Xiamen International Design Week – Red Dot CEO Professor Dr. Peter Zec about the successful fair in China

From 29 October until 1 November 2016, Red Dot brings the world of design to the International Conference and Exhibition Center of the South-East-Chinese metropolis Xiamen: For the fifth time in a row, Red Dot is the major partner and trade fair organiser of the Xiamen International Design Week (XIDW). In an interview, Red Dot CEO Professor Dr. Peter Zec gives insights into the successful fair and his talks about his personal highlight.

Professor Dr. Zec, 2016 is an anniversary year for Red Dot in Xiamen, marking the fifth time that you are presenting Red Dot winners as part of the Xiamen International Design Week and organising the Red Dot Academy. How did this involvement in Xiamen come about?

At the beginning of 2011, representatives from the City of Xiamen and Xiamen trade fair approached us wishing to enter into a collaboration, and we were quickly very excited about the idea. In our view, Xiamen had particularly large potential for becoming a major crossroads for global design on account of its geographical location on the Taiwan Strait and its excellent infrastructure.

Another factor was that we have been seeing a sharp rise in the number of entries by Chinese designers and companies in the Red Dot Design Award over approximately the past ten years. Some of those entries are of high or even very high design quality. This showed us that the People’s Republic of China is not only one of the leading production and sales locations in the world but also slowly but surely developing an increasing awareness of good design that is allowing it to itself become a design player with a role to play on the international market in the long term.

What conclusions have you arrived at after five years?

In the beginning we didn’t expect the event to be such a resounding success. The fact that it is already in its fifth year proves that we have succeeded, together with our local partners, in creating something lasting. Every year we see during the Xiamen International Design Week just how much interest there is in design, not only among companies and designers but also among the general public and the media.

We are proud to be responsible for this success as the organiser of this event alongside our local partners. The trade fair is now well established and has a fixed place in Asia’s design calender. And I am delighted that we have made a significant contribution to this success with our exhibition of products that have won the Red Dot, the annual Red Dot Academy as well as the presentation of designers and manufacturers that have won the Red Dot.

I would like to take this opportunity to expressly thank once again our partners in Xiamen, without whom none of this would have been possible: China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Light Industrial Products and Art-Craft, Xiamen Municipal Government, Xiamen Municipal Bureau of Commerce, Xiamen Culture Media Group, Xiamen AMOYSEN Design Communication Co., Ltd., and last but not least all customers, supporters and visitors to the Xiamen International Design Week.

What is your personal highlight of these first five years in Xiamen?

One of the very special highlights was definitely the birth of the “China Good Design” Award. We initiated this competition last year in order to find good design in China from an international perspective, to raise the overall design level in China and to lend a higher profile to high-quality products. It is the first competition under our management that is geared to a specific region and yet international in nature. This new addition to the Red Dot family seems to be doing really well. There was already a substantial rise in the number of entries in the second year of the competition.

I am confident that the design quality of Chinese products will continue to improve under the influence of “China Good Design”, and it is also important to us that the special cultural forms of expression in China are given special recognition in this competition. We want to help give positive connotations to the labels “Made in China” and “Designed in China”. We expect that this will also lead to a growing awareness for good design among the population at large. After all, it is always people whose day-to-day lives and work, i.e. quality of life, is improved in the long term by well-designed products and work tools.

With the competition, the trade fair, the exhibition and the Academy, Xiamen now has a broad basis as a design location. We are looking forward to actively accompanying its further development in the coming years and would like to say thank you for the trust placed in us thus far.