We are now in Beijing, staying with our Swedish architect friends in a very charming hutong area very near The Forbidden City. Not much internet access, so there will probably only be a few updates from here. But some great news is that we have been invited to do a small guest talk at CAFA, Central Academy of Fine Arts, which is the no. 1 arts academy in China, and we are of course very exited about this.
Today we are going meet a local friend, Been, and see more of Beijing. We are already in love with the city!
Caroline and Jessica live here
Our time at LAFA is nearly up. The workshop ended yesterday, where all 80 students brought their food plate to the students’ cafeteria where we set up a gigantic dinner feast of colourful meals. The table was almost 45 meters long! We then had to chose which students to give special awards – something they seem to like a lot in China. So we did as we were told, although this goes a little against Danish teaching spirit as we know it. When we get home we’ll upload photos of the whole workshop on our website.
Today we went on a sightseeing trip organised by Miss Yu from LAFA’s Shenyang campus. We were taken on a 2 hour drive to a neighboring district, where Miss Yu’s parents live. Actually we weren’t quite sure what was going on as the driver got lost several times, but when we reached the destination and Miss Yu’s mother handed us swimming suits with matching swimming hats, we knew that we were in for another special experience! And true enough, the next minute we found ourselves submerged in a hot spring, in matching retro swimsuits and hats. None of the local guests hesitated to stare at us curiously, and consequently Mu is now in the possession of a handful of potentially dangerous photos. After the hot bath, we went to have a delicious huge lunch with Miss Yu’s parents. They had been preparing it for a week, and we were very touched by their kindness and hospitality.
Later there was an award ceremony at the packaging studio, where we gave the students awards in 6 different categories – it was quite like the Oscars! The president of LAFA, Mr. Sun Ming, came by and it was a great pleasure meeting him. Afterwards there was a lovely buffet and a lot of group photographing with the students. Now our cheeks hurt from smiling to the cameras.
Sweet Mu got all teary at dinner, thinking about our departure tomorrow. “Time is frozen and I have so many memories” he philosophically stated. We will surely miss him! We make a brilliant trio.
Just now a crazy thunderstorm broke out, so hopefully we can fly to Beijing tomorrow.
Student work in the cafeteria
Paper dinner for 80!
Here we are in yet another group photo, this time with Mu, Miss Yu and her parents
Today we got to see all of the students’ amazing homework assignments of carefully folded paper food, and we gave most of them a little talk about which direction to take their project. We were so impressed by their work! All the students are working on individual paper-meals, and tomorrow we are going to set up a huge dinner table for 80 in the students’ cafeteria. Hopefully this will result in a striking installation and some good photographs.
For lunch we discovered a whole new part of LAFA campus: an underground shopping mall and food court. This school is huge! And later Mu and Dong took us to Discovery Land, an amusement park close to campus. We tried some different rides, but stayed clear of the wild ones, as we were told that the roller-coaster recently ran wild and wouldn’t stop for 25 minutes, resulting in cascades of vomit. Brave Mu is doing such a good job in taking care of us – he even took the lead inside the haunted house, warding off all danger with a careful little voice saying “Hello Ghost?” while the rest of us followed cautiously behind. We were given 3D glasses at the entrance, only to discover that everything in there was three dimensional anyway and the only purpose they seemed to serve was to blind our left eyes.
Examples of paper meals folded by our students at the Packaging Design department. So nice!
Detail of paper food
Some of the students’ other work – they they are experts in folding paper
Students in class
We tried this one, much fun!
Our new press photo?
Yesterday was the first day of our workshop with the students of LAFA. A lot of details got lost in translation but we’ll see tomorrow if they understood what the homework was about. We’ve asked the students to fold a plate of food out of paper, so hopefully we’ll see lots of nice paperwork tomorrow. After the workshop we just walked around on campus and did some shopping in the students’ supermarket, where there’s a special sale on chicken feet.
Today we went on a sightseeing tour of Dalian with Mr. Lu (one of the teachers at LAFA), Mu and one of the founding sisters of Dalian based design company, Aissen. They took us out to the shore and it was very nice to see some more natural and picturesque surroundings, without skyscrapers or construction sites. It seems like the Chinese never sleep, and are always keen to build new buildings all over the place.
After another fabulous lunch, we went to meet the founders and designers of Aissen. We gave them a short introduction to our work, and they showed us some of theirs in return. After that we shared our experiences of Danish and Chinese design culture and traditions. It seems like it’s a tough world out here, and we felt very privileged to have the freedom that we have in our work. The two sisters of Aissen started their company 8 years ago and it has now grown to a staff of 15 people. Maybe we’ll also have 15 employees in 4 years… but probably not!
We can’t get over how extremely friendly and hospitable the people we meet out here are. They drive us around, pay for our food and give us gifts and make us feel very special and welcome.
