New Emissary

Asia Now

Asian talent from 11 countries featured as part of a large-scale LA design show.

Asia Now
Credit: Dwell on Design

According to the brand director of Dwell on Design, a popular design event that took place in Los Angeles over the weekend, the show takes some major planning and collaboration—much more than I’d imagined. In a recent interview with the LA Times, Michael Sylvester revealed that each Dwell on Design event—which this year features 200 exhibitors, dozens of speakers and two days of home tours and moretakes over a year to plan and execute. That means the planning process for each show starts before the current year’s has even begun.

I can appreciate the amount of dedication all those involved must have to take on such an extensive planning process; however what I appreciated even more about this year’s event was that Dwell on Design had a featured exhibit dedicated to Asia.

Asia Now: Exploring Design Culture brought to light the work of contemporary artists from 11 Asian countries, planned and put together by the trendy Milan-based design e-zine, designboom.

All of the works by the featured designers, hailing from Indonesia to Thailand to Japan, have unique and worthy qualities, but one of my immediate favourites was a poster by Jingfu Wei of China, titled ‘Green is Protective Umbrella of human.’ It’s comprised of an all-white background with a very simple green image of a green umbrella, whose handle is standard, but the top of which is in the shape of tree branches. It reminded me that even without its actual ‘green,’ (a seasonal plumage of leaves), there’s something inherently protective and aesthetically pleasing to us about the natural curves of the big strong branches of a tree.Wei himself has described his work as: ‘design in order to shape the trees into an umbrella, to protect human, meaning green is the umbrella, calling attention to the green.’

Another of my favourites was ‘Flying Motif‘ by Iranian Architect Habibeh Madjdabadi, a beautiful asymmetrical chair, which according to her was inspired ‘from a special kind of craftsmanship in Iran called “Ghalamkari” which is a very delicate work on copper using Persian motifs.’

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Meanwhile, another chair in the exhibition is making it into major newspapers in India. As reported in the Hindustan Times on several occasions this weekend, also showing at the Asia Now exhibit was 23-year-old Indian artist Puneet Gupta’s ‘large steel coffee seat with an art installation of water pots at the back.’ The piece, titled ‘0.76 Celsius,’ is, according to theHindustan, ‘a comment on the scarcity and growing impurity of drinking water in India,’ and even suggested to be out on the American west coast to ‘showcase India’s concern on climate change.’