Fair Game


Fair Game


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It’s been brewing for years.

Bolstered by an ever-stronger line-up of exhibitors, artists, and creatives, Asia’s design fairs, by no coincidence, get bigger and better with each edition. Spectators the world over are rightfully discovering that design dwells not only in Europe and North America, but in Asia, too – and that the benchmark is increasingly being set here. Here, three fairs in the region that are worth marking on your annual travel calendar.

Design China Shanghai

Heading into its seventh year, Design Shanghai has announced a brand-new venue: the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. Welcoming 70,000 professionals and visitors over five days, Design Shanghai will showcase more than 500 brands from 30 countries and regions alongside never-before-seen installations. Leading design studios including Carl Hansen & Son, Hay, Sika Design, Herman Miller, and Ligne Roset are slated to exhibit, along with Lalique, Veronise, Formica, Abet Laminati, and more. Also making an appearance, of course, are leading Chinese brands and designers, including (BANLAN), Wenlot, Kun Design, Nanchow, Frank Chou, among others, and 2019 Architectural Digest China’s Emerging Chinese Designer, Above Studio.

Next edition: 12 – 15 March, 2020

Manila FAME

The Philippines’ premier design trade fair, Manila FAME has been a steady force in the country’s creative scene through the years. The second longest-running trade event for furniture and accessories in the Asia-Pacific region has given rise to a number of trends, from ikat fabric and fossilized shells to the handwoven abaca bags replicated across the globe. A renewed boost in its programme led by recently appointed CITEM Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan, who comes from a long career in fashion journalism, has injected the fair with new blood – emerging young artists and designers who are as familiar with trading on Instagram as they are with selling their wares in person. These fresh new names have added a sheen of cool and attracted a growing local audience to a trade fair once only visited by buyers scouting for imports.

Next edition: October 2020 (dates to be announced)

Salone del Mobile Shanghai

No stranger to design lovers around the world, Salone del Mobile is perhaps the world’s best-known design fair. Its recently concluded fourth edition in Shanghai featured 125 exhibitors for the Chinese audience, with two exhibition streams: Design, presenting innovative and functional products, and xLux, showcasing classic yet contemporary pieces. Though the fair remains highly representative of Italian artistry, it’s spawned the annual SaloneSatellite Shanghai, which spotlights emerging Chinese designers under 33. Chosen by a jury, the top three Chinese designers then receive an invitation to participate in the next run of SaloneSatellite in Milan.

Next edition: November 2020 (dates to be announced)

Catherine Feliciano-Chon

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