Victoria and Albert Museum Announces Design Society Exhibitions in China

The V&A-advised nonprofit space will open in Shenzhen in October 2017.

The Design Society building in Shenzhou. Photo courtesy Design Society.
The Design Society building in Shenzhou. Photo courtesy Design Society.

London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) has announced its efforts as co-founder of Design Society, an upcoming cultural space and design museum in Shenzhen, China, set to open in October 2017.

Design Society, a nonprofit space for art with a fluid role and purpose, will comprise two galleries: the main gallery, opening with a show called “Minding the Digital,” which will focus on the how the internet and technology shapes the present and the future.

The second, V&A Gallery, will exhibit pieces from the London museum’s collection, beginning with “Values of Design,” which will present and evaluate the role of design in everyday life.

Design Society will also host two major touring V&A exhibitions over the course of a three-year period. Its building will house other exhibition galleries, including the Guanfu Museum dedicated to Chinese applied arts, a theater, and educational spaces.

Announced last week, the V&A collaboration follows in the footsteps of the Centre Pompidou’s unveiling of plans for its own China outpost, in Shanghai.

On the same principle as the Pompidou’s prospective collaboration with the West Bund Art Museum, the V&A receives a fee for its services and for a gallery in the Design Society building.

Design Society is a partnership between the V&A and the Chinese state-owned company China Merchants Shekou Holdings (CMSK). The V&A is “at the helm in an advisory capacity,” according to V&A Deputy Director Tim Reeve, quoted in the Financial Times.

“I am confident that, together with the V&A Gallery, the opening show in Design Society’s Main Gallery sends the message of a thriving creative culture in China in relation with global developments in design today,” said Ole Bouman, the Director of Design Society, in a statement.

Reeve added, “We very much hope that this new V&A Gallery, as a key component of Design Society, will offer a unique visitor experience and an important historical and international backdrop to understand the context in which the move from ‘Made in’ to ‘Created in’ China is taking place.”


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