Symposium, Peking: „Can design change society?“

Goethe Institut China

Originality Square
798 Art District,
No. 2 Jiuxianqiao Road
Chaoyang District
Beijing, China

Languages: English, Chinese

In cooperation with the "Bauhaus Project", the Goethe-Institut China will discuss questions that contribute to classifying the historical significance of the Bauhaus: can design change society? How can we inscribe emancipative ideas into the ever-advancing modernisation? Has the claim of the Bauhaus and the classical avant-gardes to change society positively through design been fulfilled? How can we imagine today in a new way to shape change and the future? What are purposeful, yet open-ended forms of work? What role does co-production play? How can we shape our own existence? What role is played by the designer? Or would today rather the absence of design have a liberating moment?


10:00–12:30 Panel discussion I: Utopian Objects

Speakers: Walter Scheiffele (Kunsthochschule Weißensee), Hang Jian (Director, bauhaus Institute, China Academy of Art / Director, China Design Museum), Egon Chemaitis (Designer, Professor), Jamy Yang (Product designer, founder of YANG DESIGN & YDC).

Around 1919, the Bauhaus drew its energies from many political and artistic utopias of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, becoming itself a symbol of a utopia that is constantly reinventing itself and intervening in reality, without apparently losing its ideal surplus.Utopia and cultural totality accompany the Bauhaus students (best example Wilhelm Wagenfeld) on their way into industry. What of this has survived in the philosophy and design of today's designers? What is the potential of a utopia that should be an urgent corrective to a false consciousness of consumption?

Moderation: Thomas Eller (artist, curator), HE Wei (Ph.D, Associate Professor, School of Architecture, CAFA).

14:00–16:30 Panel discussion II: Architecture Transfer

Speakers: Lukas Stanek (University of Manchester), Charlie Q. L. Xue (Professor, City University of Hong Kong), Stephan Rewolle (gmp · International GmbH, Beijing representative office), Daan Roggeveen (Architect) amongst others

The claim of the Bauhaus and the classical avant-garde was to create a universal design based on basic principles being valid worldwide. The new location of the Goethe-Institut in the former industrial complex 798 is an example of an architecture transfer inspired by the Bauhaus. In this round, architects with experience abroad will discuss the question of internationality and the transfer of architecture into diverse cultural contexts. It raises the question of importing iconic architectures or returning to national architecture.

Moderation: Philipp Oswalt (projekt bauhaus), Zhou Rong (School of Architecture at Tsinghua University).

17:00–19:30 Panel discussion III: City – Countryside

Speaker: Zhang Ke (Architekt), Min Jay Kang (Associate Professor at the Graduate Institute of Building and Planning, National Taiwan University), Benjamin Förster Baldenius (raumlabor), Kai Vöckler (Professor für creativity in the urban context at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach), Philipp Oswalt (Professor space and design strategies at the Universität Kassel: Project in Reinhardswald, Space Pioneer: on Maintaining the Existence of Rural Space) amongst others

The rapid urbanization process in China, which has long dominated the architectural and urban discourse, has entered a crisis. More and more architects are looking for an alternative practice and are rediscovering rural areas and their traditional building methods as a source of inspiration. It seems that the search for a new urban-rural relationship offers (once again) the opportunity to develop great societal visions on the urban level. What should architects do? Can design change society?

Moderation: Anh-Linh Ngo (projekt bauhaus) and Plus Wong (Architecture and art critic, curator).

In Cooperation with the Goethe Institut-China.

In co-operation with:

Partners projekt bauhaus

Funded by:

A project by: