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Design China Beijing: Innovative Ideas For Building A Sustainable Future

The industry’s largest concentration of architectural and design thought leaders came together alongside pioneering brands and manufacturers this September. The plan was to share ideas, reveal products and new materials, and exchange global perspectives at the fourth edition of Design China Beijing.

From the creators of Asia’s most influential global design event, Design Shanghai, Design China Beijing played a pivotal role in this year’s global design calendar. It took place from 24th to 27th September in a four-day event as part of Beijing International Design Week.

This year, Design China Beijing was centred around the theme of ‘Nature, Nurture and Sustainable Beauty’. It was all about pushing ‘beyond sustainability’ amid global climate crisis concerns and going further than its role as an industry trade fair.

The show became a social and trade event that raised awareness and promoted ideas of ‘Sustainability 2.0’. Set across 12,000² metres of Beijing’s remarkable National Agricultural Exhibition Centre in China’s capital city, over 100 pioneering designers, academics and thought-leaders gathered together. This included some of China’s most exciting brands, both established and emerging, in an effort to showcase their commitment to Sustainable and Regenerative Design.

Design China Beijing Exhibitor, Ya Space

Deepening the concept of sustainability

With a focus on deepening the concept of sustainability, architectural and urban innovation and new modes of cultural and social interaction through design, Design China Beijing highlighted industrial research. Furthermore, it spotlighted the application of new environmentally friendly materials in the design field, with a unique global perspective.

“In the realm of sustainable global development, we as design practitioners shoulder a heavy responsibility. Leading the call and developing solutions is the design world’s mission. Only when designers create sustainable ‘beautiful’ work can the public turn their attention to changes in thinking and attitudes. ‘Sustainable design’ should not only be sustainable, but also renewable and repairable. It is a key theme in the construction of future urban spaces, and it will also lead to the transformation of global design trends,” comments Design China Beijing’s Show Director, Zhuo Tan.

Design China Beijing Exhibitor, ECONYL® presented by Aquafil

Design Forum

An annual highlight of Design China Beijing is the world-renowned design forum. This year returning with a roster of over 40 design icons, global industry leaders, visionaries, and innovators. Over four days, this highly regarded thought leadership platform grappled with the theme ‘Nature, Nurture and Sustainable Beauty’. Spanning design disciplines from across the world, influential speakers explored the cultural shift towards Sustainable Design as a response to social and environmental needs in China and beyond.

PWG created the workspace of the future for Design China Beijing 2021

Stirling prize winner Amanda Levete of AL_A architects took to the stage virtually and explored the use of natural materials in an entirely new way. She hinted at her work on the impressive central London Debenhams building, a now-redundant department store, which proposes urban agriculture as a way of bringing nature into the heart of the city. Dutch ‘bio-designer’ Teresa van Dongen, a trained biologist, innovates with ‘carbon-capture materials’. Teresa highlighted the production technique which creates less waste carbon monoxide than they consume. In the true spirit of recycled design, the outcome includes a lightweight concrete, ‘olivine’ paper, and even a zero carbon vodka that consumes more carbon dioxide than it generates.

Sustainable Hutong designed by Guo Yuchen for Design China Beijing 2021

Sean Affleck of the Hong Kong studio of MAKE Architects, explained ‘Living Architecture’ – the practice’s Venice Biennale entry which proposes a radical nature-based approach to the greening of the world’s most high-rise city. The idea of ‘growing buildings’ is not new. Scientific and architectural researchers have been working on it for a generation. However, this takes another step forward in organic architecture. The trees themselves – Hong Kong’s ecosystem of giant ficus banyan trees – become the structures. There is no doubt that the level of invention and innovation amongst practitioners like these is leading the way. It is pushing far far ahead – ‘beyond sustainability’.

Design China Beijing Exhibitor, 3M

Global brands

As a premium platform for international brands to gain visibility in China, Design China Beijing has always attracted design brands from around the world. This year’s event attracted over 100 pioneering international and Chinese brands presenting new products and collection launches.


British paint brand Mylands brought their latest collections of water-based paint to the show. Mylands paints have a low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) content, making them virtually solvent free and kinder to the environment.


Aquafil, a global leader in the synthetic fibres industry and a pioneer in quality, innovation and sustainability, presented ECONYL®. This is a regenerated nylon product. ECONYL® has subsequently developed closed-loop regeneration processes to deliver brand new sustainable products.


Leader in performance fabric, Sunbrella, launched a new Odyssey collection. This is designed by Christophe Catteau.


Office furniture innovator Interstuhl showcased their efforts to integrate and consolidate sustainable thinking into the company as a whole. This is done by using renewable energy, such as district heating and solar energy. As such, Interstuhl saves approximately 243 tons of CO2 annually.

For more visit Design China Beijing.

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