Recently, China invited the world leaders of design to Hangzhou for a two-day World Conference, organized on the initiative of CIDA (China Industrial Design Association). The purpose was to announce the next agenda of ‘Innovation’ after manufacturing, and showcase China’s strength as a nodal point for the development of Industrial Design in the world.
While design leaders from 26 countries (including our own Prof. Pradyumna Vyas, Shrikant Nivasarkar and yours truly) debated issues related to Design Industry, Practice, IPR and education, I could not but marvel at the country that the Chinese have built for themselves.
In India we have always believed China is like our country, perhaps because of the population matches, but more because a very misinformed media has given us that impression. I saw China as a far more developed country than I believed it would be. I was impressed by the planning and quality of infrastructure and was very moved to see the sincere and hardworking people.
I have always believed things didn’t work in India because of the size of the population; everything is in stress. Now I believe it is bad planning and corruption in execution. China has built train stations that give an average person a better experience of traveling than afforded by our airports. It was heartening to see electrical buses and scooters as the norm. Average supermarket packaging has a very defined cultural esthetic. You also see a lot of art and craft. I know there is more than what meets the eye, but believe me, what you see is enough for you to get inspired.
To all my Indian designer friends I would advise a visit to China – we’d all benefit by taking some clues from them!
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief