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Design week to showcase creative minds in Shanghai
By Victoria Fei

"MADE in Shanghai" is a label increasingly drawing attention, but "Designed in Shanghai" is even more intriguing.

Shanghai Design Week 2012 beginning on Thursday offers something for everyone, from design gurus to aspiring designers to consumers. It's a showcase for established names as well as new designers, and venues are spread out across the city.

More than 200 creative hubs and other venues are identified on Design Map; around 200,000 copies will be available at design stores, creative hubs, restaurants, museums and other venue.

The events run through November 7.

"Shanghai is making every effort to promote creative industries in hopes of becoming a creative hub," says Zhang Zhijing, deputy director of the Shanghai Cultural and Creative Industries Leading Group. Organizers want Shanghai to be known as a City of Design.

"The week targets both those who are in design circles and people at the grassroots, that's the goal. We hope everyone can find, experience and enjoy design in Shanghai," he adds.

Around 200,000 Design Maps will be handed out free of charge during the event. They feature 100 entertainment venues known for their style and design. They include stores with original designs, creative hubs, restaurants, hotels and museums.

Maps are available at Xintiandi, M50 the art hub, the Shanghai Design Center and Design Republic of Jiangning Road.

"It will be interesting to follow the map and experience these places," says Lu Xiaowin, a Shanghai native who observes that information on creative venues is fragmented. She welcomes the idea of collecting them in one map.

To provide design professionals and enterprises more informative service, another creative industry map will also be released during the week, identifying 176 creative zones, brand enterprises and design firms.

An electronic version of the map is available as an app for smartphones.

To attract young people, 00base.com, an online community that organizes offline creative events such as hiking and cycling, creates four design walking routes for the week.

Volunteers will explain venues known for their design and tell stories behind famous architecture.

The theme of the event is "Design Lightens Life." An award will be presented to honor the "Brand of the Year," "Person of the Year" and "Venue of the Year."

The candidates for "Person of the Year" include Wu Zhiqiang, general planner for the World Expo 2010 Shanghai, and Han Binhua, designer of the Shanghai public transportation card.

The candidates for "Venue of the Year" include the Fairmont Peace Hotel, Shanghai Museum of Glass and Sinan Mansions.

The awards will be presented on Thursday at the opening ceremony.

The week will feature forums on the city's design industry, featuring designers, scholars and experts.

In 2010, Shanghai was designated "City of Design" as a member of UNESCO's Creative Cities Network, a program launched in 2004 that aims to unlock the creative, social and economic potential of cultural industries and to promote cultural diversity.

The total output of creative industry reached 642.9 billion yuan (US$102.8 billion) in the city last year, increasing by 13 percent over 2010. It accounted for 10.02 percent of total GDP in Shanghai.

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