BUNDSHOP is “the first online platform in the world to export products of independent designers and brands of China”. Headed by Diana Tsai, the Shanghai-based team work day-in and day-out to bring high quality Chinese design to the international community. We spoke with the team to find out more.
At first glance, NewChi’s porcelain pieces seem to defy gravity. From the pirouetting Ballet collection to the levitating Imperial Memories teapot, every piece designed by Heinrich Wang seems to be designed from an alternate universe.
And this was exactly his intent: to transform the age-old craft of porcelain-making, and revolutionise a process iterated millions of times throughout history.
Waterhouse is a ceramic design studio based in Jingdezhen. The two founding designers, Keyi and Yomi, graduated from CAFA, Beijing in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Design China’s Lynn Zhang tracked them down to find out more about the mysterious duo.
Paper Tiger and Tranquil Tuesdays have partnered up to bring you the ultimate combo: “Tranquil Tuesday’s unique Chinese tea and teaware gift sets wrapped in Paper Tiger’s eye-catching, one-of-a-kind, Chinese-inspired gift wrapping paper.
Both [enterprises] are based full-time in China and seek to present a fresh vision of a Chinese design aesthetic. We each celebrate ancient Chinese designs, motifs, and traditions…informed by the vibrant modern cities we live in”. Find out more.
Design China recently visited Jingdezhen, the porcelain capital of China. Starting off at a morning market organised by The Pottery Workshop, we wound our way through the numerous stalls where students were selling their works - definitely a dangerous place for the wallet! Despite the gloomy weather, we then made our way to Sanbao Ceramic Art Institute, and even managed to speak to director Jackson Li, as well as artist in residence, Bryan Mulvihill, who were both nice enough to show us around their studios. Here’s a photo essay of (what we thought were) some of the more interesting finds.
“Visit our hutong neighbour and fellow social enterprise, brandnü, to seize their special promotion on select Tranquil Tuesdays products for the month of March. Save 40% on all varieties of our Organic Jade Sword Green Tea and our Crystalline Glaze Gaiwans”. Find the store.
“Right now on our Facebook Page, we are celebrating the launch of our online store with a crazy discount code to save even more off your entire order. The offer is only valid until 8 December, so go on over to the Tranquil Tuesdays Facebook Page to learn more”.
Founded by Charlene Wang, Tranquil Tuesdays is a Beijing-based, design-infused social enterprise that markets and sells Chinese tea to an international audience, and collaborates with designer artists to produce original teaware. The young business also demonstrates a commitment towards women’s empowerment via training and hiring underprivileged women; Charlene believes that, just as the flavours and aromas of tea slowly develop and reveal their inherent qualities as you let it steep, with the proper training, support, and encouragement any woman can live up to her full potential and work in a job that showcases her innate talents. I recently caught up with Charlene to find out more.
Tell us more about how Tranquil Tuesdays transpired. I’ve always been compelled by global poverty issues, especially those that affect women. I actually used to work for the US Foreign Service, which included serving time in Bangladesh as a human rights officer. It was here that I came to the conclusion that the NGO model may not necessarily work well enough to address the root cause of a problem; I believe that social enterprises are a better way to address specific issues. And this is what Tranquil Tuesdays is fundamentally about - empowering women and providing them with more skills to lead an improved life.
How and why does design play an important part of your brand? From a young age, I’ve always appreciated design; it was only natural that it would play a key role in my brand. I wanted to establish a modern, Chinese company, but one that was also steeped in tradition. When I was first starting out, therefore, I spent a lot of time studying ancient Chinese motifs and visiting apothecaries in Hong Kong for inspiration. This helped shape our visual identity from the logo to the photography and packaging. I feel that life is too short to have bad design in your life!
We also work with designer artists based in Jingdezhen (the ancient porcelain-crafting capital of China for the past 1000 years or so) on teaware that has been exclusively designed for Tranquil Tuesdays. We currently have 3 teaware collections available, each individually designed by Ke Zhongxiang, Zhang Min and Zhu Xuan. All three ceramicists studied at Jingdezhen Ceramics Academy and have now established studios in the area.
What does the future hold for Tranquil Tuesdays? I am planning to release 2 new teaware collections: one inspired by Song Dynasty designs, the other by a trip to Dunhuang. I also want to focus on our tea packaging a bit more.