V&A reveals ambitious plans for Chinese museum designed by Fumihiko Maki

by Kim Megson | 04 Apr 2016

The UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has revealed new details of its biggest ever international collaboration: a design museum in Shenzhen, China, created by Japanese architecture studio Maki & Associates.

The new museum, called Design Society, is scheduled to open in early 2017 within a larger cultural complex called the Sea World Culture and Arts Centre.

The V&A has now announced it will curate a special gallery devoted to 20th and 21st century international design.

The museum project is being overseen by developer China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK), and marks the first of its kind between a UK museum and a Chinese partner.

The V&A will also consult on the museum’s design and operations, organise two touring exhibitions and launch community design and innovation workshops to promote the development of Shenzhen and challenge the notion that design in the city “is limited to reproductions with little originality.”

The V&A Gallery will explore “how values drive design, and how design is valued”, with objects drawn from the V&A’s major collections including fashion, photography, furniture, product and graphic design, theatre and performance. Exhibits will include a chandelier that unites nature and lighting technology and a meticulously embellished Christian Dior dress.

Objects from earlier historical periods and different geographical areas will also be added to position design values within a wider historical and cultural framework.

“The V&A has a long history of working with China, and this project is enabling us to connect with the fast moving design, manufacturing and creative scene here in Shenzhen, as well as sharing our collections, knowledge and expertise in one of the most energetic and progressive cities in the world,” said Tim Reeve, deputy director of the V&A.

"We support the objectives of Design Society to use the power of design to address major issues of our time and elevate the role of design in society.”

The Design Society will also feature restaurants and retail spaces, a theatre, a multi-purpose hall, a branch of art institution the Guanfu Museum, and learning facilities.

The building is the first architectural project in China for Maki & Associates, and will be formed of three cantilevered volumes atop a deconstructed plinth, “opening up horizons to the mountain, the sea and the city and enabling cultural conversation and dialogue”.

Ole Bouman, founding director of Design Society, said: “We believe 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. At a time of accelerating change, the future belongs to those who can deploy these qualities in an applied human endeavour in design."

Shenzhen is currently home to several cultural developments, including the new Shenzhen Art Museum and Library complex designed by German studio KSP Jurgen Engel Architekten.

Meanwhile, the first renderings were recently released for a new branch of the V&A in London, at the Olympicopolis cultural development planned for the city’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The institute is also opening a branch in Dundee, Scotland, in a building designed by Kengo Kuma.

V&A  Fumihiko Maki  Design Society  architecture  design  Sea World Culture and Arts Centre  Shenzhen 
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The UK’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has revealed new details of its biggest ever international collaboration: a design museum in Shenzhen, China, created by Japanese architecture studio Maki & Associates. The new museum, called Design Society, is scheduled to open in early 2017 within a larger cultural complex called the Sea World Culture and Arts Centre. The V&A has now announced it will curate a special gallery devoted to
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The V&A Gallery will explore “how values drive design, and how design is valued,” with objects drawn from the V&A’s major collections / V&A
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