism and communism. Chinese people are at once compliant and ruled by tradition, yet profoundly driven towards spectacular progress. Years of sitting on the sidelines have made the new generation thirsty and hungry for evolution and progress, all the while they’ve spent their time diligently completing their studies, respecting their customs and the elderly.

The contrast is strong in China, and can virtually be experienced around every corner, and it’s precisely one of the reasons I love visiting the place and simply cannot wait to return.

 

Related: Highlights From our Visit to Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017.

 

Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Hertical flower tiles by Hong Kong-based Adrian Kwong. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Chatting to Adrian Kwong. Right: Another version of Adrian’s Hertical Flower cast from resin. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Impossibly fine Float Shelf by Weiwei Wu from Jinhua City, made from polished stainless steel sheets and stainless steel rods. Right: Irradescent S&A Cupboard by Liwen Chen from Shandong. Details from Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Scenes from Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. In the foreground is the Spread table with a 3D pixelated base by Chai Sheng Han from Beijing. Right: Yours truly with the one and only Marva Griffin Wilshire. Afer several emails, phone calls, and one failed interview attempt, we finally got to meet in person,all the way in Shanghai! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Scenes from Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Ok, so where the hell am I going with all of this? I know, I know, I really do get carried away sometimes. Sorry, guys. These were literally all the thoughts that were running through my head during our visit to the second edition of in late November 2017. The event drew around 50 young Chinese designers to the halls of Shanghai Exhibition Centre, proving that China is a booming hotbed of opportunities, research, ideas and experimentation. The show was curated by the inimitable Marva Griffin, the mastermind behind the original SaloneSatellite in Milan, which has been running in parallel to Salone del Mobile for the past 20 years.

Whilst SaloneSatellite Shanghai cannot be compared to it’s Milan counterpart, it was thrilling to meet so many driven, passionate designers from all over China. Some of them barely spoke English, but we communicated using hands, facial gestures, even telepathy when necessary. It was clear to me these young people had a certain fire in their bellies (that I could also sense in many other facets of the country), which made me excited for the design prospect of this nation known for anything but its design credentials. Sure, there’s a way to go and plenty more work to be done, but having had a great conversation with Marva about these thoughts, she herself confirmed that many respected and high profile design figures are now spending their time teaching at prestigious design colleges in China. Look out design world, China is seriously on its way.

 

Alike Water by Yang Yang at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
Alike Water by Yang Yang.

Racket Coffee Table by Aletta Sun at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
Racket Coffee Table by Aletta Sun.

Eternity On The Desert Tea Set by Mutuopia at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
Eternity On The Desert Tea Set by Mutuopia.

Eternity On The Desert Tea Set by Mutuopia at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
Eternity On The Desert Tea Set by Mutuopia.

Float Shelf by Weiwei Wu at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
Float Shelf by Weiwei Wu.

Kneeling Chair by Yingyu Zhang at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace

Kneeling Chair by Yingyu Zhang at Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
Kneeling Chair by Yingyu Zhang.

 

During the event, SaloneSatellite Shanghai presented awards to four young designers from different parts of the country. The judging committee included many illustrious members of the design professionals such as renowned architects , Piero Lissoni, , and Steven Ma; Carlo Urbinati – President of ; and Wang Xu – Editorial Director of AD China, amongst others. The four winners will be invited to take part in the Milan edition of SaloneSatellite, held under the umbrella of the Salone del Mobile.Milano from 17th to 22nd April 2018.

First prize was won by Shanghai-based Studio Tame for their Flux lamp, which draws on China’s artisan and artistic tradition. Second prize went to Haoxuan Zhong from Bejing/Chaoyang for the Patting stool, inspired by a traditional manual assembly technique requiring no special tools. Xiaoqi Zhao from Beijing took the third prize with Alone, a chair with a curvilinear frame that replicates the inviting shape of a leaf. Yingyu Zhang from Hangzhou was awarded a Special Mention for Cetus, a swing- chair/kneeler that ensures a correct posture for the body and mind, as well as being a homage to traditional culture.

Below you will find a gallery with more images from our visit to SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017. And in case you missed our highlights from Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai 2017, you can see more right here.

 

Related: Highlights From our Visit to Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017.

 

Winners of Salone Satellite Shanghai 2017 | Yellowtrace
The winners of SaloneSatellite Shanghai 2017, left to right: Chan Ma from Studio Tame (1st prize),  Xiaoqi Zhao (3rd prize), Haoxuan Zhong (2nd prize), Marva Griffin and Yingyu Zhang (special mention). Image courtesy of Salone del Mobile Press Office.

 

 


[Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace. Press images courtesy of the designers & Salone del Mobile Press Office.]

 



About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

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