Tongji Design Week 2016 Has Come to an End

The 30th Anniversary Celebration of Tongji Industrial Design Education was held on October 30. It marked the end of Tongji Design Week 2016 with “New Challenges” as the theme of this year. The annual event took place in Shanghai and its neighboring areas and had a parallel session in Finland since October 12, 2016. The event included more than 20 conferences, exhibitions, workshops, and forums.

Through the international conferences and exhibitions, the event has attracted scholars, entrepreneurs and design practitioners from more than 20 countries including China, the USA, Britain, Canada, Germany, Finland, France, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, India, Korea, Portuguesa, and so on. It has also brought together more than 60 well-known figures from both academia and business world and about 10,000 participants took part in various activities of this event.





The Design X, Design responding to Complex Sociotechnical Systems in the Age of Change


The 5th "Emerging Practice" Design Research and Education Conference (EPC), organized by the College of Design and Innovation (D&I), Tongji University, is the most important international academic conference of Tongji Design Week. It lasted for 4 days. The "Emerging Practice" conference, debuted in 2012, focuses on the future of design research and education. The topics of a series of in-depth discussions during the conference include the subjects, value, and approach of Design; open design; development; and design activism. From the perspective of design research, design education, and design practice, the "Emerging Practice" conference aims to explore the new roles, new missions, new problems and new methods of design in the era of change.


The theme of the EPC this year is “Design in Complexity.” It is a response to the “DesignX: A Future Path for Design” in 2014 “Design X: Complex Sociotechnical Systems” in 2015 (


In this conference, 18 keynote speeches, 14 case presentations, 4 workshops, 2 parallel forums and 2 conversations were arranged, focusing on the most important topics in the global design area. Topics including design theory and history, product and experience design, digital manufacturing, healthcare, public space, government policy, big data, Internet, and sustainable innovation were discussed in the conference. The professional speakers and audience from well-known enterprises (such as Alibaba, IBM and Autodesk) and universities and institutions (such as China Academy of Engineering, Tsinghua University, Hunan University, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Jiangnan University, Nanjing University of the Arts, Zhejiang University, Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Guangdong University of Technology, Wuhan University of Technology, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Royal College of Art, College for Creative Studies, Illinois Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University and Aalto University) attended this conference.



Inter-Discipline Discussion with a Focus on Major Social Issues in Six Domains


Tongji D&I has put its disciplinary orientation as “Intelligent and Sustainable Design for Industrial Transformation and Future Life”. It focuses on 6 major issues and domains including healthcare, transportation and mobility, smart living, industrial transformation, innovation education and urban-rural interaction. The Tongji Design Week responded to the above considerations with the following activities.


Health Care



D&I co-hosted with DesignAffairs a roundtable forum “creating change - how mobile and digital are transforming the experience for China’s patients, payers and physicians” on October 26. It aimed to explore the challenges of optimizing the transition that the healthcare industry is facing in the era of mobilization and digitalization. The forum focused on how the mobile and digital terminal can create core value for healthcare industry and how to optimize the business model and enhance user experience under the increasingly complicated healthcare service scenarios.


Smart Living



D&I and design technology startup jointly organized a forum of “Design and Artificial Intelligence” to explore the horizon and depth through speeches and discussions with scientist, technologist, designer, and entrepreneur representing academia, research, industry, and business. This event aimed to revisit the debate that was sparked off by Walter Gropius and Marvin Minsky at Boston 50 years ago to reactivate all the potential connections.
This event also celebrated the opening of “Design and Artificial Intelligence Lab” which will cultivate a new generation of creative designers through master and doctorial education. It will further promote the transformation among production, education, research, and innovation with the cooperation of both experienced and startup tech corporates.


