One of the country’s most innovative female musicians and cultural stars is determined to see “Made in China” become “Created in China”
Best known as a singer and producer, whose music combines elements of traditional Chinese minority culture, Dadawa co-founded KANJIAN three years ago to promote traditional Chinese craftsmanship by making it relevant to modern life. The brand pairs prominent designers from China and around the world with Chinese craftsmen to create original designs. Ahead of her talk at Design Shanghai, Dadawa tells us about her work.
ICON What were you hoping to achieve when you co-founded KANJIAN?
DADAWA After 30 years of economic success through products being “made in China”, it is time to pursue “created in China”. Contemporary China needs a new identity, both in economics and culture – a new character for modern China.
Traditional Chinese materials, such as porcelain, are given a contemporary twist
ICON How has it worked out so far?
D KANJIAN has been making significant progress and we have completed the basic construction of our brand DNA. There are two product lines: KANJIAN Creations, which focuses on designing Chinese traditional crafts, and KANJIAN Life, which provides original, affordable designs for contemporary life.
KANJIAN aims to revive China's ancient culture of craftsmanship
ICON What feedback have you received from the designers and craftsmen involved?
D What they have found from KANJIAN is that craft has two hands: one is the past and the other is the future. They realise the key point of heritage is to keep the balance between the two hands and to link heritage to modern life. It must be practical.
ICON What are your ambitions for the growth of the project?
D I hope KANJIAN can work out a new industry model and become an original platform in China that links the entire industrial chain. Eventually, KANJIAN will have to be tested by the market and its sales performance to achieve the cycle between tradition and originality, and implant Chinese quality into contemporary life.
Above: Chinese singer/songwriter Dadawa co-founded KANJIAN in 2013
Produced in association with Shanghai Promotion Center for City of Design