Professor Josh Owen arrived in Beijing on Sept. 23rd, 2012, accompanied by RIT Industrial Design Graduate student Boran Song. Boran organized the week’s events, including design lectures, workshop and other related design events. During his week in Beijing, Josh gave lectures to Chinese design educators, professional designers and design students. He spoke about RIT and it’s Industrial Design Program as well as his own design works, professional and academic experiences and his design methodology. His lecture “Lenses for Design” introduced his design logic and many of his commercially, critically and culturally relevant product designs, including the SOS stool, The Monroe 8125 and others. He showed the audiences specific design process he has employed in teaching and in practice.
Josh’s lectures inspired the audiences and he received strong responses. During the question and answer periods, Josh communicated with the audiences about Chinese design industry and design education, including Chinese manufacturing, copywriting and current Chinese design education.
60 students from Industrial Design took part in the one-week workshop, including 30 juniors and 30 seniors. Josh titled the workshop “Reinventing an Archetype”. In this one week, every student was asked to research a functional, domestic object from traditional Chinese culture and reinvent it as a modern item that met contemporary constraints. Josh used his Menorah, Stoop Bench and Twopart Chair as examples to teach students how to contrast the design elements, from traditional culture or products to apply to modern product design.
In addition to his teaching, Josh visited some famous Beijing attractions, including art zones, design organizations and cultural landmarks. He visited 798 Art Zone, Beijing DRC industrial design promotion center as well as the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace. He also was invited to join the opening ceremony of the 2012 Beijing International Design week and to make and eat dumplings with professors and students.
Overall, during his trip to Beijing, Josh realized the Chinese design industry and creative industry are booming along side Chinese design education. He hopes that he can visit China again soon and hopes to continue to find opportunities to cooperate between RIT and Chinese designers.
Written by Boran Song