Transportation and Mobility



In partnership with D&I, Tongji University, SHIDA (Shanghai Industrial Design Association) and Zaojiu Talk, Icsid (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) host its 2nd World Design Talks in Shanghai, China, on October 22, 2016. Building on the theme of rapid urbanization and traffic congestion in mega cities which was explored in Istanbul, the World Design Talks in Shanghai specifically focused on the issue of mobility through three targeted sub themes including Social Innovation, Systemic Thinking and New Vehicles. Leading thinkers and experts from academia, corporation, and local government shared their insights and visions on future mobility of Shanghai. A design driven workshop was held in the afternoon during which guest speakers together with other participants proposed creative design concepts to solve the transport problems. It was an excellent conversation happened between design and transport. It was followed by another seminar, “Car-free City” which focused on how to use social innovation as an approach to solve urban mobility problems. This seminar was held in D&I on October 24.


Innovation Education



“Workshop on John Dewey’s Philosophy of Art and Design” and “Open Seminar of Richard Buchanan, Wicked Problems and the ‘cross of Pain’” are two influential academic activities during the Tongji Design Week. It inspired people of philosophical thinking and explored the innovation in design education.These activities are moderated by professor Richard BUCHANAN who is the professor of Design, Management and Innovation at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. He also has been appointed Chair Professor of Design Theory, Practice, and Entrepreneurship at Tongji D&I.Professor Richard BUCHANAN is one of the most influential design thinkers in the world. Many of his writings have changed how we think about design today. He has educated many designers, managers, educators and leaders across the disciplines. Prof. BUCHANAN’s article “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking,” for example, has provoked changing or re-thinking educational systems and design programs around the world. This seminar will highlight Richard BUCHANAN’s influence in design and management field. It also will focus on challenges that we face today based on personal experiences in design and management practice.


Meanwhile, during the period of Tongji Design Week, professor LOU, the dean of D&I introduced the undergoing project of “Tongji-Huangpu Design Innovation High School” which is the first design and innovation oriented high school in Shanghai. This high school, which will be opened in September 2017, is highly expected because it will bring into full play the advantages of Tongji University such as innovation education, top international faculty and etc. D&I will be involved in the curriculum planning and offer design related courses to the high school students. Moreover, the cooperation will facilitate critical research projects, the establishment of research center, cultural and creative park, and co-working space. In the end, the exploration of innovation for education aims to cultivate the cut-edge talents in the sustainable design and innovation area who will make contribution to the economic and industrial transformation and development at the regional and national level.


Industrial Transformation



In the era of "Mass Entrepreneurship and Innovation," the makers are becoming a large group. To cultivate the maker culture and to commercialize creative ideas will help build a healthy industrial ecosystem and hence promote the industrial transformation and upgrading. Fablab Lab at D&I organized a two-day "Shanghai Maker Carnival" to communicate the maker’s culture with the public from 15 to 16 of October. “Shanghai Maker Carnival" attracted over 100 exhibitors from all over the country. The exhibition covers electronics, environmental protection, biology, culture and ect. Through exhibitions, forums and workshops, the public is encouraged to experience the frontier technology and participate in fun games to have personal experience with the combination of craftsman and technology.



Human-centered design - Design Concerning Human Factors



On Oct. 22, the 2016 International Symposium on “Human Factors in Design” took place in Tongji D&I. It provided a cross-disciplinary platform to share research and practice in human factor engineering, management ergonomics and design. It was organized through the collaboration among the disciplines of design and innovation, art and media, management, architecture and urban planning, medicine, which also provided opportunity of cross -discipline communication in Tongji University.

With the combination of ergonomics and design, there was a growing community of researchers in the field of human factor engineering, management ergonomics and design. This symposium, with the theme of “Human Factor in Design”, aimed to facilitate communication and interaction for the emerging research community to share the view from academy and industry at home and abroad so as to promote the development of the discipline of human factor and ergonomics.



China-EU Cooperation Promoting Cross-Cultural Communication in Design Education


Tongji Design Week has cooperated with partners from Finland, Germany and Italy to further develop the China-EU cooperation and promote cross-cultural communication in design education with activities such as seminar, exhibition, and speeches from masters.


