100% Design Shanghai Show Trends 2011

In its forth year of operation, 100% Design Shanghai has established a bold reputation for itself amongst the top international design shows. Every year, more and more interior designers and architects come to discover the latest trends. Last year, 100% Design Shanghai inaugurated the opening of the Smart Home Pavilion. This year, the show was still focused on the home :  'Emotive Design' is what was noted to be the macro-trend amongst the new product designs. How do we create emotional interaction with objects that surround us? How do we make them more human? The designers were aiming to instill more meaning to our world.

• Whether by adding humour to the objects and thus offering "little friend(-ly objects) for your home".
• Whether, working on the past and reinventing existing history in a "fusion" of old and new features.
• Whether, concentrating on the essentials : the shape and the "almighty colour", the perfect harmony that makes us love objects at first sight.
• Whether, rethinking the design process, starting by a material and not an idea because the production process and the result are surprising : how do we transform  "trash (in)to a treasure".


This noted micro-trend highlights that emotional design is being executed through the creation of product personality. Rethinking the ordinary gives more meaning to what surrounds us. While often a fine line is walked between product personality and kitsch, 100% Design Shanghai exhibited a series of products which successfully aroused the audience's curiosity.

Designed by Taiwanese group, Urban Prefer, Coin4 appears to be an ordinary yet brightly coloured iPhone cover.  However, when met with a humble coin the case transforms into a propping stand, creating the optimum hands-free screen watching experience for iPhone users.  Another product which illustrates such original and successful quirk is Cupmen by Japanese designer Akira Mabuchi. The small, plastic figurines act as a noodlecup-lover’s best friend. They sit in two differing positions and hang over the edge of your noodle cup to effectively keep the lid closed whilst the noodles cook inside. The heat-sensitive material married with the comical positions create a timeless product with a humorous personality.

While the products can be misunderstood as lacking eco-conscious morals, in truth such humanised attributes of these products create a sense of emotional attachment for the user, in turn encouraging the longevity of a product.


In the 18's century, European high-society was fascinated by "chinoiserie" and copied these patterns on porcelain and fabric with no regards for the meaning of its symbols.  Nowadays, the balance is reversed : the new Chinese generation is fond of European lifestyle, particularly "Versailles", synonymous with wealth, and try to copy this handcrafted opulent style roughly in mass production.  For the first time at 100% Design visitors were able to see these two cultures combined successfully.  The fancy qualitative lifestyle values are visible in David Qian's delicate wall papers.  The presence of a Versace porcelain stand on the design trade show bears out this interest for golden objects.  It seems the Precious Trend of Summer 2013 will be well appreciated here as the Ville di Lusso gem-stones walls show.


Colour reveals a perfect shape.  It embodies all the joy of life to that of in a Jacques Tati or Jacques Demy movie.  Objects created by designers call everybody's attention to them.  Their geometrical shapes invite us to play, as Liu Yi's wonderful Slum Dwellers Box inspired by the urban slums, a combination of different size, shapes and colors that form "an organized disorder".  The sharp play on shapes and colors attract our eyes as they do for little children with their colorful games.  Modular design loses its formal usefulness and enters a world of infinite possibilities.  Their spiritual masters would probably be Ettore Sottsass and Johannes Itten. The colour and the stacking of geometrical shapes aren't needed but they truly add fun and lightness in our world.  We are back to the 60's, back to the ideation of a perfect color for a perfect shape.


"One man’s trash is another's treasure" - this idea has been prevalent over the past years but continues to boom at 100% Design Shanghai.  Whilst an old ideal, the movement has evolved whereby the rough and barren nature of industrial waste is being transformed into objects of elegance and status.  Shanghai-based design group, ‘Nine O'Clock have developed a beautiful range of interior furnishings which embody high values of recycling waste.  By taking the often neglected waste of steel shavings and setting it in elegant resin forms, they promote the ideal of material re-creation through highlighting the material features and beauty.  The play on light and transparency poetically revealing the 'treasured trash', making us aware of the clever means of material salvation.  While meeting ecological criteria in mass-market product design is often seen as a constraint, such a movement actually awakens and inspires new processes for designers.

CBi China Bridge

CBi China Bridge is an innovation and design strategy firm that is empowering brands, products and services to bridge success through design research.  "By providing our clients with research-based cultural and consumer insights, we help them better connect with the trends and behaviors that influence their target audiences. Our service is all about gaining insight and then using it to power innovation and design."

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