On June 12, the “40 Years of Chinese Design—Inheritance and Innovation” Exhibition & France-China Design Forum kicked off at Espace Commines in Paris. Co-sponsored by China International Publishing Group (CIPG) and China Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), the event was jointly organized by China Report Press-INTERNI China, Guang Hua Cultures et Media and Media Figaro. Distinguished guests from both China and France, including Zhuang Rongwen, minister of China’s National Administration of Press and Publication and National Copyright Administration, Dolores Aloia, editor-in-chief of the International Editions of Madame Figaro, Song Xiewei, dean of the School of Design at CAFA, and Olivier Peyricot, director of research at the Cite du Design of Saint-Etienne, addressed the opening ceremony, which was presided over by Chen Shi, deputy editor-in-chief of CIPG.
While delivering a speech, Zhuang Rongwen, minister of China’s National Administration of Press and Publication and National Copyright Administration, noted that China’s reform and opening-up over the past 40 years not only brought about unprecedented material abundance to the Chinese people, but the increasingly flourishing culture and arts have enabled them to embrace spiritual affluence, a benefit that has even influenced the rest of the world. Over the past four decades, he added, design has served as a trendsetter in cultural exchange between China and France, and outstanding works of design have erected a bridge facilitating mutual understanding and cooperation between the two countries in cultural and industrial dimensions, while playing a vital role in boosting mutual-learning between Oriental and Western cultures and promoting diversity of world civilizations.
Visitors to the exhibition not only enjoyed a plethora of fantastic works of Chinese intangible cultural heritage created by designated heritage inheritors, but soaked in the marvelous modern interpretation of traditional Chinese culture presented by young designers while gaining insight into the dramatic changes design has brought to everyday life of the Chinese people. Apart from brainchildren of Chinese designers, the exhibition also displayed a selection of China-related pieces created by globally renowned designers including those based in France to highlight following themes: “Design for Inheritance,” “Design for Life” and “Design for China.”
As the exhibition’s curator, Song Xiewei, dean of the School of Design at CAFA, introduced the event’s artistic background, exhibit concept and features of the artworks. According to him, the exhibition was intended to showcase the development path Chinese design art and design education have traveled since the country launched reform and opening-up 40 years ago. China’s reform and opening-up policy incubated Chinese modern design, and the reform and exploration in Chinese design circles have mirrored changes in people’s concepts in this era, he opined.
In his speech, Olivier Peyricot, a celebrated French designer and director of research at the Cite du Design of Saint-Etienne, remarked that as a distinctive form of art, design has greatly helped increase cultural exchange between French and Chinese people through collisions of ideas in education, culture, media and other fields. Ms. Dolores Aloia, editor-in-chief of the International Editions of Madame Figaro, shared her views on cooperation and exchange between Chinese and French designers, believing that design, as a cultural bridge between the two countries, has helped the two peoples better understand each other.
When giving an interview to the press, Ms. Chen Shi, deputy editor-in-chief of CIPG, said that in the new era, China is currently experiencing groundbreaking changes while Chinese modern design concepts are continuously enriched and diversified as the country’s reform and opening-up deepen. She asserted that to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, the “40 Years of Chinese Design—Inheritance and Innovation” Exhibition & France-China Design Forum, as an integral part of the “Experiencing China” series activities in France, aims at exhibiting an authentic, open, innovative and developing China through various forms such as designs, photos and new media art, as well as building a new platform for cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
The past 40 years have witnessed the emergence of design art as a significant icon of modern Chinese culture, playing an unprecedentedly important role in driving the transformation of lifestyles, improving the quality of Chinese products, fostering aesthetic awareness among the public, and spreading and promoting outstanding traditional Chinese culture.