While 100% Design is a well established event in London, and a good fit for Tokyo, it misses in Shanghai. Or at least at its inaugural event here in Shanghai from June 26-29. There were only a handful of exhibitors and it lacked a strong showing in lighting, furniture, and tabletop. We didn't see anything that was really inspiring and aside from a bamboo manufacturer attempting to show its design prowess (it didn't), there was nothing promoting sustainability.
It's a matter of time. Judging from the books, and Chinese magazines focused on design, be it product design, interior design, and architecture, the interest among the new generation of Chinese is bubbling.
Funny enough, the thing we like best was the bamboo scaffolding at the entrance of the exhibition. Anyone familiar with China would think nothing of walking under bamboo scaffolding. It's everywhere, and seemed to have a artistic quality about it in this venue.
We dug a little deeper, and in fact, it was a purposeful installation and echoed our thoughts,
the bamboo "void" that greets visitors upon entering the exhibit hall, symbolizing what Creative Director Wong describes as a "void" of design in present-day Shanghai. This is the beginning of a dialogue.