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Creative industrial design tops Harbin's agenda

Updated : 2022-05-12

By ( Xinhua )

A boy rides a bicycle on Westred Square in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, on April 11. [Photo/China Daily]
Old-school red brick workshops, sculptures made from rusty manufacturing components and steam emanating from chimneys are reminders of the days when Westred Square in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, was an industrial center.
"Today, Westred Square is a masterpiece of creative design that integrates industry and art," said Wang Limei, manager of the Hongbo Business Group. In 2010, the company revamped a derelict, Bauhaus-style hydrogen factory, turning it into an innovative business space.
Harbin Fashion Week has been held nine times in the square, and art exhibitions are frequently put on in its workshops-turned-galleries. It is packed with trendy brands, splashes of folk culture, and cafes and offices.
"We have been exploring ways to combine intangible cultural heritage and creative design in a bid to turn Harbin into a glamorous city," said Wu Minghui, chief engineer with the Zhongjia Urban Construction and Design.
As a prominent former industrial region, Heilongjiang recently launched a special plan focused on creative design with the aim of becoming a major design hub for Northeast Asia by 2030.
"The plan was greatly encouraging," said Sun Jianbin, chief design officer of Heilongjiang Caige Industrial Design. "The charm of industrial design lies in turning cutting-edge technology into concrete productivity."
The plan points out that creative design underpins a variety of sectors, including organic foods, winter sports, biomedicine and animation, said Tan Yuhong, deputy head of the provincial publicity department.
Known as China's "grain barn", Heilongjiang remains a major area of rice production, and creative companies have helped inject inspiration and vitality into the province's agricultural goods.
"A good-looking product piques curiosity, ultimately encouraging people to buy," said Zhou Yang, founder of Heilongjiang Guangwei Creative Design. "Behind each design lies countless brainstorming sessions."
Zhou added that through artful packaging, Heilongjiang's natural and high-quality agricultural goods have become more than produce.
The province currently has around 1,000 designers and teachers, and 40,000 students majoring in the subject.
Gong Liming, director of the advertising department at Northeast Forestry University said that he hopes resources will be shared among colleges and universities to spur innovation and promote the development of Heilongjiang's creative design industry.
Tan said that under the recently unveiled plan, more than 200 million yuan ($31 million) in special funding will be allocated to the sector, with small and medium enterprises receiving allowances in advance.
The sector is expected to surpass 20 billion yuan by 2030.