Joined by speakers from around the world, the international design conference was anchored by groundbreaking keynotes and panel sessions that explored future perspectives through the lens of design, culture and technology.

Balance between culture, business and purpose

The first keynote of the day was presented by Richard Hsu.

About Richard Hsu

Richard Hsu is the founder and curator of TEDxShanghai, responsible for bringing together the most thought-provoking change-makers in China and around the world. Hsu is also the co-founder of Pan-Asia Network in 2013, a collaborative of Asian and International creatives from across 35+ cities. He has accumulated 40+ years of creative and brand experiences in companies such as the New York Times, Sotheby’s, Museum of Modern Art, Madison Square Garden, L’Oreal, Boeing, Sony, Isetan, Warner Music, Shiseido, Condé Nast, Wieden+Kennedy, Nike, Adidas. Since 2009, Hsu is a Professor of Practice at Tongji University School of Design and Innovation in Shanghai, and The Foreign Trade Counselor of Luxembourg to China.

Design Better Futures Faster

The second keynote of the day was presented by Cecilia Tham.

About Cecilia Tham

Cecilia Tham is currently a Future Synthesist and Principle at Futurity Systems, where she comes up with future-driven solutions in the intersection between technology, impact, and business opportunity. She works to validate, de-risk, and develop those solutions for companies and organizations. In the past, Cecilia has led a project about the future of food where she proposed “Plantable meals”, culturing meat using plant cellular scaffolding. She creates technological solutions for global impact, with a special interest in responsible consumption and climate change. After participating in Singularity University Global Solutions Program for Climate Change in 2017, she decided to dedicate her time and work on scalable impact-driven ventures.

The Opportunity of Global Design Cooperation

The third keynote of the day was presented by Marco Chen.

About Marco Chen

Marco Chen is General Manager of Square Industrial Design, a design service organization with innovative thinking. He is also the founder of Redminut pet products brand and Vice President of Industrial Design Society of Shunde. He developed key projects for Midea, Vanward, Whirlpool, HF.ZHONGCHEN, and many other enterprises. Chen cooperates with many colleges and universities in Guangdong and Anhui in industry-education & research. He is a visiting professor at Anhui Architecture University. He aims to create products with the best user experience through green and environmentally friendly design elements combined with functional needs. He advocates that by perceiving life and the world, to design and create more touching products.

Curating More Equitable Futures through Design

The fourth keynote of the day was presented by Millar Millar Fisher.

About Michelle Millar Fisher

Michelle Millar Fisher is currently the Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Her work focuses on the intersections of people, power, and the material world. At the MFA, she is working on her next book, tentatively titled Craft Schools: Where We Make What We Inherit, and, as part of an independent team of collaborators, on a book (MIT Press 2021), exhibition, curriculum, and program series called Designing Motherhood: Things That Make and Break Our Births. The recipient of an MA and an M.Phil in Art History from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, she received an M.Phil from and is currently completing her doctorate in art history at The Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). She is part of the 2022 fellow cohort at the Center for Curatorial Leadership.

Design for the Unimagined – Panel Discussion

In this panel session moderated by designer, educator and author, Surya Vanka, three designers (Graziella Roccella, Richard van der Laken and Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian) share their perspectives on designing for an increasingly uncertain future.

About Graziella Roccella

Graziella leads the design of Planet Smart City’s products and best practices to enhance our smart solutions worldwide. She heads our research and development centre in Turin, and co-ordinates the company’s Scientific Committee. Her areas of expertise include research, innovation and the integration of smart solutions into urban design. Modelling procedures, best practices and innovative business models which enhance real-estate values are among Graziella’s many specialities. With a PhD in Architecture, Graziella was formerly an Adjunct Professor of Urban and Architectural Design at the Polytechnic University of Turin. She has authored several international publications on the contemporary culture of housing, as well as on architects and masters of contemporary architecture. Her book ‘Gio Ponti, Master of Lightness’, has been published by TASCHEN in five languages.

About Richard van der Laken

Richard van der Laken is co-founder of What Design Can Do, an annual conference and organisation dedicated to showcasing he work of designers who are effecting social change. As general director and tireless ambassador for WDCD, Van der Laken has travelled from Norway to South Africa, and from Italy to China, to spread the word. Richard is also co-founder of the visual column Gorilla. He is also the co-founder of graphic design agency, De Designpolitie.

About Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian

Nelly Ben Hayoun-Stépanian PhD is an award-winning designer of experiences with over a decade of working to manufacture impossible productions and complex events and projects. She is an artist, radio host, keynote speaker, amateur boxer and the director and producer of three feature-length movies (The International Space Orchestra, 2013; Disaster Playground, 2015; I am (not) a monster, 2019); who creates multidimensional experiential projects at the intersection of film, science, tech, theatre, politics,music and design. Nelly is the founder of both NASA’s International Space Orchestra, the tuition-free charity University of the Underground and design agency Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios. Her large scale projects have included collaborations with political activists like Noam Chomsky, Pussy Riot, or Arjun Appadurai and artists like Massive Attack and Kid Cudi, The Avalanches to name a few.