For the last couple of years I have closely followed the product and design development between China and US/EC.
In growing numbers retailers and producers turn to China as the country of choice for manufacturing and purchasing of products.
So far its all good and fine.
The worrying part is that design studios located in China is rapidly becoming a resource that provides a by-the-machine-design based on the limited manufacturing capabilities the country has to offer. This design is executed by local ID designers (which in the Chinese industry means Imitation Designer not Industrial Designer) and are now setting the standards for what is possible (or rather say impossible) to manufacture.
Add to that the influence of Asian sourcing conglomerates that practically over-night can make and ship products to a fraction of the price compared to a western world process…this means that many companies utilize the services from Chinese resources as they cut the time to market and retailers can sell a design that is “almost real” and echoes something that we all have seen before…

So how can design development in its pure sense of being a convergence of visionary thinking fueled by the quest to expand the borders of manufacturing survive in this soon-to-be-everywhere scenario…?

I am interested to hear thoughts on how designers will remain in the industry without being physically present in Asia, where Shanghai now is designated to be the “new world of design”…and what the consequences of the growing “conventionalism” will be
going forward…

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