Sep 03, 2019 | By Jane Boddy
Mar 27, 2018
By Allyson Rees
Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak at Design Shanghai, Asia’s premier design fair. Now in its fifth year, the fair features over 400 international brands from 30 countries, along with emerging local talent and several days of talks and seminars with a who’s who of the international design community.
When I wasn’t meeting with WGSN’s amazing Shanghai-based clients and marveling at the impressive neoclassical Sino-Soviet Friendship building the event was housed in, I was keen to check out some of the homegrown brands. Not only did the event highlight some amazing local design firms and furniture makers, but it featured a handful of lifestyle brands specialising in gifts, objects and tabletop items.
Read on for my top gifting picks, all of which revolve around the idea of mindfulness, an enduring trend that remains of particular interest to the Lifestyle & Interiors team.
We’ve highlighted Zens as a Brand to Watch, as well as in coverage from Maison & Objet, but this was my first time seeing Zens products in person. With this teacup, you can have a calming cup of tea and squeeze the silicone stress ball to ease your mind and meditate. At WSGN, we have been tracking stress-relieving “squishies” for the better part of a year, but most products are designed like cute animals with faces, not sleek and sophisticated. I’m calling this out as the adult version of the fidget spinner.
The Hygge & Lagom trends are alive and well, and this multi-functional cutting and serve board is a perfect manifestation of the trend. Designed by Austrialian artist Jon Goulder for San W Gallery, the board is a simple server for cheese or hors d’oeuvres, but the small dishes can be popped out of their slot to pass around the table, creating a shared, tactile experience for dinner party guests.
At first glance, Züny’s products are small leather toys for children, but a closer look reveals the brand specializes in sophisticated, synthetic leather goods. As more consumers aim to live vegan lifestyles, I found this positioning particularly interesting, especially as it’s a key pillar of the brand’s story. The relief paperweights felt very high quality, on par with a luxury leather gift you’d find in Hermés or The Row, with smooth edges and a satisfying weight. At a time when people use paper much less than they used to, it’s refreshing to see a product tied to the mindful act of writing pen on paper.
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