The Transferral of Cultural Factors from Traditional Chinese Folk Art into Contemporary Product Designs

By Wenjin Yao and Ashley Hall.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper describes an exploration into the absorption of local cultural elements and how these can be synthesised into new concepts from abstract elements into product designs. A cultural transfer design workshop was held with students from the IDE department at the Royal College of Art in the UK and Art and the Design Academy of Tsinghua University in China, in collaboration with traditional Chinese craftsmen. This workshop is one part of the international collaborative IDE “GoGlobal” project in 2010. Through methods including: craftwork, market observation, case study, brainstorming and concept design, the workshop results demonstrate an understanding of the transferred object from its aesthetics and ethical context of local traditional art and essential factors producing a mature, culturally transferred response. As design research, the workshop is both a rethink and experiment to discover the value of Chinese elements in products through the interaction of individual designers and teams. Analysis of the transfer is conducted in respect of both global and Chinese markets.

Keywords: Cultural Transfer, Chinese Folk Art, Concept Design, Design Pedagogy, Consumer Products

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.313-326. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 8.242MB).

Wenjin Yao

Research, Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art, London, UK

Ashley Hall

Senior Tutor, Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art, London, UK

Born in Cardiff, Wales in 1967, Ashley is a designer and a Senior Tutor in the department of Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art. He studied furniture design at Nottingham Trent University and the RCA, receiving his MA in 1992. After graduating he worked as a furniture, product, lighting & interior designer for a variety of design consultancies and manufacturers. In 1994 Ashley established his own company which was followed by the formation of Diplomat with Matthew Kavanagh in 1999. Clients include some of the top furniture brands: ArrMet, Artifort. Covo, Edra, Origlia, Saporiti Italia, RSVP, Sauder, Sintesi, Supporto and Zeritalia. Current work includes product ranges for mass production and an experimental line of furniture using new materials and technologies. Ashley’s academic appointments have included his roles as module leader in innovation strategy and innovative materials at the University of East London, lectureships at the University of Salford, Ravensbourne and Grays School of Art in Scotland. He has also lectured internationally in China, Japan, Thailand, Norway and Ghana. He has run department consultancy projects, summer schools and student modules with Unilever, P&G, O2 mobile, Hutchison Whampoa, Ford and Sharp.

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