Needless to say, being in a design school and going to exchange in Hangzhou China has given us an opportunity to explore China’s culture and its current design progress. By the first week, we already had a trip to a design conference namely The 2nd World Industrial Design Conference at Liangzhu Dream Town, and had our buddy day with local China students; giving us the opportunity to understand Hangzhou and Zhejiang University’s culture respectively.
Our trip to the design town had different exhibitions showcasing various innovative product designs, ranging from kitchen appliances to mobility devices. Each device showcases alternative ways to reinvent given products. One product mainly featured is an electric tricycle, where it can be conveniently kept by folding it up, and simply opened up to be ridden on. It’s quite similar to an electric scooter with an attached seat. Right after, we had a visit to another section named Re-creating Intellectual Properties, where it showcased some kitchen wares being reinvented to carry out a certain function. One of which being stackable cups, similar to dim sum bamboo steamers or another being a casing to hold eggs to cook it in a thermoflask. We lastly had a visit to a section that includes a showcase of the all so well known, Mankati 3D printers, where we were explained the various use of the 3D printers and the capabilities and limitations of the 3D printers utilized. This trip to Liangzhu Dream Town has set us up to realizing China’s progress in its designing industry. The amount of funds, research and time placed into reinventing daily life appliances is entirely inspiring and quintessential for us design students, as it enables us to understand our purpose being a student in a design school. I would say that the trip there was definitely an eye-opener to what is expected of China’s designing industry.
Another aspect of our week was our buddy day. We were split into groups of twos, and attached to one local student of Zhejiang University, ranging from plans A-I. Each plan varied greatly from having a tour of China’s streets, going to museums and handicraft showcases, or having hearty chatters with the local student over a meal. Each of which allows us to delve deep into China’s history or culture be it a first hand conversation or an art display in a museum. It was definitely a fun experience, and a day well spent, where we learnt the impacts of the artistic trinkets, such as their foldable fans or oil paper umbrella. It brings great insight into all these trinkets significance in China’s history and its significance in China’s society. With the company of a local Zhejiang University student, we learn more about their lives in China, and more so about their school’s culture, like how their culture is rather similar to our lives in SUTD. It’s a day that sets a scope for what’s there to expect while being in China.