The speakers, contributors, idea-makers part of our Festival and LABs. 
  • Neill Mclean Gaddes / TGS Lead - SANS practice, Shenzhen

    Neill is a design-trained practitioner whose work is focused on designing processes that from ideation to implementation ensure the sustained relevance of place through the positive interdependence of political, economic, and social forces. Rather than simplifying conditions to a question of commercial or touristic renewal, the practice Neill leads attempts to impact social, cultural, commercial and environmental conditions simultaneously, to suggest and empower, rather than dictate, a community.

  • Benjamin Beller / TGS Lead - bAo Architects, Beijing

    Ben is a French multidisciplinary architect whose decade long commitment in China emerges from a fundamental desire to embrace the current globalization momentum and celebrate cultural heterogeneity as an opportunity for cross-fertilization. Working in both urban and rural contexts, Ben’s design approach incorporates programs, narratives, tactics and strategies, as a way to advocate a critical repositioning and expansion of the role of the architect in the current dynamics of the city.

  • Zhang Chao / Le Ping Social Entrepreneur Foundation

    Chao is the Executive Director of the Microfinance Division in Le Ping Foundation. He has more than 10-year experience in the non-profit sector for the development of economic services to marginalized rural residents and urban migrants in China. He graduated from China Agricultural University and worked for four years in a state-owned company which served breeding farms.

  • Zhao Kunfang / Design strategist  

    Kunfang is a Shanghai based researcher and strategist working with organizations such as IDEO and S.POINT with an emphasis on Design Thinking and User Experience. Her market experience has included real estate developments, retail innovation, the future of food, mobile communication, transport, and health. Her personal practice is at the intersection of art, design and social innovation. She has been part of cutting edge movements within China including Rural Reconstruction in Bishan, social design with HF FARM community agriculture program, Urban Village Placemaking during UABB Shenzhen/Hong Kong, and urban interventions such as the Yan Qing Lu Food Market ‘Urbancross’ in Shanghai.

  • He Wei / 3andwich Design

    An architecture office founded in 2012 and based in Beijing, the studio practices across design disciplines and research exploring localization as a meaningful dialogue informed by cultural, environmental and human factors, with years-long experience in developing integrated designs in the rural context. He Wei is an associate professor in the School of Architecture at CAFA (Beijing) and Vice Chairman of the Rural Architecture Committee at The Architectural Society of China.

  • Superimpose Architecture

    Superimpose is a creativity driven studio founded in 2016 in Beijing by Carolyn Leung, Ben de Lange and Ruben Bergambagt who strongly believe in designing with contextual awareness and applying problem solving tactics. Their work is based on overlaying the most valid contextual components with carefully considered architecture elements. They design with the responsibility to improve, protect, recycle and sustain both the natural and built environments, where design adds value, aesthetic and identity to ‘place’.

  • Zhong Fang / Collaborative Innovation Centre of Eco-Design, Tsinghua University (THU – CIED), Deputy Director

    Zhong Fang graduated from Milan Polytechnic University, Italy and received a Ph.D. in Social Innovation and Sustainable Design with a dissertation on Service Design for China’s Food Innovation Network. She participated in the "Sustainable Rural Community of Chongming Island" project (in cooperation with Tongji University), and led workshops like New Countryside, New City, New Life (in collaboration with the School of Design, Jiangnan University) and Trust Building in the New Food Network in cooperation with the School of Design, Jiangnan University. She has collaborated with Slow Food International Association and her continued areas of research include analysis of the Chinese food network, agricultural service and strategy design.

  • Che Mingyang / Gengxin Village Co-Creation 耕心乡村众创

    Che Mingyang is a serial social innovator and entrepreneur. She is the founder and CEO of Gengxin Village Co-Creation, whose projects (Village Co-living Space and Village Entrepreneur Incubator) aim to bridge ‘city and village’ to more efficiently distribute their resources, for both industry and community development and thus incubate high-value and prospective rural businesses in nurturing the development of a harmonious social context. The People Incubation programme of her YES Network Company supports seed stage social entrepreneurs advise and mentorship to social entrepreneurs in their journey to tackle societal problems.

