Business and more took me to China this March. China – what can I say – it is home to our largest operation outside of North America and it is an incredibly creative design community and scene.
During my stay, I attended a number of impressive events in Shanghai and the region.Design Shanghai, the design trade exhibition and latest and most trendy design event in Asia, celebrated its 5th anniversary and was bigger and more diverse than ever. The walk through the very busy and bustling exhibition halls was an onslaught of impressions, an attack on the senses, and information overload. How can one decide what is the most striking display out of all the 400 exhibitors that came from all over the world?
Well, I am very pleased to say that the Design Shanghai jury made a wonderful decision. Our Jacob Delafon booth where we presented Alexis Mabille’s dream bathroom ‘La Collection’ was awarded ‘Design Shanghai Picks’.This is great news as it is the first time that we participated in the trade show with this brand.
We also had the good fortune to have Alexis Mabille with us here in Shanghai to celebrate our collaboration.
At the Bellagio Shanghai hotel, we gathered for a dazzling, exciting fashion show of his new haute couture line and a gala dinner with well-known designers, architects, and creatives.The Bellagio Shanghai just opened this year. It is the first hotel of the chain outside the US. Walking through the place reminded me of my visit to CES in Las Vegas at the beginning of the year.
Another highlight at Design Shanghai was the conference section. In collaboration with AD China, we organized the Kohler Design Forum with a remarkable speaker line-up.
Kelly Hoppen, Michael Young, and George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg shared their insights and thoughts about ‘Smart Design for Smart People’.
Yabu and Pushelberg are especially at the forefront of contemporary design that is smartly executed and applied. I recently experienced their work first-hand when I went to Hangzhou.
The Park Hyatt Hangzhou near Westlake towers over a high-end shopping center and mixed-use complex with two metro lines. I enjoyed the views of this fast-growing city from the highest dining spot.
Hangzhou is a testament to outstanding design popping up everywhere in China, not only in the biggest cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Imaginative, well-thought-through designs make China more competitive for business and travel.
In this sense, we chose the W Hotel in Suzhou for our annual national distributor conference. The creative, innovative environment inspired the guests and associates alike and led to quite a competitive party at the end of the conference.
Finally, I would not want to miss to mention the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra. In honor of our 145th anniversary this year, we sponsor the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra weekly radio concerts. For the premiere of the amazing concert series, David Kohler and I met with lots of friends, associates, and a few VIPs at the Shanghai Concert Hall at the beginning of the month.
Chen Xieyang, who has conducted concerts for state presidents in China and abroad, directed a special concert program that included A. Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9. The symphony was a suitable connection and reminder to our firm’s long history and our commitment to the arts.
It was a very fitting prelude to the weekly concerts that are broadcast all over China giving everyone interested access to world-class classical music. I certainly enjoyed the evening and festivities.
Now spring is at Europe’s doorstep and a few promising design and trade shows are about to open. You can probably guess where I am headed next? Speak to you soon from another part of the world.