Tuesday, September 27, 2011

'Ren' & What If?

Another mad day in the office trying to keep a grip on a VIP visitor's programme later this week. One minute he's due to meet Minister X, only for it to be trumped by a request from the Chinese side to meet Vice Premer Y. Turning into an incredibly busy and incredibly tight schedule with a car plan that looks like a cross between choreography and a military manoeuvre.

Anyway, relaxed this evening at another grand opening ceremony, this one for a collection of exhibitions called Ren: Good Design at the National Museum of China. 'Ren' in traditional Chinese culture means 'showing concern and love to others' - which equates with the humanistic approach of design. The whole caboodle was split into five large units, with Brits Dunne & Raby curating an interesting and highly conceptual exhibition, What If?, which looks at how design can influence the future. Not obvious things like better-designed cars, but going into real sci-fi territory, like growing products instead of manufacturing them or re-designing teeth to encourage vegetarianism. They even brought over a classic ice-cream van, re-designed to 'make snow'. Given the commonly understood and frequently applied activity of cloudbusting in China, this may ironically be one of the easiest exhibits to understand. Pity it doesn't play Greensleeves though.   

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