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Beijing Design Week's gift: making ideas a reality

Updated: 2013-10-09 10:32
By Sun Yuanqing ( China Daily)

Beijing Design Week's gift: making ideas a reality

Zhang Chen's furniture brand Guiju presents custom-made products. Provided to China Daily

Zhang Chen received five orders for the black walnut desk she created as her graduation work, an exciting moment for the young designer. However, when the five desks came out of the factory none of them looked the same as the prototype she created.

"I had to carry them to my own workshop to modify everything," says Zhang, the 24-year-old founder of furniture brand Guiju.

Like many young designers, Zhang finds it difficult to persuade veteran manufacturers to work with her. Most of her work is expensive, custom made products.

Beijing Design Week's gift: making ideas a reality
Design a better life

"I want to sell more at a lower price. But there is no other choice. The large manufacturers won't take orders from new designers. And because of the small quantity and the extra time and energy invested, we are not able to cut the costs," Zhang says.

Thankfully, Zhang recently found a partner who is willing to help her sort out the manufacturing and marketing so she can focus on the creative side. She was chosen as one of the designers to work with BJDW Design Gift, a project launched by Beijing Design Week and Red Star Design Fund.

Now in its second year, Beijing Design Week 2013 is trying to make design a more tangible asset for the city, shifting its focus from conceptual exhibitions to design consumption. The BJDW Design Gift is one of the projects that help gifted local designers such as Zhang to realize their ideas.

"The aim is to promote Chinese indigenous design in both local and global markets," says Zhang Xin, design director of Beijing Design Week and creative director of BJDW Design Gift.

"Every time I visit a young designer, they have a huge stack of drafts. But very few of them eventually get produced. The gap between the manufacturer and designer is huge."

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