Survival by Design

Michael Young Studio has been appointed by Shenzhen Industrial Design Profession Association (SIDA) as curators of this year’s Shenzhen International Design Fair (SZIDF); one of the most important design trade events in Asia. Shortly after the briefing, news came of a rapidly spreading virus and the imminent lock down of some of China’s provinces with a possible global pandemic on the way; the fair’s theme was no longer speculative. The content and concept of the event has been shaped in response to recent events as a step towards global unity and togetherness.

Official Statement of the Theme and Visual Identity:

This is an era of disruptive change. From the drastic and dismantling impact of trade wars on global value chains, to the interruption and suspension of social and economic order caused by COVID-19. From natural disasters resulting from global warming, coupled with consumers’ awakening awareness of sustainable consumption, to threats from certain evolving infotech processes on employment and humanity.

Individuals, enterprises and society face one question now more than ever: “how do we survive the future?”. How can designers, an indispensable element of the whole value chain, respond to these new challenges?

Nurtured by the massive manufacturing base in the Pearl River Delta and Greater Bay Area, as well as the most exciting advancement in infotech and biotech in Shenzhen, how can industries here not only respond but also prepare for the future? Facing unprecedented survival challenges, can the design industry shift from Darwinism’s responsive, adaptive mindset to becoming a force for change?

The SZIDF 2020, art directed by  designer Michael Young with a multicultural perspective, takes a critical view on the value of design here (in Shenzhen) and now (for survival). Michael Young and his Hong Kong based studio MYS have created an inspiring visual identity for the event, featuring a complex yet pure inter-woven mesh embodying the Greater Bay Area. Behind the visual, the event calls for connectivity between all the value chain players to join forces, answer crises and change together to build new horizons.

We hope this fair will become a platform to invite multi-industry and cross-value chain players to come together for mutual aid, conversation, collaboration and innovation, to challenge the mindset and status quo of the design industry in Shenzhen, and to inspire a new generation of innovators, creators and pioneers.