"China needs to slow down" - Beijing
Design Week creative director Aric Chen

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"China needs to slow down," says Beijing Design Week creative director Aric Chen

Beijing Design Week: as a Chinese company announces plans to build the world’s tallest skyscraper in just seven monthsBeijing Design Week creative director Aric Chen says that contemporary China should "slow down" and look to "craft thinking" to tackle both small and large-scale design challenges the country is facing.

Speaking to Dezeen at the second annual event in the Chinese capital, Chen explained that the craft thinking theme of the festival was chosen "to expand the notion of craft beyond handicrafts and heritage to be more about authenticity, process and integrity - a constant awareness of what you're doing, and how you're doing it, no matter what it is that you're doing."

The Chinese design and manufacturing industry is often associated with mass production, so the design week organisers took the opportunity to showcase a creative ethos that is more quietly bubbling in Beijing.

"China needs to slow down," says Beijing Design Week creative director Aric Chen

Above: From Yuhang furniture by Pinwu and INNOVO

Chen says that although craft thinking "applies to teapots and furniture, it's just as relevant to how you make a meal, how you build a city, even how you create a society," adding: "We see craft thinking as being applicable to many of the larger challenges that China faces. It was our ambition to get people from all levels, from the general public to government officials, to think about it."

"China needs to slow down," says Beijing Design Week creative director Aric Chen

Above: Geo City, Smart City exhibition at the China Millenium Monument Museum of Digital Art

This idea was explored across various platforms at the event, through projects presented by local designers such as hand-made papier-mâché furniture to the exhibition titled Geo City, Smart City, which focuses on how to use data visualization and other digital tools to design more humane, livable cities.

Chen also mentions that as China tends to be "very results oriented", he hopes the event will inspire people to "think more carefully" about process rather than finished product.

See all our photos from Beijing Design Week in our Facebook album here.

Read more about Broad Sustainable Building's plans to build a 220-storey pre-fabricated skyscraper in just seven months in our earlier story here and see all our stories about China here.