Students sketches for our workshop
Amazing painting skills in the textile studio
Thread and yarn in the tapestry studio
The LAFA basketball court
View of Dalian from a hill
A kite over Renmin Square
Meeting with Aissen: once again Mu is translating our words to the staff and to the two sisters and managers to the right
The design team at Aissen
View of Dalian from the Aissen office on the 27th floor. Before we came, we had never even heard of Dalian, and it turns out that there are more inhabitants in this city than in the whole of Denmark! Not so surprising maybe…
Today we got up very early and had breakfast at the LAFA campus. We were then driven to the Polytechnic University of Dalian, which has a very interesting design and arts school. We got to visit a lot of different studios there, and especially the ceramic and sculpture studios were really exciting to see!
Here we gave our first lecture which was a very nice but strange experience, since very few actually understood what we said. Mu had to translate everything, and since we don’t speak Chinese, that could be anything! Afterwards it was like we were rockstars and we were asked to sign autographs.
Back at the LAFA campus, we held another lecture in the package design studio. Now we are very tired, so off to our big beds with plastic sheets. Tomorrow our workshop will begin and we are looking forward to really meeting the students and talking with them.
The ceramics department at Dalian Polytechnic University
Again a glorious lunch, this time with the dean and teachers of Dalian Polytechnic
If you’re a lover of seafood and weird creatures, Dalian is the place for you. You can even get silk worms and huge frogs. Of course they are alive when you order them and then prepared for you… we didn’t dare though.
HOT v.2! This poster was designed by one of the teachers, Professor Yuling. We like this poster very much.
Group photos are a big thing in China. Here we are with Mu, the dean of Dalian Polytechnic Professor Ren, Professor Wang and Professor Yuling in front of one of the dean’s beautiful paintings.
First lecture at Dalian Polytechnic. The crowd is eagerly anticipating our words… Professor Wang fell asleep.
Second lecture at LAFA campus.
We are in China!
We arrived safely yesterday, and were greeted with flowers at Shenyang airport by Mu Xulong, the MA student at LAFA who initially invited us to come here. He is a huge fan of our work – and he knows everything about us! If we try to tell him something, he already knows… It’s quite incredible. When we got to the academy we had a welcome dinner with Professor Yafei Wang, a famous Chinese designer. After a fair deal of skepticism towards our closet vegetarianism they tuned into our needs and had extra vegetables delivered to the table. We feel very well taken care of here! Proffesor Wang also gave us tons of Chinese tea and a special tea pot which will be used all the time when we get back.
Today we did a guest talk at Lafa campus, for the students of visual communication, both under graduate and post graduate students. Most do not speak English but Mu did a fine job of translating our words. Later we were driven to the Dalian part of LAFA’s campus which is situated 5 hours’ drive south of Shenyang. Once again we received an overwhelmingly warm welcome, and had a delicious dinner with some of the professors, teachers and students. This campus seems huge – it will be interesting to see it in day light!
With Mu in front of a stone engraved with the LAFA motto: ‘Study hard!’
Professor Wang’s tea machine
At the guest talk
Lunch with students and Professor Wang
No, it’s not risengrød, it’s tofu!
Mu studying Hvass&Hannibal history
Welcome dinner at Dalian campus
Our rooms are huge!
We are very nearly ready to fly off to China, and we are so very exited! We will be flying directly to Shenyang where we will give a guest talk, lecture and a 3 day workshop at LAFA, Luxun Academy of Fine arts. And we have prepared some fun stuff and can’t wait to meet the students, and see how it all turns out. We’ll be posting news about our journey along the way, so check in to see what we are up to…
We are currently busy working with the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, creating some accessories that they can wear at their shows and concerts, and also some decorative elements for the stage. We have worked with the orchestra before, when they performed with Efterklang in 2008. Back then we designed costumes for the band, and did stage design as well.
We initially started experimenting with rope in all sizes and colours, tying hundreds of knots and monkey fists, but we have now settled for a more discrete and subtle look with elements of spraypainted wood and plexiglas. We have to be done before we leave for China on Friday, which leaves little time for packing suitcases, let alone preparing a workshop for 80 students. So we are kind of busy here… but in a good way!
For now here’s a photo of our desktop at the studio.
On another note, if there’s anything you would be interested in seeing more of on our blog, please leave a comment or send us a mail. Blogging is relatively new to us, so any feedback would be great.
Drawing by Trine Natskår, who just moved into our office.
There are a couple of newcomers to our little office in Copenhagen. Sofie’s brother Frederik Hannibal moved in about a month ago, and a few weeks Trine Natskår joined us as well. Frederik is a programmer, you can see what he does here. Trine is a designer and illustrator, and you can visit her flickr page to see more of her work.
“If I gave you French underwear for your birthday, would you let me borrow it?” – ”I’m that guy, from that famous band, you know…” – “I closed (kissed) an HB10 (hot babe rated 10) last Saturday, but I don’t want an LTR (long term relationship) so I just said LJBF (let’s just be friends)”
We recently finished a new illustration for a story about the ‘art of seduction’. The article is about seduction in various contexts: how to sell yourself, or your product and how to attract customers – or the opposite sex! In the story there’s an interview with a group of young men who are all part of an online community where they share tricks and theories on how to seduce (mostly) women. We thought this was really interesting and funny… and apparently there are even equations to figure out how big your chance is to get together with a hot lady.