Traditional Chinese handicraft serves as the foundation of contemporary design language, and materials, a component of traditional handicraft, are the basic nutrients for contemporary design.
In 2009, PINWU Design Studio launched the “From Yuhang” initiative to study handicrafts of Yuhang and create contemporary design featuring Chinese elements.
In 2013, PINWU officially kicked off the Rong Exhibition, which focuses on one material or craft every year. It nudges Chinese designers into paying attention to, studying and applying traditional materials and thus facilitates the blend of contemporary design and traditional culture.
In 2015, PINWU decided to make accessible to global designers for free the traditional materials it had worked on over the past six years, hence the birth of Rong Design Library, a library of materials used in traditional Chinese crafts.
With the support of C Foundation, the Rong Design Library completed its first round of handicraft surveys covering 31 provinces in China from 2016 to 2019, during which period it visited 600 workshops and collected 5,000-plus portions of materials. As a result, the library has initially established a classification system for handicraft materials and started to build a database for such materials used in Chinese traditional handicrafts.
Up till now, the Rong Design Library has completed research on bamboo, silk, mud, copper, paper, mortise and tenon joints and dyeing; it has engaged over 90-plus Chinese designers in material research, design and re-creation and took them to such cities as Milan, Paris, Lugano of Switzerland, Athens of Greece and Hong Kong of China for exhibitions and releases.
Having come this far, we will continue to do more research on materials of traditional crafts and hope to, on the basis of the first round of craft material survey, push for renewed research and application of traditional material crossovers for the sake of pursuing progress in contemporary design and breathing new life into traditional crafts.
Material Exhibition at Traditional Chinese Craft Materials Library, 2017
“Rong” Press Release of Mortise and Tenon Joints, 2018
Traditional Chinese Craft Materials Library
Inauguration of a public welfare project at Rong Design Library, 2016
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