Focus on design
The Dutch diplomatic network to China focuses on the disciplines related to design with an emphasis on the following areas: architecture, urban planning, design (product, graphic, fashion) and new media and digital culture.
Architecture and urban planning
The Netherlands is a country of designers; in fact the country itself is for the most part a man-made design. Topographical and social circumstances in the Netherlands, such as the presence of large areas of water, the focus on sustainability and the lack of living space, have led to innovative architectural solutions. Large Dutch architecture and engineering firms dominate the international market for architecture services. Part of this success is due to the high level of education and training in the Netherlands, including at the technical universities Delft and Eindhoven.
Read more on architecture.
Dutch architecture in China
Architects from the Netherlands have won many smaller and larger scale building design contracts in China, making Dutch design a staple in many Chinese skylines. Key examples include the Canton Tower by Information Based Architects. The Canton Tower is the icon of this fast growing metropolis in the south of China. Standing 600 meters tall, the Canton Tower is the third tallest tower and the fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world.
The world-wide appeal of Rem Koolhaas and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) also reaches into China. As stated, OMA designed the China Central Television (CCTV) headquarters in Beijing. The building is an alternative view on the traditional architecture of the skyscraper. It consists of a loop of six horizontal and vertical sections covering 473,000 m2 of floor space. Other OMA China projects include the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Dutch Design is gaining widespread popularity all over the world and has become synonymous with quirky, out-of-the-box application of new technologies, highly-distinctive forms and far-reaching involvement with the (experience of) end users.
The Netherlands is particularly strong in product design, where an individual designer’s vision is often the key focus, such as in the work of Marcel Wanders, or via collaborative initiatives such as Droog Design, and is also strong in the field of high-quality design services. Design management is also highly developed in the Netherlands.
Dutch Design in China
Quite a few Dutch designers have been active in China for some time. In communication design, Beijing-based Dutch graphic agency LAVA is very active, having worked on numerous high-profile local projects such as visual identity, website design and way-finding for the Beijing Design Week.
In Shanghai, Link Design and BSUR are strong in providing communication design solutions for projects around China. And award-winning Dutch graphic designers Thonik won the prestigious commission of designing the visual identity of Shanghai’s Power Station of Art.
Interior and product design are also sectors the Dutch are actively exploring in China. Shanghai-based and Dutch-Belgian led firm AIM have designed classy contemporary interiors for clients such as SOHO China, fashion brand zuczug and design store HAY.
Product designers operating in China include Marcel Wanders, Studio Drift and Studio Henny van Nistelrooy, the latter which created a unique Sino-Dutch crossover in the form of a re-interpretation of the classic Chinese Mazha stool. Other areas of Dutch design are also gaining ground in China. Bicycle designers Van Moof sell their bikes at several specialist stores around the country.
Gaming is booming around the world, also in the Netherlands. The Dutch gaming industry is one of the fastest growing sectors and is quite highly acclaimed internationally. The Netherlands also has one of the most active online gaming markets in Europe.
In the last five years, the number of people employed in the Dutch gaming industry has doubled. Dutch educational institutes have responded to these trends by developing courses and curricula to support the development in the gaming sector.
The term Digital Culture covers a broad array of activities including among more: interactive design, gaming, serious gaming, web design, viral movies, and animation. While the market for entertainment games is dominated by foreign companies, Dutch firms are performing well in markets such as serious and casual gaming.
Spil Games is the largest online game platform. The websites of Spil Games attract 130 million unique visitors per month. In the field of serious games, Ranj is one of the most innovative serious games company in Europe.
Read more on the Dutch online gaming industry.
Dutch Digital Culture in China
Dutch gaming companies are actively exploring the Chinese market and committed to bringing high quality and innovative games to China. Collaboration is also sought on an academic level, in November 2015 HKU organised a Game Jam in Guangzhou, in cooperation with the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts (GAFA). Zhuhai Seine Technology Co.,Ltd. assigned the students to create games that promoted social and economic inclusion of disabled employees on the work floor.