DutchRoom in Creative China

Shanghai, 14 September 2006

Leading Dutch Concept and Design Agency Mattmo announced in a presentation held at Shanghai’s Bund 18 Creative Center the launch of its latest project “DutchRoom in Creative China”, an initiative aimed at building a bridge between the design communities of China and The Netherlands and jointly exploring the economic relevance and social implications of strategic and sustainable design in a world experiencing explosive growth in product consumption. Monique Mulder and Paul van Ravestein of Mattmo of Amsterdam, Wouter Hooijmans of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, The Netherlands, and Davide Quadrio of BizArt, Shanghai have taken up the plan to build a bridge between Dutch and Chinese contemporary design by organising a DutchRoom in Shanghai.

The aim is to let Chinese and Dutch high level design and creativity come together, thus making a first step in collaboration and knowledge sharing. It is our intention to initiate collaboration between Chinese and Dutch contemporary designers of all design disciplines, from architecture, film and fashion to industrial design.

According to Monique Mulder, co-founder of Mattmo, “Dutch design has claimed its fame throughout the world, especially in aesthetic design as well as strategic and sustainable design. This knowledge and experience has evolved by culture, progress and advanced legislation and is highly valuable to the economic world. Chinese design, on the other hand, is rooted in a rich and highly refined artistic tradition that goes back thousands of years. It is a constant source of inspiration for contemporary designers in the western world.

“We believe there is great value in creating an exchange platform for members of the Dutch and Chinese design communities. Chinese designers could inspire their Dutch counterparts with their expert knowledge on the thousand year old cultural traditions and highly refined craftsmanship. Dutch designers, on the other hand, could share their knowledge about strategic and sustainable design with their Chinese counterparts who could then in turn influence the Chinese business community throughout their entire production processes. This could have significant impact on the environment of China, a 1.3 billion-people country experiencing exponential economical growth and corresponding consumption behaviour.”

The “DutchRoom in Creative China” project promotes collaboration between Chinese and Dutch designers from all disciplines, ranging from architecture to fashion, from film to photography, from graphics to industrial design. Participants in the project will closely examine the impact design has on the financial, economic and production aspects of business, and together start building a bridge to a sustainable future.

Wouter Hooijmans of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, The Netherlands, further elaborates on the scope of the project.
“For every form of education it is important to go beyond borders in order to see what is happening in other parts of the world. In our specific domain of communication design it is crucial to go to places where changes are going on that are of great importance to our society’s future. Shanghai is one of those areas in the world where new forms of synergy occur.”
“The DutchRoom in Creative China initiative will not only take place at the professional level, but will also expand to the education sector. The Sino-Dutch collaboration allows students from both countries to share their experiences and freely exchange ideas about designing our surroundings and communications.”

And design affects everyone. Whether is concerns urban planning or architects, product designers and producers, or your direct surroundings, everything is designed. For this reason, the aim is to involve designers at all levels, and with all different responsibilities and let people inspire each other to working together and understanding each other. Especially in the situation where disciplines or responsibilities touch or overlap, innovation occurs. This is what we want to bring out.
So the DutchRoom in Creative China can be seen as a cultural exchange platform.

Already an online platform is being developed. Here designers and design students can post their portfolios and profile, exchange information, exhibit their work and collaborate with each other. It is an inspiration platform to build up the creative community and network. This way a virtual room for interaction is offered, bridging physical distances.
In the educational section there is room for online workshops and tutorials by experts. The event section contains an event calendar and offers room for reviews.
It is our intention to let this online platform grow and continue. The platform can become a permanent online designer’s haven for inspiration, collaboration, sharing and participation.

The aim is to exhibit concepts and visual and concrete results of this collaboration at a DutchRoom in Creative China exhibition in Shanghai somewhere in the future.

In the Netherlands already government, design institutes as well as the design education community are involved and supporting this initiative, as well as large corporations from the business community.
This is the time to find support in all similar groups in China, so that we can realise a concrete exhibition of all collaborations.