M-Scape, Sino-Germany the Moving Image Forum and Exhibition



2016 Tongji-Aalto Postgraduate Seminar on Sustainable Design
On October 7, Tongji University and Aalto University co-held a one-day seminar themed “Service logic for shaping future living environment” in Aalto Design Factory. LOU Yongqi, Dean of College of Design and Innovation from Tongji University gave a short welcoming speech. The vice president of Aalto University, Antti AHLAVA, as well as other three professors and researchers from Aalto University are invited as keynote speakers for this joint seminar. The aim of this seminar is to provide a forum for the postgraduate students (PhD, DA and MA) from two universities to present their work and exchange ideas. Six undergraduate students from Tongji, together with two PhD students from Aalto presented their case studies and research projects on methodological and theoretical investigation relating to the theme from various areas, such as aging, rural urban relationship, social community and commercial enterprise, etc.


Giorgetto GIUGIARO:The Future of Car Design



Giorgetto GIUGIARO, known as the “Design Master of the 20th Century”, gave a speech at D&I on October 17. He is the founder of Italdesign and a world renowned car designer. Many world-famous classical models, such as Alfa Romeo Canguro, Ferrari 250GT, Maserati 5000GT, Aston Martin DB4, Fiat 850 Spider, BMW 3200CS and so on are from Giorgetto GIUGIARO. Besides, his design talent is also demonstrated in designing sewing machines, cameras, motor boats, rail trains, aircraft interiors, tractors, ski equipment, golf clubs, telephones, and even dental chair. Upon his arrival at D&I, the conference hall was full of audience. His design products and experience exemplify what excellent design is.



A Look to the Past Inspires the Mission of the Future: Education for Global Leading Innovators 


The 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Industrial Design Education at Tongji University


The 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Industrial Design Education at Tongji University was held on October 30. Alumni since 1986 had the chance to reunion with teachers and classmates. Professor LOU, dean of D&I introduced the recent achievements in disciplinary development, talentcultivation, teaching faculty, foreign exchange and communication, and etc. He also emphasized D&I vision which is to become the global leader of “design driven innovation” and to take the responsibility in industrial transformation and upgrading. He expressed his hope that the alumni would work together to make the college better. Previous heads of the department and several alumni representatives also made speeches and had a roundtable conversation to share their personal stories and also to discuss the changes and development of design education though the years as well as the role of design education in the future.


Design History and Contemporary Research Forum



Design History and Contemporary Research Forum was held on October 21. History can be documented and comprehended in many ways and so is design history. The premise of studying design changes is to understand the interaction between design and social development. In the complex modern society, it is important to study design history in the contemporary context, which is the main topic of this forum. Four speakers around the world shared their latest research on theory and methodology of design history and explore the future development of Design.




Apart from the above activities, several exhibitions were held during Tongji Design Week including Inspired by Land- Land Art Installation Festival, Open-Source Hardware and Programming Course Project Exhibition, Narrative Environment and Placemaking Course Exhibition 2016- A Masquerade of Monuments, and The First Panasonic Cup ECO House Design Competition 2016 Excellent Works Campus Exhibition. These exhibitions showcased the achievements in education, research and social practice of this college.



When we discuss the development of design as a discipline, we should be aware of the current situation. Innovation driven growth and economic transformation and upgrading have become national strategy. In “Made in China 2025”, design and innovation is listed as the key for China’s economic transformation and upgrading. At the same time, Shanghai is under the way to achieve the goal of becoming Science & Technology Innovation Center with global impact. At the point of social and economic transformation, Design is faced with unprecedented opportunities and challenges. To contribute to national and regional economic growth, design study has to explore further into the design objects and process, the approach to solve systemic problems, and hence to bring positive impact on sociotechnical systems and drives innovation.



Tongji Design Week 2016 is organized by the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University and co-hosted by the Shanghai Week UNESCO City of Design, the Shanghai Industrial Design Association, and the China Industry Design and Research Institute (Shanghai). It’s sponsored by AUTODESK, Alibaba, Tezign, Tang, Tianlang Vision Technology, DesignAffairs, NOVAH, Medtronic, 021 Incubator, SVC VENTURE CLUB.




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