Connecting with Opportunities for Irish Designers in China

Monday May 28th 11am Chester Beatty Library

Chinese design and business strategist Cathy Huang today addressed
Irish designers and members of the wider business community in the
Chester Beatty Library on what is happening within the China design
scene at a seminar chaired by City Architect Ali Grehan, with guest
panelists, Andrew Montague, Lord Mayor of Dublin, Michelle Fagan RIAI,
PJ Rudden, outgoing President of the IEI and Dr Finbarr Bradley,
Smurfit Graduate Business School.  Huang’s talk focused on future
trends and opportunities in design and business in China for Irish
designers and business people.

Speaking about issues such as the influence of design-thinking in
delivering innovation and economic growth in China, the lessons that
can be learned from China’s experience, and how best to influence the
Chinese consumer, she said “Design is the development of ideas through
action, a bridge between creativity and Innovation. In China the
impact of design on innovation and business thinking is now recognised
across the mainstream of development. Irish designers in the way they
connect with their clients and come up with imaginative solutions to
business issues are perfectly poised to take advantage of the current
consumer shifts across education, the environment and the job market
in China. The Irish business and design communities understand the
importance of coming to grips with the cultural differences between
Ireland and China and how to communicate with the developing Chinese

Joe Costello TD, Minister of State at the Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade with responsibility for Trade and Development, whose
work includes developing markets abroad for Irish produced goods and
services, welcomed the PIVOT/RIAI networking event; noting that it is
a further indication of the rapidly developing links between Ireland
and China and highlighting the interest of our two different cultures
in working together and learning from each other. Recalling the
award-winning Irish Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai  Expo with its theme
“Better City, Better Life” which explored the changing faces of urban
living in Ireland through the ages, and especially the contemporary
changes driven by a focus on the efficient use of space and the need
for sustainable development, the Minister said that the story of
Ireland told through the medium of architecture, design and
innovation, is one which resonates strongly in China – a country
facing many of the same issues with regard to urban planning,
sustainability and green technology.

“There are now more than 135 Irish companies with operations in
China, an increase of 300% in just five years and  Irish and Chinese
businesses, supported by their respective governments, are actively
seeking our opportunities to develop the relationship even further” he
said. “Ireland is increasingly becoming associated – not only with
literature, agriculture, technology and pharmaceuticals – but also
with the very highest international standards of architecture and
design”.  Commenting that Irish architects have been steadily winning
international design competitions across the globe for a number of
years, in places like Peru, Hungary, Egypt and China, the Minister
said that as a result of their talent, drive and high-standards  “the
links that we are forming with China, through high-level visits, trade
missions, people-to-people exchanges, and city twinnings – such as
that between Beijing and Dublin – provide an important platform for
Ireland and China to work together and identify opportunities for
mutual benefit across a multitude of sectors.”

City Manager John Tierney said that design links between Dublin and
Beijing have been greatly strengthened as a result of UNESCO
designating Beijing as a City of Design within the Creative Cities
Network. Dublin as UNESCO City of Literature is part of that Creative
Cities Network.

“The Memorandum of Understanding between Dublin and Bejing commits
the two cities to developing cooperation in a range of areas including
design, as well as science and technology. PIVOT Dublin is showing how
design is playing a part in business and innovation in Dublin and
collaboration between design disciplines and industry is now
intrinsically linked to the innovative drivers of our city, and to its
larger social, cultural and economic development”

City Architect, Ali Grehan stressed that Irish designers have an
important role to play in Ireland’s economic future. “PIVOT’s plan is
for Ireland to be recognised internationally as a design leade, and
for Irish design to be recognised as desirable, marketable and
exploitable world-wide” she said.