  • Jason Hilgefort & Merve Bedir / land+civilization compositions (Shenzhen)

    Based is a Randstad [NL] Istanbul [TR] and currently active in Shenzhen, the office works and collaborates on issues related to built form, with a portfolio scope from research to design. Jason Hilgefort has worked with Peter Calthorpe, Rahul Mehrotra, Maxwan, and ZUS. He was a subcurator of the Shenzhen|Hong Kong Urbanism|Architecture Biennale 2015 and co-director of its learning platform. Merve Bedir is a member of Matbakh-Mutfak, a transnational women collective in Gaziantep, and a founding member of MAD (Center for Spatial Justice) in Istanbul. 

  • Chen Haoru / Sun Commune

    Chen Haoru is the principal of Hangzhou based CITIARC design studio and a professor of architecture at the China Academy of Art. Chen has received his education from NYU and the City University of New York. He was trained as an architect in New York City and returned to China to practice in 2001. He is the chief architect behind the Sun Commune, a project of rural renewal and integrated design appeared among many others, on the New York Times.

  • Sun Dayong / Penda office

    Sun Dayong is a founding partner of Penda, an architecture office established in 2013 in Beijing with Chris Precht, with the belief that architecture serves as a bridge to connect nature, culture and people to strive for a better quality of living. By drawing different perspectives from western and eastern history, Penda is a multidisciplinary team that seeks the fundamentals in architecture and to interpret and integrate them into one cross-cultural design-language. They are interested in the questions of how life evolved throughout history, what influenced its process up to the present and what architecture can add to increase the quality of life for the future.

  • Ou Ning / activist and curator

    A polyandric cultural practitioner, Ou Ning is an advocate of rural reconstruction movement in China, a prolific curator, editor and lecturer. He founded U-theque (1999-2004), an independent film and video organization, and Bishan Commune (from 2011) in rural Anhui.  As a publisher, he is known for his seminal book New Sound of Beijing (1997) and his literary bimonthly journal Chutzpah! (from 2011). He initiated the biennial exhibition Get It Louder (2005, 2007, 2010), and was the chief curator of the 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism and Architecture. He is known for urban research projects such as San Yuan Li (2003), commissioned by the 50th Venice Biennale, and Meishi Street (2006), commissioned by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes. He was a visiting professor at GSAPP, Columbia University (2016-2017).

  • Zang Feng / People’s Architecture Office

    Beijing-based People's Architecture Office(PAO)/People's Industrial Design Office(PIDO) was founded by He Zhe, James Shen and Zang Feng in 2010, and consists of a multi-disciplinary team of architects, engineers, product designers and urbanists. With the belief that design is for the masses the studio focuses on social impact through design. PAO/PIDO is the first architecture practice in Asia certified as a B-Corporation and serves as a model for social entrepreneurship. The office is located in an historic courtyard house in the center of Beijing and functions as a laboratory for observation, testing, and building.

  • Catherine McMahon & Jenny Chou / TGS Lead - ATLAS studio

    ATLAS is Ahti Westphal, Jenny Chou, and Catherine McMahon—three designers who met while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design. Their shared interest in culture, history, and place leads them to mine various contexts for unexpected stories, details, or over looked materials and techniques. The result is an ongoing exploration that at various points in time takes on the form of spaces, products, or installations. Prior to starting ATLAS, Catherine was a researcher at MIT writing and investigating intersections between nature, technology, and image-making and has consulted on strategy and design for a number of leading technology companies; while Jenny worked on disaster reconstruction in Asia with noted architect Hsieh Ying-chun.

  • Nicola Saladino / TGS Lead - reMIX Studio

    Nico is one of the founding partners of Beijing-based reMIX studio. He lived and studied in Barcelona (Architecture at the Polytechnic University) and London (Architectural Association) before relocating to Beijing. He has been involved in educational and research projects at the AA, MIT, Veritas (Costa Rica), Hong Kong University, CAFA (Central Academy of Fine Arts) and Tsinghua University, where he was involved in the Landscape Urbanism program. Nico’s research focuses on the integration of architecture and landscape into new models of synthetic urban hybrids, the envisioning and construction of future social assemblages.

