From December 8th to February 12th at the OCT Contemporary Art Terminal, the cities of Shenzhen and Hong Kong are hosting the 7th Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture and this year, Finland will be participating in the biennale for the first time. Participants in the biennale include the Museum of Finnish Architecture, Design Forum Finland and the Newly Drawn project, which represents young Finnish architects. The event takes a stand on modern phenomena in China, which is urbanising at an ever increasing pace. Running from December 2011 until February 2012, the biennale examines different aspects of urbanisation, including case studies of cities less than 60 years old, an exhibition on the development of urban public transport and current construction projects in Shenzhen. More information on the event after the break.
Helsinki is World Design Capital in 2012. The World Design Capital is an initiative by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) that celebrates the merits of design. Held biennially, it seeks to highlight the accomplishments of cities that are truly leveraging design as a tool to improve the social, cultural and economic life of cities. The vision of World Design Capital Helsinki 2012 extends the concept of design from goods to services and systems. That means finding solutions to people1s needs through innovative design and a user-driven perspective. Usability, sustainability and desirability are the themes of the year. With the help of different design solutions in architecture and services, Finland is reaching to well-being and a sustainable future. And what´s the connection with China? As a part of Finland ́s cultural program for Shanghai World EXPO in 2010 we organized, together with Chinese architecture offices and China-based think tank Moving Cities the Snowball Architecture seminars in Shanghai and Helsinki. That same year, we met more Chinese architects at Tianjin University where we organized a roundtable discussion in co-operation with the university and UED Magazine. In the autumn of 2010 we published a special issue together with Beijing-based Art & Design Magazine, featuring interesting new agendas in Finland and China, as well as collaborations between Chinese and Finnish architects, journalists, artists, photographers. In recent years, we’ve witnessed the rise of a new Chinese architecture. During our recent visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, we realized that there are similarities between the new generation of Chinese architects and Finnish architects. These emerging offices are developing their own ways of working, as well as their proper/official agendas and approaches, all the while actually creating and erecting new, real architecture. In Finland, the unique competition culture provides new talent with opportunities to land significant commissions, while in China the sheer volume and speed of transition, urbanization, investment and building creates a rich and diverse terrain for different players. The objective of Finland ́s program for the Shenzhen Hong Kong biennale is to offer insight into the latest achievements of Finnish architecture through exhibitions and events. The aim of bringing professionals from both cultures together is to establish and deepen Finnish and Chinese networks. Finland will carry on this dialogue in the coming years. New events will take place in China during 2012, mainly in Shanghai and Beijing in collaboration with for example media and universities The program is set up to establish potential business and creative matches between Chinese and Finnish architects, as well as to increase the exposure and business opportunities for Finnish architecture in China. Young architects belong to a global generation, internationally conscious, experienced and informed. While many ambitious architects have worked and studied abroad, and there is ample evidence of global trends and concepts applied in local contexts, it seems they seek to maintain a critical and enthusiastic relationship with both past and present traditions. At the same time they are focusing their efforts on enhancing and crafting their own approaches in practice. For more information on the event, please visit here.