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Highlight innovation and cooperation, a story that makes China's non-legacy skills go abroad and into the world.

Date : 2022-10-20 11:18:02

On October 16th, cctv-4 CCTV4 "The Edge of China" broadcast the documentary "Chris and His China Partners". This program, jointly shot by Zhejiang Radio and Television International Channel and the Propaganda Department of Yuhang District Committee of Hangzhou, tells the story of the cooperation between German designer Chris and Hangzhou Yuhang non-genetic inheritor, through the creative transformation and innovative development of Yuhang non-legacy paper umbrella, which designed the "floating" paper chair and "butterfly" paper chair full of fashion and creativity, and made China non-legacy brand go abroad and go global.


Based on inheritance and innovation, telling about foreign designers

And a story of China's intangible skills.

In 2010, German designer Chris and his companion Zhang lei set up a studio in Hangzhou, starting with the oil-paper umbrella, to study the future of China culture and traditional materials and crafts.

In 2011, they visited Liu Youquan, the non-genetic inheritor of Yuhang paper umbrella, and learned more than 70 processes for making paper umbrellas-the "wet paste" process of Yuhang paper umbrella (a process in which the whole leather paper is soaked with glue and then pasted on the umbrella ribs layer by layer). Chris became very interested in the "wet paste" process when putting on the umbrella cover. After a period of study and research, he boldly proposed to use the wet paste process to create new products.

In 2012, a paper chair named "Gone with the Wind" appeared in Milan Design Week, which brought a clear and fashionable Chinese style to the international design community, and won the highest award in the designer satellite exhibition of Milan Furniture Fair. The reason why "Floating Paper Chair" has won high recognition from the international design community lies not only in its unique Chinese style, but also in the innovation and technology of China materials. The China paper used in this "paper chair" is made of bast fibers such as mulberry bark and Chinese cypress bark, which is thin and porous, and is the main material of Yuhang oiled paper umbrella. The wonderful "China Oil Paper" can keep out the wind and rain, which inspired Chris' inspiration and creativity. He made a bold attempt to make a beautiful and sturdy "paper chair" with "oil-paper umbrella" as the raw material, which became the new fashion in the international design circle. The rich collection of traditional handicrafts in China also began to become a continuous source of inspiration for Chris and his friends in China: by using the ice crack principle and mortise and tenon structure of traditional windows in China, he designed a bookshelf that can be infinitely derived, inherited the ancient technology of China materials, and created silk series, bamboo series, earth series and metal series, which are popular internationally.


Real record and vivid reproduction of Yuhang paper umbrella

The process of connecting the world

Chris and His China Companion adopts documentary images, showing the development track of Yuhang paper umbrella after Chris and other designers intervened, and showing the innovative road of Yuhang paper umbrella connecting the world with the future.

The most famous story about the oiled paper umbrella is The Legend of the White Snake. Xu Xian and Bai Niangzi made an everlasting romance with an oil-paper umbrella at the West Lake Broken Bridge, which became the most popular love legend in China. In the 1960s and 1970s, with the emergence of rain and rain umbrella with steel skeleton, Yuhang oil-paper umbrella technology was on the verge of being lost. Until 2006, when the non-genetic inheritor Liu Youquan appeared, the production process of oil-paper umbrella was restored. In 2007, Yuhang Paper Umbrella was listed in Zhejiang Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

However, what bothers the development of Yuhang Oil-Paper Umbrella is that the inheritors are generally old. Previously, the craftsmen who made Yuhang Paper Umbrella were all over 60 years old. The news that "Gone with the Wind" paper chair won the grand prize in Milan Design Week was sent back to China, which deeply shocked Liu Weixue, the grandson of Liu Youquan, the non-genetic inheritor of Yuhang paper umbrella. In 2014, after graduating from university, Liu Weixue took over the responsibility of inheriting Yuhang oiled paper umbrella from his grandfather Liu Youquan. The cooperation between Chris and his grandfather Liu Youquan changed Liu Weixue's impression of Yuhang Oil-Paper Umbrella, while the cooperation with Liu Weixue changed the industrial chain development of Yuhang Paper Umbrella.

In 2015, Chris and others jointly made a large paper umbrella with Liu Weixue, which traveled across the ocean as an installation art and participated in the MO exhibition in Paris, the Design Week exhibition in Milan and the exhibition in Athens Museum. In 2022, Yuhang Oil-Paper Umbrella made a stunning appearance at Wenyuan Pavilion in the Forbidden City. The ancient non-legacy skills re-established a link with modern life in the hands of young Liu Weixue, forming a closed loop of non-legacy industries that inherit and support industries, promote employment by industries, and help employment to inherit.


Develop non-legacy industries, and let the old be non-legacy.

Connecting the Present and Future of Craft Village

Chris and His China Companion also describes the process of Chris and other "foreign villagers" making the village realize future fusion.

The bold innovation of Yuhang oil-paper umbrella technology made Chris see the charm and potential of China, and "traditional future" became their design concept. Chris's appearance also allowed Yuhang Paper Umbrella to reshape consumers' confidence in intangible cultural heritage from the upstream while inheriting intangible cultural heritage skills, and activated the vitality of intangible cultural heritage in industrial development from the downstream.

In these years, Chris traveled all over China, learning the intangible skills of various places, collecting related traditional materials, and deconstructing and analyzing their crafts. On June 12th, 2015, Chris and Zhang lei transformed the abandoned auditorium in Qingshan Village into a "Fusion Design Library", displaying thousands of China's non-legacy handicraft materials collected by them, which is open to the public free of charge.

Three years ago, Chris took his wife, daughter and son to China, settled their home in Qingshan Village, and became a "foreign villager" in Qingshan Village. Today, Chris's family lives a happy life in this small village in the south of the Yangtze River. They designed a natural water irrigation system in the place where they lived, built greenhouses with plastic bottles to grow vegetables, and gave their own vegetables and fruits to neighbors to share. Chris's wife Nicole likes Qingshan Village very much. Whenever something happens in the village, Nicole will appear. Nicole has become an active participant in the management of public affairs in Qingshan Village. She also initiated a series of environmental protection actions in Qingshan Village, such as old clothes renovation, trash can beautification and natural composting, and got along well with local villagers.

The biggest difficulty in the protection and re-creation of heritage lies in the disappearance of its local cultural soil. This group of "foreign villagers" in Qingshan Village, Yuhang are committed to combining traditional heritage with modern design, injecting new kinetic energy into the inheritance and development of China.

With the arrival of a group of foreign designers such as Chris, the intangible cultural heritage of Qingshan Village in Yuhang District has established a connection with the creative industry, making intangible cultural heritage come alive and become a characteristic industry of "rural revitalization and common prosperity" in Yuhang District.

Starting from the actual work and life of German designers in Qingshan Village, Yuhang, Chris and His China Companion shows the charm of China's intangible skills and products, shows the development and changes of China in the past ten years, enjoys and plans the future of a beautiful village. As Chris said, "In the past ten years, people have become more aware of and appreciate traditional culture. Now we have found a perfect place as our library, workshop, studio and our home. "

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