Beijing’s growth and expansion is notoriously rampant, with scaffold-covered buildings and towering cranes dotting the city’s skyline. But architecture isn’t the only industry benefiting from the Chinese capital’s rising wealth.
Alongside the city’s property development boom, however, a new frontier in design is slowly being discovered and explored. The recently established design incubator and rapid prototyper RAWR! is looking to bolster the sector and assist creative, design and technology-based companies in China as well as abroad.
Founded by assistant professor of computational and media design at Parsons The New School for Design, Benjamin Bacon, and esteemed Chinese furniture designer, Naihan Li (previously on Jing Daily), RAWR! currently consists of a research laboratory and development factory located in Beijing’s Caochangdi, a district best known for its contemporary galleries and artist studios.
Set among the area’s famous Ai Weiwei-designed “Red Brick Buildings,” the newly outfitted research center is taking on some the most innovative ideas in design and technology, specializing in everything from wearable technology and product design to data visualization, from gaming design to interactive architecture.
Expanding beyond the boundaries of your average think tank, RAWR! has a fully equipped factory that enables designers to build working models of their prototypes.
Though it only recently launched, RAWR! has already collaborated with a group of 20 Parsons students working in Beijing for the summer. Intended to function as an R&D center for young designers themselves, or for larger companies requiring rapid product design and production, RAWR! has a team capable of meeting the demands of the world’s rapidly evolving design and technology industries. Definitely a welcome addition to the area, the city, and to China’s independent design industry.
Zandie Brockett is a Beijing-based independent curator, writer, consultant and photographer from Los Angeles. She holds a B.A. in Sociology + Photography from Duke University and a Masters from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business. In Beijing, Brockett currently works on several curatorial projects, including the creation of HONG轰, an alternative, self-sustaining platform that provides Beijing-based emerging artists the means to produce, exhibit and sell their artwork.
(Opinions expressed by Jing Daily columnists do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Jing Daily editorial team.)