Bruce Mau Design brands new Shekou Design Museum

China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK), in association with founding partner the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), has announced the brand—DESIGN SOCIETY [设计互联]— a new cultural hub that will be located in the Shekou Sea World Culture and Arts Center. DESIGN SOCIETY will comprise a design museum, within which the V&A Gallery will be located, a theatre, a multi-purpose hall, Shenzhen Guanfu Museum, and a learning and public event programme.

DESIGN SOCIETY adheres to the pioneering spirit of Shekou and Shenzhen in creating an innovative and sustainable model. It is an open and collaborative platform, creating synergies, connecting China and the world, and empowering the inter-connectivity between design and society, design and everyday life, and design and industries. It will show groundbreaking designs from the past, present and future, and will expand them to new creative areas. Through design, we will encourage dialogues and collaborations to reveal how design can be a catalytic social force.

Xu Yongjun, the general manager of China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK), said: "CMSK is a flagship company engaged in comprehensive urban development under century-old China Merchants Group (CMG). CMSK has been contributing to the emergence of an innovative city and the urban upgrading and development. It is the founder of DESIGN SOCIETY. Located in Sea World Culture and Arts Center, CMSK will create an open platform for creative design, connects important partners from China and overseas, advocates for innovation in culture with contemporary value, strengthens communication and ambitions across multiple industries and disciplines. It will push forward the future development of design and industry."

Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of V&A, said: “This is a pioneering international collaboration for the V&A and represents an exciting new way for us to build on our long history of working in and with China. We are currently developing extensive research and dialogue with Shenzhen’s design, manufacturing and creative communities to inform the approach for our new gallery, within the new design museum. At this important and transitional time of new design and creative thinking, we look forward to establishing DESIGN SOCIETY with our partner CMSK in one of the most dynamic design cities in the world.”

The V&A, established in 1852, is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. The V&A has a long history of working with China and holds one of the most important and comprehensive collections of Chinese art and design. The V&A is the founding partner of DESIGN SOCIETY, providing training and professional advice, and developing a dedicated V&A gallery devoted to 20th and 21st century international design. The V&A will also present two major touring exhibitions in 2017 and 2018. Luisa E. Mengoni, a senior curator from the V&A, has been working in Shenzhen on a three-year secondment since

October 2014 as Head of the V&A Gallery, acting as the main liaison between the team in China and the V&A team in London.

Ole Bouman, founding director of Design Society said: “DESIGN SOCIETY believes in design as a method of inquiry to apply the essential human qualities of agility, curiosity and creativity to meet the urgent questions of our times. DESIGN SOCIETY is literally our mandate. Both a noun and a verb, this new name clearly expresses the potential of how design can positively impact the social, cultural and environmental challenges of our age. At a time of accelerating change, the future belongs to those who are agile, curious and creative, and who can deploy these qualities in an applied human endeavor, in design."

DESIGN SOCIETY advocates an innovative philosophy to continue the pioneering spirit of Shekou. Through multi-layered exhibitions and public activities, we will connect audiences of different ages and backgrounds with design by discovering, supporting and promoting designers and design culture. DESIGN SOCIETY will be a prominent cultural tourism destinationin Shekou and Shenzhen.

We have been asking ourselves what a cultural institution can do and how it can open up to the needs and ideas for the future. We strongly believe in sharing, participation and co-creation. We aim to become a society that enjoys discovering, experimenting and playing, contributing to the future of Chinese creativity and beyond. DESIGN SOCIETY is a place to connect. To be part of this vibrant new community, we invite you to become a member of DESIGN SOCIETY.

DESIGN SOCIETY is located in Sea World Culture and Arts Center, within Sea World’s coastal city complex in Shekou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, near Nu Wa Coastal Park. Sea World Culture and Arts Center has a footprint of 26,000 square meters with 71,000 square meters of floor space. It will feature four floors above the ground and two floors underground with a design museum where the V&A Gallery will be located, Shenzhen Guanfu Museum, a theatre, a multi-purpose hall, public event programming, alongside BAOKU Art Center and BAOKU Treasury, restaurants and cafes, and retail. Renowned architectural studio Maki and Associates, led by Fumihiko Maki, has been commissioned to design the building, its first in China. Maki's design features three cantilevered volumes atop a deconstructed plinth, opening up horizons to the mountain, the sea and the city, where interconnected space enable cultural conversation and dialogue. Currently under construction, Sea World Culture and Arts Center opens in 2017.

Together with the name and mission, the new logo and visual identity designed by award winning agency Bruce Mau Design has been released. Hunter Tura, President & CEO of Bruce Mau Design, said “The logomark inspired by the Hanzi grid [米字格, template for handwriting practice] is a new framework built upon tradition, but demonstrates a new way forward. It creates a space for action that invites people to create and make the future.”

Read more on Shenzhen's design revolution at domus.com.