Leading new design brands, Benwu Studio, EOQ + Zaozuo, to show at Dubai Design Week



Dubai Design Week is thrilled to have three of China’s latest design brands present their collections in October.

Under the title Destination, a unique Dubai Design Week initiative, six international Design Weeks (Beijing, Helsinki, Istanbul, Melbourne, Mexico City and San Francisco) will present three of their most exciting emerging brands for the first time on the global stage.

The three brands selected by Beijing Design Week’s Creative Director, Beatrice Leanza for Destination are: Benwu Studio (NY/Shanghai), EOQ (Hong Kong) and Zaozuo (Beijing).

Beatrice Leanza says, “These practices each offer a unique rendition of the widening opportunities rising across and from within the Chinese market - a new breed of creative ventures invested in transposing the untapped potential of local artisanal and manufacturing expertise into designs for sophisticated, global prosumers.’’

Founded in 2011 by Hongchao Wang and Peng YouBenwu Studio operates across Beijing, Shanghai and New York City with expertise in product, furniture and spatial design. Benwu Studio’s bespoke productions have left traces in galleries and boutiques across the world. Both Wang and You were born and raised in China, and educated at ECAL and Royal College of Art, respectively. They have participated in international exhibitions including Paris Design Week (2014) and Dutch Design Week (2013).

Hong Kong-based EOQ is rooted in a spirit of enquiry and industrial adventure. Deliberately positioned within easy reach of the new frontier of manufacturing and innovation, EOQ deliver classic design principles using a new and constantly evolving vocabulary. Working under the creative direction of Michael Young, EOQ aim to deliver perfectly executed future classics with a balanced offering of functions and finishes.

Beijing-based Zaozuo creates high quality furniture, textiles and decorative objects to explore new home living possibilities responding to contemporary life and the needs of an ever-growing generation of young Chinese urbanites. Founded in 2014, Zaozuo’s products are fully manufactured in China and designed by an international roster of professionals including Luca Nichetto, Richard Hutten and Claesson Koivisto Rune.

Beatrice Leanza talks to Dubai Design Week on BJDW’s participation in Destination:

- How did BJDW become involved in Destination? What does it mean for BJDW to be involved?

With the intention to develop more productive relations across the Asian regions and encourage dialogue among young and dynamic design landscapes we wanted to initiate a platform for long-term actions.

Earlier in the year BJDW contributed to Design Days Dubai’s unique set of special projects with ‘Urban Crafters’ an exhibition of one-off works and projects by China-based designers. In the same spirit, plans for hosting Dubai as Guest City at BJDW 2015 unfolded and continued with a reciprocal invitation to feature at the first Dubai Design Week.

- How did you select the three brands to represent Beijing Design Week and why?

With changing urban demographics and generational expertise diversifying, China offers ample opportunities to both designers and entrepreneurs with vision and an interest in creating novel meanings for design and its rapidly growing audiences. Each of these brands is uniquely positioned in an unexplored productive sector and is born of different professional backgrounds and experiences.

Benwu is an emerging independent design studio by two young graduates well versed in the most recent technological applications as well as in the revival of local artisanal traditions, which has already earned them collaborations with global household names such as Hermes, Vacheron Constantin and Baccarat. Zaozuo, a freshly established company in Beijing, is conquering a widely untapped demographic of Chinese urbanites by means of a strategic campaign across self-initiated digital platforms and social media, with designs provided by international talents specifically conceived for local consumers. EOQ, headquartered in Hong Kong with production in Shenzhen, is an exquisite expression of how Chinese manufacturing can be synonymous with craftsmanship of the highest quality.

If anything, these stories defy much of the scepticism often found in commentaries around design with ‘Chinese characteristics’ – it is an exciting scenario the one standing beyond the short-sightedness of exceptionalism.

- What is the design scene in Beijing like?

Unlike other metropolises in China, Beijing truly embodies the cultural eclecticism of a diverse and contested universe, a dynamic context where both local and international professionals contribute to inspire and challenge design discourse at large. The past decades of rapid urban transformations impinging on the built environment as well as its social ecosystem, have fostered the emergence of practices active across diverse scales of operation, as conceptual undertakings encompassing from city-to-product planning. This form of integrated thinking is ever more urgent for a shrinking cosmopolitan ecology of congested spaces and newly emerging discerning urbanites – architecture, digital, service and social design practices attentive to small-scale planning are offering inspirational solutions of transnational relevance.

I am eager to discover if and how, with similar rapidity of growth, Dubai-based designers are tackling the complexities of envisioning spaces and tools for emerging consumers and creative communities that are vital for the liveability and sustainability of the city’s developing ambitions.

EOQ representing Beijing Design Week -Cafe_Deadend_CourtesyEOQ.jpg

Images courtesy of EOQ & Beijing Design Week Cafe Deadend

Zao Zuo representing Beijing Design Week -OMNI TABLE-MAX GERTHEL-COURTESY-ZAOZUO.jpg

Images courtesy of Zaozuo & Beijing Design Week OMNI Table by Max Gerthel

Benwu-Studio-4x4-Vessels-Courtesy-Benwu-Studio.jpg

Images courtesy of Benwu Studio & Beijing Design Week 4x4-Vessels