2013 Bentu Design the Milan Design Week
There is no doubt that the newest and most classic household goods convene at annual Milan Design Week, leading the world’s home furnishing design.
At the Milan Design Week this year, except for some exchange exhibition on behalf of governments or celebrities, there were few Chinese companies participating in the formal company exhibition. Only three Chinese companies, including us, showed in the original design exhibition. In China, related industries and media are attaching more and more attention to the Melan Design Week, and more and more Chinese visit and learn from that. Is it a compulsion to learn because of the backward home furnishing industry, a business chance for the copycats or a boast of blindly pursuing fashion?
For us, the Milan Design Week is not beyond our reach as some people domestic thought. World is still the world and people are still the people. What we lack are open and modest minds, especially when the anxiety to achieve quick success has become the mainstream. In terms of creativity, on one hand, we enjoy western material civilization. On the other hand, we advocate the superiority of Chinese traditional culture, losing the sense of future and the cultivation of sincerity.
My motive to this Milan Design Week was, very simple, to explore the direction, find the disparity and attain self-fulfillment. A design team, with imagination of life and curiosity of future, will finally step on the world-class stage.
It seems not an easy job to successfully participate in this fair. As long as we passionately put thoughts into action, all the hardship during the course will become happy experience. This world is simple. On April 5th, holding this idea, we came to the Milan Design Week.
On the spot, though as an original design exhibitor, I paid more attention to other world-class design teams. Is it owing to yearning out of ignorance or self-abasement out of backwardness? I knew why we got there. It is a chance to exchange with international counterparts, to accumulate for products’ future direction, to build up confidence for our team and to affirm self-exploration.
Surrounded by world-class original designs, I should had immersed myself in a myriad of thoughts and ideas. Oddly, my mind and my goal got clearer, in a quiet mood. Such quietness was a kind of future, out of people instincts. All the products in the space, guided by simplism, were plain and pithy with experimental materials and technics. I did look simplism up in the dictionary and were confused by over literal explanation. I prefered to believe in my own understanding that simplism was an inevitable trend. It was, at first, one of human beings’ simple instincts, to get rid of package in self-recognition and conserve natural resources. Then it was a power to review aesthetic, offering more imaginative space to spirits and leading people to change their living habits. Facing reality, that we are the world is a trend.
In the hall, products with symbols of traditional culture were seldom seen. As usual, European designers were, as usual, modern, natural, simple and direct, without a bit of traditional symbols. However, these products, in their essence, were traditional and elegant. I always held the opinion that Japanese design, beautiful and exquisite, remained their nation’s culture and temperament among international tides. The works seemed to be deliberately designed, not that straightforward. However, this time the young Japanese designers amazed me. They had totally integrated into world and became more open, with little deliberation and superficial culture. To be frank, in China, too many people comprehend and pursue traditional culture. It seems that a person should be literate, but literate persons do not do anything humane. Original design is negatively affected, misled into vulgarity and conservativeness. And the aesthetic of society deviates from humanity. On the contrary, in Taiwan where traditional Chinese civilization is best preserved, product design has followed that of Japan and surprises many people.
Having a looking at our products, we have taken the lead in the matter of design concept, even among the best. Design demands that a person should sincerely face his soul. Soul does not need shoes as bare soul can better feel joys and sorrows of life. Our orientation is to create products in the most direct and simple ways. The world belongs to people, western or eastern. Therefore, things designed out of instinct can be understood by people. I hold the belief that Bentu Design’s positioning—close to hearts and back to nature, is in accordance with future trend. We should stick to our orientation and future is in the near future.
This time, what we gained is not the persistence in goals or insistence on ideas, but an ineffable feeling, which seems to be a gap unable to surmount and disparity unable to narrow down. After a year’s whole-hearted devotion, I know the hardship of completing a piece of original works. A piece of work demands a whole set of system involving a lot. The most insurmountable part is not technique, which can be learned and offset. The most difficult part to catch up with is not design concept, which can be learned and thought about. The most hard to keep up with is humanistic quality. Often, we want a perfect product. Perfection consists of details. Though easy done, details cannot make sure a perfect product we want. We always find excuses for imperfection and blame the technique and cost for that. In fact, the most important reason is the lack of an understanding towards design, an aesthetic quality and a sense of responsibility to undertake. Theses things themselves are easy to do, but hard to be turned into daily habits. Qualities are accumulated day by day. Quality, in need of coordination of all links, is not an individual matter. Every participant needs such qualities. I envy Europeans for being born with the quality of rigor and respect Japanese for being detail-oriented. Face to face with current reality in China, how can this gap be made up？ While all the citizens hold a fickle and greedy sense of value, who will be responsible for the products？How can vain and hypocritical education cultivate qualities accumulated day by day？These feelings haunt me, and even make me self-abased for the reason that I, not of that qualities, am in the middle of the industry perfunctotily making inferior products. What I can do is to try my best to improve myself and influence my teammates, step by step. The first point we draw is in Milan.
It has been almost two months since I came back. Countless E-mails from design media and clients all over the world flood in, asking for interviews and reports of our works and purchase of our products. But I am not touched, still in meditation of how to introduce those qualities into our team. I know I should make hay while the sun shines. I do not want to be hay and cling to bubble reputation and interests. We need to be touched and respected.
Gratitude to the young kids of out team!
Future is in our hands.
Milan, see you next year.