  • Tang Yao / Le Ping Social Entrepreneur Foundation  

    Yao joined Leping in 2015, she works closely with each business units in Leping to raise funding and develop collaborative relationship with external partners. She is also one of the backbone team staff members of the Rural Early Childhood Education (RECE), the collective Impact Initiative focus on improving the education quality in rural China initiated by Leping and Macao Tong Chai Charity Association. Prior to joining Leping, she worked in Teach Future China and taught in Beijing Tongxin Migrant Children School. Yao graduated with a B.A. degree in Finance from the University of Florida.

  • Eva Delaat / TGS team – EvaxCarola Studio

    Over the last 10 years Eva has worked with a wide range of Chinese, European and American Apparel & Sports companies world-wide and her Studio Eva x Carola is at the forefront of innovation in performance textiles. Her studio expertise is in seamless and circular knitting techniques.

    They also explore alternative fabric production methods bringing a new dimension to materials and performance wear. They research and develop creative and functional knit structures for future textiles. Through working with innovative makers they introduce new materials with a focus on sustainability and well-being.

  • Markus m Schneider / MetroProjects

    Markus M Schneider aka MMS is a China-based creative hybrid, a designer, curator and cross-disciplinary consultant with projects around brands, retail, the creative industries & corporate culture.
    MMS's design work spreads from multi-layered spatial experiences to audio-visual environments to product, brand and business design. Extending his work in commercial and institutional application areas, MMS is realizing independent projects across a multiplicity of work areas, creative and technologic disciplines, ranging from electronic music to kinetic installations.

  • Shi Quhai / Sociologist, renmin university

    Shi Quhai is a researcher and a with a Doctor of Sociology degree from Renmin University. He specializes on social stratification and mobility, with a focus on ethnic group study, ethnic identity and consciousness.

  • Wen Fang / artist

    Wen Fang is a Beijing-based artist who graduated from L’ENS Louis-Lumière Department of photography in Paris. Since her return to China, she has made a name for herself with her counter-traditional photography and installation art. Not satisfied with simply creating two-dimensional images, her photography can be found on bricks, knives, desks, and even hair. Her work describes her native culture, her Buddhist beliefs, and often explores the lives of some of China's most underrepresented people. 

  • Wu Jie / Curator - The Chinese National Museum of Ethnology

    Wu Jie holds a PhD in Antrhopology from the Minzu University of China and since 2011 is a curator and researcher at the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology. She writes extensively for academic publications focusing on subjects like collection and interpretation of ethnic cultural heritage in China, the roduction of ethic knowledge in a museological context and the creation and the exploration of ethnic museums in community cultural reconstruction.

  • Guan Kai / Vice Dean, School of Ethnology and Sociology, Minzu University of China

    Further to his academic role at Minzu University, Guan Kai acts as the academic editor in chief of Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) China edition, published by the Le Ping Foundation. From 1990 until 20017 he serves as the Deputy Director of the International Division and Policy Research Office of the State Council for Ethnic Affairs. His research focuses on ethnic politics, political anthropology and social development projects.

  • Li Dajun

    A social worker involved in the field of public welfare since 2003, Li Dajun has been working on the frontline and developing research  focusing particularly on street kids, children,  community development and ecological restoration, the protection and recognition of migrant workers rights, and floating populations. Currently he is the director of the NGO LingQuan Hope (冷泉希望社区).

  • Ted Whitaker / artist & researcher

    Ted Whitaker is I: Project Space’s current resident artist in collaboration with the Asia New Zealand Foundation. His practice-led research involves themes of media archaeology and post-digital practice, which in Beijing is central to his research of the implications of e-waste, both local and global. Ted has exhibited throughout New Zealand, Czech Republic, Scotland and Australia.

