MINI LIVING Shanghai
20 Years in Shanghai with industrial designer Jamy Yang.
Ahead of the official launch of MINI LIVING, industrial designer Jamy Yang considers Shanghai’s ever-evolving design scene.
Meet industrial designer Jamy Yang, founder and director of Shanghai-based design consultancy Yang Design and lifestyle brand Yang House. Yang has forged a career by elevating the everyday and re-thinking of life’s essentials; tea sets and airplane cabins, suitcases and glasses.
Back in 2013, Yang opened China’s first private industrial design museum. Under the award-winning industrial designer’s direction, the ex-industrial building – a former cotton mill power station – became The Yang Design Museum. Today, the Shanghai-based museum displays hundreds of classic design objects from the industrial revolution through to the present.
Commissioned for the launch of MINI LIVING Shanghai, Jamy Yang’s latest site-specificinstallation Wind Garden is more decorative than functional. Constructed from a blanket of white geometric units, Wind Garden evokes the sublime power of nature. We sat down with the industrial designer ahead of the official launch of the co-living hub to unravel the city’s industrial past.
MNI LIVING: As a long-term resident, how has Shanghai influenced your work?
Jamy Yang: Before I came back to China from Munich, I asked my German tutor which Chinese city I should go back to. His answer: Shanghai. In the years since, the international, multicultural culture of Shanghai has exerted a great influence on my work: the exhibitions, buildings, people I meet, communication and thinking…
In a past life, the MINI LIVING Shanghai co-living hub was a paint factory. How do you think Shanghai’s industrial past has influenced the creative scene in the city today?
During the past few decades, many industrial plants in Shanghai have been transformed into creative parks. Old factories have become meeting spaces for creative people. Creativity and design have injected new life into the city.
How has the design industry blossomed over the past 20 years in China?
Over the past 20 years, China's industrial design scene has gone from a superficial understanding of design to a deep study of Western design systems, and then to a rethinking of cultural identity. Today, because of the great impact of design on the changes in China, the government, enterprises, universities and designers are more enthusiastic about design than ever before.
What cultural changes have you seen in Jing ‘An — the home of the new MINI LIVING co-living hub — in the last two decades?
It has become younger, more creative and energetic. Jing’An District has always lead diverse aesthetics and lifestyles in Shanghai. The coolest brands come here first, influencing first the city, then China as a whole.
As you pointed out, global influences can be seen in daily life in the city. Are these influences also visible in the design scene in Shanghai?
Compared with other cities in China, design, creativity and culture in Shanghai, is greatly influenced by the west. In my opinion, it seems to happen naturally. It is hard to tell whether the influence comes more from the West or East: maybe the combination of the two generates a different culture to anywhere else.
How do you think that co-living might reshape how people live in Shanghai?
Shanghai is known for its multicultural spirit and the city has always had a positive, inclusive attitude towards the latest and coolest lifestyles and trends in the world. Co-living as a new way of life comes from the internet era, which will have a greater impact on young generations.
This is MINI LIVING. Stay open.