While preparing Design Society for its public life, we have always believed its cultural program should be diverse, animated, relevant, participatory and catering to both the design professional and the general visitor. But most of all, we believed that it should acquire an inspirational quality. Design Society, by its very nature, can only be for the public and for the community.
So we hope to offer exhibitions and public activities that serve our diverse audiences with shows and events that are multifaceted and exciting, which promote active participation and long-term engagement with the Design Society community. We hope to prove that our topics and themes, as well as our choice of designers and speakers, will be relevant (and even urgent) to contemporary society and the local community alike.
We will do all of this with an aim to innovate the formats for cultural programming, animating Sea World Culture and Arts Center as a great visitor destination, while exploring different cultural operating models for the future. Hence, we may go beyond shows and events. We may also activate, incubate and ultimately match design talent with the challenges and opportunities of the future, and by doing so, connect creative China with global design culture.
This is a presentation of Design Society’s program as it stands at its opening in December 2017, setting the bar for its future activities.
The Main Gallery of Design Society announces, embodies and embraces the future of design in China
The Main Gallery is the Sea World Culture and Arts Center’s largest exhibition space, positioned at the very heart of the building. The Main Gallery will present immersive, interactive, and experimental experiences, touching on major topics in design today. In short the Main Gallery is Design Society’s manifesto. A place where all of Design Society’s ambitions are integrated: from the choice of topics, to collaboration with other parties, and cutting edge curatorial research.
The Main Gallery’s inaugural show is Minding the Digital. Why Minding the Digital? We thought that in Design Society’s ambition to be a new, comprehensive institution incorporating a museum, an experience center, and a professional hub all in one, there was no subject more relevant, topical and exciting than the digital landscape in which our lives unfold to an ever-increasing degree. This digital transformation demands our full attention and requires our strongest imagination. Minding the Digital allows the visitor to evaluate the evolution of contemporary design. It highlights some of the most important modes of operation in design today. It encourages visitors to consider the role of design beyond the aesthetics of an object, pushing them into new territories of materials, production technologies, human interaction and societal organization.
Minding the Digital, makes a point of showing how we literally design society in the early 21st century.
If values drive the design process, what we value will ultimately affect the way we design
Adjacent to the Main Gallery is the V&A Gallery, a space that will strengthen Design Society’s discussions on the contemporary by framing a debate on values of design through objects that offer historical and global context. The V&A Gallery presents a diverse cross section of objects from the V&A’s own permanent collection. Carefully selected for and inspired by Shenzhen, the exhibition also presents new acquisitions to the V&A collection, sourced from Shenzhen itself.
The inaugural V&A exhibition Values of Design, designed by Sam Jacob Studio, is an exploration of our values, and how our values are reflected in the objects we choose to surround ourselves with. The largest international project the V&A has ever worked on, it provides a framework for a new and critical look at design.
Park View Gallery
The Park View Gallery presents the responsive program of Design Society
A well-lit space by the entrance hall of the building, the Park View Gallery is designed to present topical and smaller-scale projects and guest presentations. Design Society’s first guest curator is none other than the architect of the building himself: Fumihiko Maki. In the gallery, he takes the visitor on an imaginary tour through his oeuvre, arriving at his latest creation, the Sea World Culture and Arts Center, house of Design Society.
Though a unique project within the repertoire of Maki and Associates, the Sea World Culture and Arts Center was designed according to a culmination of Maki’s design principles, developed over half a century of architectural practice. The exhibition introduces these principles through past projects, including a feature presentation about the SWCAC. An enrichment to visitors’ understanding and experience of the building itself.
Shekou Museum of Reform and Opening
Forty years of pioneering history has left behind a rich collection of inspiring stories
This museum gallery is dedicated to the history of Shekou through the lens of its pivotal moment in history. Shekou is a true pioneering zone. The first Special Economic Zone in China to open up to the rest of the world in 1979, the area was the test-ground for many economic, industrial and political reforms. After forty years of innovation, a rich collection of inspiring stories can be gathered from its inhabitants.
Supported by generous contributions from the collections of the China Merchants Museum and Archive, these stories are told through photographs, videos, documents and personal items. The museum brings us closer to the unique history of Shekou, and allows us to relive the experiences of Shekou residents during these energetic years.