On stage at Design Shanghai 2017 to speak about the Chinese market, Peicheng Ju, Chief Architect at the Shanghai Office of residential property development company Vanke, noted that Chinese design style tends to be associated with concepts like the popular Chinese phrase “Spring Flower, Autumn Moon”, which references alludes to the beautiful seasonal changes spring and autumn bring, or a particular “elegant design style.”
This kind of aesthetic, however, is simply a reflection of the origins of Chinese culture, one that is different from what is seen in the Western world. When it comes to everyday needs, there is actually no difference between China and the West. In fact, any design that shows respect for the origins and habits of the Chinese lifestyle can be considered contemporary Chinese design, Ju explains.
Vanke designers rarely debate whether a residential design should embody a Chinese or Western style. Style decisions are often influenced by the preferences of the client; a historical example is the Classical Gardens of Suzhou, where over the centuries designers took only their clients wishes into consideration. Today, designers in China need to solving problems and understanding the needs to contemporary society.
As one of the region’s largest property developers, Vanke is keen to explore ideas around standardization of the development process. Behind the designs for many of their projects in the Chinese market lies the desire to create “a caring neighborhood and establish a residence for a new lifestyle.”
Vanke has achieved its success through a holistic system of analysis and research, which considers factors like materials, target customers, and more. Instead of considering how the Chinese market might be different from Western markets, Vanke approach each of their projects from the perspective of a best fit for the location.
Ju also notes that, contrary to popular belief, Chinese design goes beyond simple “style and form.” Contemporary Chinese design should not be limited by traditional aesthetics or Western methodologies; Chinese designers should focus on creating things that address the needs of the market. Does the final product satisfy a person’s need for a convenient or comfortable life? This way of thinking dominates the organizational mentality of Vanke, and the company focuses not on fleeting style trends, but instead on how to design smarter.
The customers Chinese design service companies are typically working with can be divided into two categories: Chinese customers in Chinese regions or customers with a Chinese cultural background and a similar lifestyle. Ju re-emphasizes that a designer must take the needs of the customer into consideration. To create authentic contemporary Chinese design instead of instead of kitschy pastiches of traditional or indigenous symbols, designers must respect the Chinese lifestyle and create designs that correspond to it, he concludes.
About Peicheng Ju
Peicheng Ju has worked in numerous key roles in the property development sector in China. As Vice President of Zendai Real State Group, he participated in and was in charge of many successful projects, including Nine-Rooms House in the Shuiqing Muhua Apartment and The Himalayas Center at Thumb Plaza. In early 2012, he was appointed Vice General Manager of Shanghai Vanke Group, and today, Ju is Chief Architect of the Vanke Shanghai Regional Office and General Manager of the Vansn Production Brain Trust.