Your Case My Case Workshop

Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands facilitated seven workshops across Beijing Design Week an Dutch Design Week under the title Your Case My Case to explore cross-cultural design possibilities between 6 Chinese and 7 Dutch designers among whom is YUUE designer Weng Xinyu.

The following content is extracted from the 2019_YCMC_publication

Thirteen suitcases with a maximum of 23 kilograms, packed by designers. Filled with objects that give insight in their way of working. Objects to be used in discussions on the role and practice of a designer. Objects to be used in the exchange of views between designers working in different cultures. Objects to be selected to carry those discussions and exchanges into this publication.

WENG XINYU: Most of my projects start with travelling, hence the bag. While becoming an international citizen, I got a new understanding of my hometown and see my original identity from a different perspective. I now see things that are overlooked by local people.

ATELIER NL: It is wonderful to travel and to be amazed by the strange things that are completely normal in other cultures. It becomes even better if you can take this open way of looking back home again. During my study I needed to travel before I could really appreciate my own country. When I came back I started to dig in my own backyard, noticing things I hadn’t noticed before.

ATELIER NL: We are field workers. When we start a new project, one of the first things we do is to go over to the project area. We take our boots, buckets and shovels and explore the soil, find what’s in there. And while we are there we meet new people, which opens up a complete different level, giving us different perspectives on the area.

ATELIER NL: We have to make mistakes, do crazy experiments, we cannot think things through, you need to have something, an object to start a conversation. I don’t think failures exist, they all have a beauty of their own, and they all teach you a lesson.

WENG XINYU: Mistakes are the mother of succes. You don’t reach succes at once, mistakes happen most of the time. We call them mistakes, while they are just one of the many steps with an unexpected outcome.

WENG XINYU: Very few people know how tofu is made, although it is a much used ingredient in the Chinese kitchen. I believe humanity in the future will be more and more detached from basic technologies, basic knowledge of surviving in the world. I don’t think that is a good thing.

ATELIER NL: What I like about it is that it’s about making your own food and going back to your roots. To be able to connect with people through design, the object has to attract them, by being functional, useful and good looking. And this box does that.

WENG XINYU: Design is about iterations and lots of repetitions. Through these repetitions, a designer is able to compare the outcomes and choose the best of them. This is a job only a designer can do. It is important that we do this research, to create a library for people to use.

WENG XINYU: Why do we really need mass production? How can we, designers prevent losing control over the effects of mass production? My first goal is to raise awareness, the second to turn the waste into other products, for example by looking into cooperation with the manufacturer of the original product.

ATELIER NL: One approach would be how to make money out of it. Making money requires an efficient way of working, often resulting in something that is close to the existing. I think the approach of raising awareness and starting to understand what the problem is, is much more interesting. It is about looking at an object in a completely different way and then seeing possibilities and opportunities.

ATELIER NL: A farmer cannot force the process of harvesting, it takes time. The crops need maintenance, effort, water. Design projects are the same, they take time. In our rushed world we tend to forget this, but it is so important.