Promotion: Anders Byriel, CEO of Danish textile brand Kvadrat and designer Shay Alkalay of London-based studio Raw Edges were among the guest speakers at this year's edition of Festival of Design in Shanghai.
The event encompassed a series of lectures and panel discussions as well as an exhibition and a film screening. This year, the event explored the theme of '再 RE-.' – the prefix that means "again" or "again and again" to indicate moving forward.
Lectures were given by esteemed architects, designers and creatives including Anders Byriel, CEO of Kvadrat, designer Shay Alkalay of London-based Raw Edges, Boonserm Premthada of Bangkok Project Studio, Mark Lee of LA architecture firm Johnston Marklee, Liu Yichun of Chinese architects Atelier Deshaus, Japanese architect Jo Nagasaka of Schemata Architects, architect Simon Frommenwiler of Basel practice HHF, and Spanish architects Eva Prats and Ricardo Flores of Barcelona-based Flores & Prats.
Each speaker delivered a 40-minute presentation offering insights into their design practices before joining a panel discussion that explored notions of renewal, redefinition, reconnection and "reseeing in the world of design".
Anders Byriel CEO of Kvadrat presented a lecture
For example, in his presentation, Byriel discussed Kvadrat's growing stable of subsidiary businesses such as its acoustic products arm – Kvadrat Acoustics – and its textile upcycling initiative, Kvadrat Really.
He introduced a separate heritage fabrics brand that the company recently acquired called Sahco, and talked about a new pavilion at the brand's headquarters in Denmark designed by German artist Thomas Demand in collaboration with Caruso St John Architects.
He also showcased a broad selection of the brand's collaborative projects with artists and designers such as Olafurr Eliasson, Larry King and Sissal Toollass.
Designer from London-based Raw Edges, Shay Alkalay also presented at the event
In the panel discussions that followed, Neri asked speakers about rejecting perfection and tolerating disharmony in their work.
"Sometimes when you think too much it can stop you from doing something," ventured Shay Alkalay of Raw Edges. "I always tell my students, 'do before you think'."
"If you consider too much the flow of what has been done before you, the responsibility almost feels too much – you wonder how can you add to it or change something," he continued. "It's too heavy. Sometimes you just have to react and do something."
"As a business, you need to stay relevant, you need to look in the mirror and keep reinventing yourself," Byriel added. "The day you think you are standing on top of the mountain is the day it is over. You need to keep moving and challenging yourself."
The Festival also includes the launch of a month-long exhibition of the same theme, '再 RE-.' Running at the Design Republic flagship store and organised across six distinct sections: 'RE-flect,' 'RE-edition,' 'RE-cycle,' 'RE-generate,' 'RE-imagine,' and 'RE-.', the exhibition's exhibitors include Agapecasa, Baum, Classicon, Kef, Kvadrat, La Manufacture, Mattiazzi, Moorgen, Nio, Tucson, Ugan Concept and Yehyehyeh.
As part of the festival, the UME International Cineplex in Shanghai's Huangpu District hosted the Chinese premiere of the documentary Alfabeto Mangiarotti, which was hosted in UME and presented by Agapecasa.
Also included was a series of talks exploring a diverse range of design topics such as the exportation of Chinese design and strategies for engaging in overseas project implementation in addition to 'Architecture and Ecology' and 'Co-Creating with Nature'.
Established in 2016, Festival of Design is an interdisciplinary design platform initiated by Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, architects and founding partners of design lifestyle brand Design Republic.
Festival of Design aims to embrace the communal aspect of design through a diverse programme of lectures, talks, exhibitions and workshops.
To learn more about Festival of Design visit its website.
Festival of Design 2023 takes place from 10 November to 10 December 2023 at various locations across Shanghai, China. See our Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks throughout the world.