  • Rachele Maistrello / photographer

    For the last years Rachele Maistrello’s practice has mainly been focused around different aspect of the deconstruction of clichés, engaging suburban environments where the photographic medium is used as a social instrument of estrangement. In her research there appears an ongoing attempt to come closer to people and their own private heroism. Her work has been shown at BYOB, 54.Biennal of Venice, Italy (2011); the Museum of Contemporary Photography of Milan, Italy (2012); the ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe, Germany (2009); IMMIX gallery, Paris, France (2008). She is currently a resident at I:Space, Beijing.

  • Zhao Liqun & Miguel Esteban / TGS Lead – mono.o

    mono.o is an experimental design practice that operates at the intersection of architecture, urbanism and product design. Its ethos bridges an ethnographical approach to aesthetics – emphasizing the relationship between local communities, cultural development and craftsmanship - and a scientific research that pursues a search of the new, leveraging technologies, workflows and models of production seen in disciplines outside its own.

  • Zhang Shoupin / TGS Lead - MAX Office

    After working for 2x4 in OMA Beijing Office, Shoupin founded Max Office and leads a multidisciplinary team for design and research programmes. He works for CAFA as a design critic. Max Office is a research and communication design studio specialized in multi-disciplinary/ systematic projects. It tries to reconsider and expand the realm of design through advanced practice, responding in the meanwhile, with a historical/ contemporary social agenda. Max Office creates hybrid forms of communication for design and social systems, drawing on the roles as planner, researcher, critic, writer, editor, conceptualizer, visualizer, programmer, and - designer.

  • Liu Xintong / Le Ping Social Entrepreneur Foundation 

    Editor of Stanford Social Innovation Review China, Leping Social Entrepreneur Foundation, she focuses her work on enabling systemic change. Before joining Leping, she worked within UN Women, Astraea Foundation for Justice and other CBOs. She held a MFA degree in Design for Social Innovation from School of Visual Arts with a background of International Relations.

  • Duo Ning / Dot Architects

    Duo Ning is the founer of Dot Architects a Beijing based practice, exploring the interdependences of production methodologies across scales, from product to space. In their own words: ‘’we inquire into the development of products where design operations are dedicated to the realization of innovative and sustainable projects, rather than the manipulation of form which often leads to an excess of spectacle. This approach positions our practice within the domain of architectural discipline, and furthermore embraces the rich heterogeneity and flux of social, cultural, material and ecological substrates.’’ Duo Ning has implemented plans to promote and divulge the Wiki House movement in China and the studio runs a FabLab in its own premises.

  • Tang Kangshuo / MAT Office

    Founded by Tang Kangshuo and Zhang Miao, MAT Office is a research and design studio started in Rotterdam and now operating in Beijing. With an interest in the study of socio-spatial transformations in current day China and their global resonance, they have self-initiated and undertaken various research and educational projects on the future of sharing, from working environments to habitation. 

  • Wang Shuo / META-Projects

    Together with Zhang Jing Wang Shuo is a partner and co-founder of META-Project a Beijing based practice operating in the fields of architecture, urban research, exhibition and interior design. META is interested in what defines contemporary life in the context of increasingly uncontrolled urban conditions, with specific focus on the emergent socio/cultural phenomena generated by an unprecedented urban transition in Asian cities. Wang is also the co-founder of the co-working and co-living community YanJing Lane (Beijing).

  • Zhou Zishu / Digua Community

    Zhou Zishu is the founder of Digua Community, a social design project refurbishing abandoned civic defence underground bunkers into community facilities. The project has been widely published in China and internationally and is currently operating its second space in Beijing. Zishu holds a masters from the University of Arts London and teaches at CAFA School of Design.

  • Cao Pu / Common Studio

    An architecture and product design practice based in New York City and Beijing, it was founded by the award-winning architect and rock-band member Cao Pu and Cui Ruoxi, an interior designer interested in experimental fabrication and the emotional dimension of space. Common explores everyday living environs and how small scale architectural and spatial solution-making can benefit urban dwellers. They prefer to call their effort ‘patchwork for city pixels’.

