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Design Society arts centre’s future partnership with V&A under ‘evaluation’

Design Society

Questions concerning the ongoing collaboration between the Shenzhen art centre and the Victoria and Albert Museum continue to rumble on.

The London museum’s contract with the Design Society expires in 2019, with no agreement signed on further involvement.

The two sides have yet to decide on whether the partnership should continue after 2019.

“Our collaboration has been very fruitful. We have decided that a few months after the opening, there will be an evaluation and an open-minded discussion about contract extension,” according to Ole Bouman, director of Design Society.

The Design Society, a 1.3 billion yuan (US$196 million) (£148m) cultural hub in Shekou, Shenzhen, was built by China Merchants Group (CMG).

Bouman said that the Design Society was part of CMG’s long-term commitment to show the value of design in China’s economic and social development.

Design Society
Sea World Culture and Arts Centre.

Design Studio opens up collaboration with others

The arts centre has revealed the launch programme ahead of its opening on 2 December, reported the South China Morning Post. One of the debut exhibitions focuses on the impact of digital technology and how design shapes people’s behaviour and values.

Adjacent to this exhibition, in an 850 square-metre art space, the V&A Gallery will showcase over 250 items from its collection, dating from AD900 up to the present day.

Designed by Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki, the cultural centre will will occupy a six-storey building called Sea World Culture and Arts Centre.

The galleries, a 320-seater theatre, restaurants and a roof garden will be spread out over 71,000 square metres.

Ole Bouman, Design Society’s director praised the V&A for providing training to the local Chinese team and preparing learning programmes.

The V&A team conducted research into the role of design and technology in China, adding home-grown products such as the WeChat app to the collection.

Going forward, over 50% of the space in the Design Society will be run by outside companies such as the Guanfu Museum group. There is also an education centre for the National Ballet of China.

Of the art space’s future plans, Bouman said: “We hope to reach out to Hong Kong audiences, designers and institutions. We are already in talks with [Hong Kong’s] M+ (museum of visual culture)about potential collaboration.”

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