least as creative as their European and American counterparts, and to find the courage to express that view. The extent to which Chinese cities have changed over the last five years is fascinating. Beijing has developed a relaxed ' café culture' with animated exchanges of ideas, small designer/ maker workshops and a cool sense of style. Shanghai is more aggressively forward looking but with a recently found appreciation of its architectural and cultural history. I gave interviews to at least a dozen design and lifestyle magazines. The journalists were young, very well informed and optimistic for the future. They were keen to hear my opinion of the 2009 Shanghai Auto Show. My opinion is that there is already a lot of young talent in the Chinese design studios, and when presented with a design brief that is different from the industry standard they are very capable of producing interesting work. But when a black four- door sedan is called for there is little creativity. The sad thing is that some reputable European design consultancies are just as unimaginative when answering the same brief. I travelled from Beijing to Shanghai on a startlingly modern train which ran at speeds of up to " There is a lot of young talent in Chinese design studios, and when given a brief that is different from the industry standard, they are very capable" 300kmh ( 190mph), left on time, arrived on time and was very smooth running. The streets of all the cities were filled with electric bicycles and scooters; most houses and apartment blocks using solar heating and all the students expressed a genuine concern about climate change ( technically Beijing is at the edge of the desert). Some people tell me that China is bent on ruining the world; I was left with the feeling that the Chinese have no intention of doing so at all. more information? click here!
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