Design Shanghai | SA Makers In China
Increasingly South Australian makers are showcasing their work at international markets. Now with former Guildhouse Director Rae O’Connell as San W Exhibitions Manager in Shanghai, there is further opportunity to profile South Australia to the world. O’Connell was key to including three SA artists in the recent Design Shanghai in March, helping to select the work and focussing on artists and designers working in metal.
This included Well Made Profile Jess Dare, who spent time at San W Gallery during her Guildhouse/Yiwei Art Foundation residency in 2015. O’Connell said, “There is a strong fascination with Jess Dare’s work as the technique and finish is so original. Made from brass and powder-coated, her work has lovely softness to it, through her thoughtful finishing and as each piece is unique and beautifully crafted.”
Since the residency, Dare says she has “…maintained a strong relationship with San W. Helping design the new studio space with Sue Lorraine, Deb Jones and Kirsten Coelho; stocking their retail/gallery space; participating in Nature, a contemporary jewellery exhibition featuring the work of 11 South Australian makers and most recently I was commissioned to create 30 Wilting Champee Pendants for Design Shanghai.”
For Dare, it’s exciting to be part of the burgeoning design sector in China, “In terms of Contemporary Jewellery, it is very new over in China, it’s only been around for the last 12 years or so, so to be a part of this scene in these early days is a privilege and will hopefully be very rewarding in the future.”
O’Connell also included Christian Hall and said, “…Hall is working with San W on a number of projects. One of them is the NEXT Shelving range and we now have one that was fabricated here in China. Design Shanghai was a great opportunity to test the market place for this style of shelving. It received a great response especially from the architectural and interior design sector.”
Hall attended Design Shanghai and said of his experience, “Thanks to the generous support of Yiwei Wu I was able to attend the event in March. The opportunity to experience first-hand the leading edge of international design practice and network with designers and design professionals was a great experience. Shanghai is such an exciting city and offered the opportunity to explore global design in what is arguably the capital of contemporary design in China. Seeing our work in this context and seeing it compete on equal ground was a real buzz.”
Frank Bauer's work was also selected as it is created with aluminium and light, and was featured as an original one-off artwork. For O’Connell, “This design fair was the first major event for San W and the response was overwhelming. People were captivated with the work in our exhibit. We have been following up with many different people and businesses interested in our work. We are currently using this market research to look at how San W will plan for the future for the mutual benefit of San W and the creative people we are working with.”
And for the artists, the outcomes for Christian Hall are, “Opening my work up to the domestic market of China…But it was not just about the potential financial gain. Yiwei Wu has a really discerning eye and what she achieved in curating the work of Australian, Korean and Chinese artists was to present a truly cross-cultural project, both in its trans-continental structure and its aesthetic contribution. It was interesting to see the big names and big international brands standing alongside independent producers. There was a lot of really beautifully resolved work there and great to see some small names unaffected by the influence of international design media and carving their own path and not just style surfing.”
Hall acknowledged fellow exhibitors Frank Bauer, Jess Dare, Seonmin Hu, Hyunsung Kim, Rowsaan, Hyunseok Sim, Kenny Son and Lou Xiao saying that, "The quality of their work is beyond measure."
For Jess Dare, “I have been very fortunate over the past few years to have participated in residencies in Thailand and China and have been exposed to other cultures and other ways of living and a wealth of inspiration which has fuelled my practice. So for me it's more than just another place to market my work, I have been inspired by the unique insight into Chinese culture that I was shown on my residency.”
Explore the best South Australia visual artists, crasftspeople and designers on Well Made here.
Images (banner image): San W Booth at Design Shanghai. Photographer Youmee Jeon. Images (top to bottom): Jess Dare, Offerings: Champee Pendants, 2015, Powder Coated Brass, 925 Silver, Silk Cord Variable. Photographer Grant Hancock; Christian Hall, NEXT Shelving, 2016, Steel powder coated white and Tasmanian Oak shelves, 1200mm x 1200mm x 300mm. Photographer Grant Hancock; Frank Bauer, Lichtbild #038, 2007, Anodised Aluminium, Steel, Xenon Lamps, 720mm x 980mm x 150mm. Image published in San W Design Shanghai catalogue; San W Booth at Design Shanghai. Photographer Youmee Jeon;.