Future of Design in Asia
BaoDesignLab moderated a 3-month-long online discussion about the present and future of design in the world’s two most populous countries – India and China – and the effect of Asia’s economic rise on design the world over. An edited version of the discussion was published in the University of Minnesota’s THERE Journal of Design. An excerpt of this article follows:
Design at Ground Level
Over the last few years I’ve read and listened to a myriad of structured discussions that center on the future of design, and the role that emergent economies in China and India will play in shaping its future. All too often, the discussants are not Indian or Chinese designers and thus offer an outsider’s perspective on the rapid movement of our profession’s focus towards Asian markets, people and environments. Having had opportunities to work in both countries, I well understand the advantages and handicaps of an outsider’s perspective. As such, I believe it is vitally important to feature the insights and predictions of young designers working in both China and India in exploring the turbulent course of design’s progress as its gaze turns eastwards.
And so, I approached four of my former colleagues – Abhijit Bairagi and Ankur Sardana in India and Zhihui Shi and Zhen Xie in China – to participate in a 3-month-long online discussion about the present and future of design in the world’s two most populous countries, and the effect of Asia’s economic rise on design the world over.
The blog that housed our discussion and the title of this article, “Design at Ground Level”, refers to the short chairs, stools and tables I have seen all over India and China that anchor certain creative activities at ground level, where I believe design belongs. I have always been drawn to these fascinatingly humble, practical pieces of furniture and it is in the spirit of their pragmatism that our multinational conversation began.