One of the highlights of the trade show Design Shanghai was the well-organized Design Forum Shanghai 2019 that our China team sponsored. Aidan Walker, the Design Forum Shanghai program director, put together an outstanding event lasting four days in parallel with the trade show.
Aidan Walker, a well-versed conference program organizer, creator, curator, and editor in the field of design and architecture, gathered more than 30 world-class speakers to dig deep into the meaning of design. The theme of the Design Forum Shanghai was this year ‘Technology, craft, and creativity – friends or enemies?’
On the first day, the forum that was extremely well-attended offered a great platform for popular architects, designers, and industry professionals to contemplate the fast-moving development and integration of technology into our daily lives.
Kohler friends and associates and Design Shanghai giants were prominent speakers raising questions about the true nature of creativity. After Steve Leung’s ardent presentation about designing collections around the world for various brands including a kitchen for us, David Kohler, president and CEO of Kohler Company, took the stage.
He gave a passionate account of the company’s past 145 years and warmed the audience up for design director global faucets Mark Bickerstaffe’s presentation on experiential luxury. The modern consumer is experiencing luxury in every nuance and at every level of their being. It is a sensual and emotional journey.
Not any less enthusiastic was Ed Ng’s talk. Ed is the co-founder of AB Concept and the designer of the KOHLER Experience Center Shanghai that was inaugurated in the evening after the Design Forum Shanghai 2019.
Martin Jochman and Ken Hu talked to the audience about another impressive project where we were involved and that is located just a few kilometers outside of Shanghai. The pit quarry hotel Wonderland recently opened in this special location.
The last presentation of the afternoon was by Tony Chi who is not only an interior designer that students and young designers look up to and love but was also an interviewee in the first edition of the KOHLER Magazine.
As in the magazine, he brought up the influences of east and west in the design process and how they converge and overlap. He shared his invisible design philosophy.
Aiden Walker brought these knowledgeable gentlemen back for a panel discussion at the end of the afternoon. While China is aiming to become the world leader in AI by 2030, he was interested in how his guests perceived the influence of AI in their work and lives. The group discussed the emotional resonance and the growing human consciousness that can be applied to this and other technologies.
All the participants gladly embraced the social and technological innovations in this new, fast-paced environment.