Beijing Design Week grows every year to include areas in Beijing that have made waves in the city's design and sustainability scene, so it seems fitting that Indigo, a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-certified building, and Parkview Green, the first mixed-use commercial project in the capital to achieve a LEED Platinum level, would be added to the list of core hosts this year. High fashion, high-tech innovation, and sustainability all come together at these two shopping malls-turned-temporary Design Hop spots through a series of workshops, exhibitions, and installations.
Parkview Green's Design Hop highlight breaks world records with a 3D pavilion by the Laboratory for Creative Design, a China-based 3D printing technology research organization. Named “Vulcan,” the stark white, undulating installation is comprised of more than 1,000 smaller pieces connected together to make up the largest 3D-printed structure in the world. The structure itself came out of an aim to recreate the intricacies of the silkworm cocoon, but the result is more than a piece of art—it's yet another manifestation of an evolving design technology that is widely expected to have the potential to make the manufacturing industry more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Parkview Green launched their Design Hop exhibition on Friday with a fashion show by NE-TIGER, in which models complemented the Shandong-born designer's latest collections by wearing statement 3D-printed headgear, necklaces, and body armor designed by students at the Nanjing School of Fine Art. These elaborate accessories aim to “explore the virtual field of the body, which has been draped in fabric, adorned with accessories, and intoxicated by fast food,” and were created using software that digitally maps body movements.
Accompanying the central piece are fashion installations by both local and international brands that focus on innovation and sustainability, and the 3D printing theme is dominant. These include HIVE, a 3D printing station where members of the public work together to create a structure to emphasize the importance of community input in urban development. In another community-sourced project, called Deconstructing Living, Brazilian brand Coletivo Amor de Madre invited furniture designer Henrique Stabile to create furniture that visitors can customize based on their individual lifestyles.
Technology is joined by sustainability as upcycling-focused exhibitions are scattered throughout the mall, including pollution-fighting, organic tote bags designed by local brand Made by Mir in cooperation with U.S.-based Pureti. Italian footwear brand Vibram and luxury fashion brand Carmina Campus reveals their capsule collection featuring handbags made with recycled leftover rubber from Vibram, while Beijing-based silk and cashmere brand Sefhyir shows visitors that scrap material from previous seasons' designs can be upcycled into new jewelry and accessories. For the kids, Parkview Green's children's play place Little Oasis is hosting a competition where participants can build their own climbing structure using recyclable materials, and the chosen idea will be created using a 3D printer.
Even household names like Stella McCartney are on the list of BJDW stops. The store will showcase its handmade Noemi totes produced in Nairobi, Kenya with the help of the International Trade Center and Ethical Fashion Program.
Indigo worked with a4 studios to create several exhibitions by Chinese and international designers, of which online home furnishings shop Haozai's colorful contemporary installation steals the show. Their model dining room, living room and reading room merge the East and West in contemporary design, showcasing products by international and Chinese designers. Guests can catch flower arrangement workshops and afternoon tea in the space.
Both Design Hops run until October 7. More details about specific workshops and events are available at Beijing Design Week's website.