Chinese Design Concepts

Madame Mao's Dowry Designs

Over the years we have contributed to the creative enterprise our concept store seeks to encourage by running our own projects to connect, in various small ways, China's history to contemporary design. Most have concerned promoting propaganda art as visual culture, but we have also indulged ourselves in other ways!

It's all about the craft ....

Enamelware and painting glass from the inside are two crafts waning in popularity, so we decided to do our bit to revolutionise these industries. So we made christmas baubles and cups and plates with adapted slogans to make them relevant to contemporary Shanghai

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It's all about the propaganda ....

Propaganda is supposed to be everywhere so why not use it to wrap gifts and send greetings? We used our own poster collection to produce wrapping paper, cards, Tea Towels, Aprons and T-shirts to put propaganda into the realm of contemporary fashion and gift-giving. Perhaps, not exactly what Mao intended!

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It's actually all about the bricks ....

Yes, bricks. Golden bricks to be exact. When the redevelopment of Suzhou got seriously underway in 2003 and they started digging up old officials' courtyard homes and gardens we went there and bought as many golden bricks as we could. Valued by literati, these hand produced bricks that each took 90 days to fire in specially designed kilns were used as flooring, or as painting tables to practice calligraphy. Originally designed for Ming Emperors these bricks spread to the homes of wealthy officials as a sign of refinement and wealth, many being destroyed during the Cultural Revolution. They each have chops impressed along the side telling their age and provenance. We think with their natural patina and their ambient warmth, they make great contemporary tables.

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