  • Zhao Wang / Dataojo – Data intelligence Unit for City Mobility


  • DAPHne XU / ethnographer and photographer

    Daphne Xu is an ethnographer and photographer studying urban planning and urban design at MIT. Prior to MIT, she worked at 地瓜社区 Digua Community and 青年志 Youthology in Beijing, and co-founded 丝瓜集团 Sponge Gourd Collective. She is interested in exploring how art and design in the public domain can build people's connection with place, sense of belonging, and agency. Her current research interests include rural community and economic development, critical preservation, and the cultural impacts of the high-speed rail on its neighboring areas.

  • Jia Rong / Hi-work

    Jia Rong is currently the CEO of Hiwork a new ecosystem for the future of work, FOIP creators platform and the founder of CitylinX Design, an interdisciplinary platform for city regeneration connecting innovation practitioners and urban planners.  She will be moderating a conversation with Bing Qing / Co-Founder, IDEAPOD a co-working space, MAT Office cofounder, architect Zhang Miao, and Zhang Xiyu / Urban Data analyst.

  • Erika Huang / F2N - Farm to Neighbour

    Eirka Huang is a food entrepreneur who after struggling with severe skin issues after living and working in Beijing for two years, decided to take matters into her own hands to eat healthy by seeking out local organic farm produce and traditional hand-made, no-additives foods. Farm to Neighbours was created to serve the community by creating better access to quality foods and connecting local producers directly to consumers, and celebrate real food culture that brings people closer together, nourishes the body and improves the environment. 

  • Vans Zhang Yi / Head of Re.Lab Sustainability Lab at Group

    Formerly a designer in Volkswagen, Vans joined in 2015 as Industrial Design Director, he later became the Director of Design in 2016 becoming responsible for all design work at the Group. Later in 2017, he led the establishment of the Sustainability Lab of - Relab. is China’s fastest growing food-delivery service, it covers more than 1000 urban centres and serves more than 9milllion daily orders. In April 2018 it was acquired by Alibaba group. In March 2018 the company has been cleared to deliver orders to selected drop-off points in a Shanghai industrial park by drone. 

  • Cheng Cunwang / Haonong Chang

    Cheng is a PhD at Renmin University where he works with Wen Tiejun, China’s foremost scholar of ruralism and pioneer of the rural reconstruction movement of most recent decades, and Dean of the School of Agronomics & Rural Development at Renmin Universiry. Cheng is a prolific academic and critical writer in the field of eco-agriculture. He is the creator of  Real Farm 好农场, an app servicing CSA (community supported agriculture) farms through a B2B2C platform to promote the development of healthy food consumption, production and communities.

  • Céline Lamée / TGS Lead – LAVA Beijing

    Céline Lamée is a Dutch graphic designer, whose work not only utilizes bold forms, but also quick witted humour to devise clever visual solutions. She studied at ArtEZ in Arnhem, the Netherlands and has led many workshops in the Netherlands, UK and China. She is director of LAVA Beijing, a design office working on cultural projects trying to connect eastern and western visual culture in an interesting way. Among their clients are Beijing Design Week, French, Swiss, Australian and Dutch Embassies, Taikooli (Swire Group), Moscow Design Museum among others Chinese companies and studios.

  • Antonie Angerer & Anna-Viktoria Eschbach / Director & Curator I:project space

    Antonie and Anna co-founded I:project space in 2014 which is based in the heart of one of Beijing’s hutong areas. A non-profit platform it hosts an artist-in-residence program, exhibitions, workshops, lectures etc, while running a focused series of research & curatorial projects such as Beijing22, Feminist South, Tria (a publication-based platform) and the annual Independent Art Spaces festival in Beijing.

  • Henny van Nistelrooy / designer - Studio HVN

    Henny founded Studio HVN in 2009 after receiving his Master degree in Design Products at the Royal College of Art, London. He moved to Beijing in 2012 Henny where he also teaches at Central Academy of Fine Arts. The studio works with interiors and interiors products, blending Chinese culture and a North European design sensibility. From product to social project, Henny’s clients range from limited edition design Gallery ALL, Colette, Deitch Projects & Paper Magazine, to the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Nations Development Program.

  • Zhan Han / Editor in Chief Archdaily China


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