Design Society opens in December 2017

October 2, 2017

Only two months to go!

The Sea World Culture and Arts Center designed by Fumihiko Maki and operated by Design Society will open to the public in Shekou, Shenzhen, on the 2nd of December with three exhibitions and a range of public events and activities. The finishing touches are now being made to the building and the surrounding landscaped garden, which are about to become a new key public venue and cultural destination in Shenzhen and the PRD region. We are proud to see the results of more than three years of collaborative work between the V&A and China Merchants Shekou to support the cultural arm of this new initiative.

Construction site of SWCAC, August, 2017 © Design Society

Inside, the building site is in full swing for the construction of the three inaugural exhibitions that will mark the opening of Design Society: Values of Design in the V&A Gallery, Minding the Digital in the Main Hall, and Nurturing Dreams in Recent Work: Fumihiko Maki +Maki and Associates in the Park View Gallery.

ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion, Achim Menges and Jan Knippers, 2013-2014 ©ICD/ITKE University of Stuttgart

Minding the Digital is a large-scale, speculative exhibition developed by the curatorial team of Design Society and designed by Dutch studio MVRDV that reflects on the unprecedented impact of digitalization through a series of works by over 50 international and local design practices. In the words of Senior Curator Carrie Chan, the show ‘will inspire people to rethink the trajectories of our digital future’ while providing an immersive experience through digital technologies. Read more about the exhibition’s concept and structure here

In the V&A Gallery the exhibition Values of Design, developed by the V&A curatorial team and designed by British practice Sam Jacob Studio, invites to reflect on the values we attribute to design and how these shape the way things are designed and made. By featuring over 250 objects from the V&A permanent collection subdivided into seven themes, it will frame a global debate about design values. The Lead Curator of the exhibition Brendan Cormier has been posting about the exhibition’s concept and framework here and the first post of a series called ‘Design Value Debates’ can be read here

Fairphone, Ban van Abel, 2013. Courtesy of Fairphone

The third exhibition Nurturing Dreams in Recent Work: Fumihiko Maki + Maki and Associates will give the opportunity to look at the Sea World Culture and Arts Center, the first building designed by Fumihiko Maki in China, against his work developed over fifty years of architectural practice with Maki and Associates.The show will feature a selection of past and current projects, giving particular emphasis to the underlying design concept of the Sea World Culture and Arts Centre, explained through Maki’s design philosophy and design principles, and presented by the architect himself.

Sketch of Sea World Culture and Art Center by Fumihiko Maki @Design Society

The complex will also include a theatre, a multi-purpose hall, a restaurant and a number of retail and creative practices, such as Extra Time, a multifunctional café featuring an independent new media and design gallery, and the Xiaoyan Art School offering courses of experimental arts. During the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of December a large variety of activities will take place in the complex, including guided tours of the exhibitions and the building, talks and panel discussions, workshops and performances brought by designers and artists, and a market. This will give a taster of the very diverse and exciting public programme that the Learning teams of Design Society and the V&A have developed for the coming months.


More information on Design Society can be found on:


Wechat: DesignSociety

Weibo: 设计互联DesignSociety

Instagram: Design.Society

6 comments so far, view or add yours


Dear Design Museum, I am Head of Art at Green Oasis School in Shenzhen. It is a bilingual school with an excellent reputation. I trained at London University, and enjoyed the British museums and galleries. I am really looking forward to making a school trip to the Design Museum in Shekou when it opens in December. Could you please forward details about the education service and exhibitions. It is traditionally difficult to scout out information about exhibitions amd events in Shenzhen Galleries, I really hope that the V&A Museum in Shekou publicises events.

V&A in Shekou, SHENZHEN??!!
Wow, this is great news for the schools in the area. Actually I am in Shenzhen now would l like to know if there is a local contacts at there that I can eMail / WeChat etc about the opening and learning activities, as I was telling some teachers here about how good the museum’s outreach school program was, back in the day when I was at school in London.
If there is an outreach or school education person, that I can contact directly please let me know.

The building design does not have anything inspired by “Sea World Culture” nor natural/environmental elements, despite the fact that it is located by the ocean. This superposition of cubes is so generic that it can be sited anywhere without taking into account the geographical context nor the functionality of the building, it is the so-called “one size fits all” approach to architecture, medication, education etc… that needs to be re-questioned and re-thought.

I am hoping to visit in 2018!


Please provide me the full address of Design Society Shenzhen. Thanks. Victor

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