Art for Social Welfare


2021 China Eco Design Award Announcement

Poster Design:Shirui Ma

Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF), together with distinguished organizations and experts from international institutions, governments, communities, environmental protection, academia, architecture, fashion, design, art, technology, media and other fields, initiated the annual professional award: "China ECO Design  Award". 

This year, with the theme of "Community Building", we invited professional judges from the fields of architecture, product, clothing, humanities, and environmental protection to identify and support the most innovative ECO DESIGN designers, brands, organizations, and project in China. The finals will be presented by a diverse group of international organizations, design ceremonies, universities’ think tanks, technology+charity, high-quality media and other platforms, promoting the application and cooperation of pioneering design. 

The call for entries for the 2021 Awards closed on April 30. During the three-month call period, the award received 774 valid applications from all over China, inspiring many young design practitioners and enthusiasts to experiment and innovate for sustainable design.

From May 15th to May 25th, the organizing committee invited the media and partner organizations of the Award to serve as the preliminary judging body and finally selected a total of 118 entries for the final selection (please refer to the end of the article for the finalists' list). The judges evaluated and made their decisions with a rigorous standard from June 10th to June 19th. There is a total of seven awards including Architectural and Environmental Design Award (Urban), Product Design Award (Urban), Visual Design Award (Urban), Architectural and Environmental Design Award (Rural), Product Design Award (Rural), Visual Design Award (Rural) and Youth Innovative Design Award. A total of 8 winners were selected. We are honored to share their work in this article. Congratulations to all the designers for their outstanding achievements in integrating ideals and practices.

01 · 2021 Sustainable Urban Community Building

· Architectural and Environmental Design Award ·

Winner:The Big Fish Community Building & Development Center
Prize Winning Work(s):Community Participatory Museum、Free-down Space
Reviews: "The public space has become a "community participatory museum", shaping its own community spirit and community brand. The transformation is all-encompassing: there are public spaces, buildings, and activities to build a mechanism for universal participation, fully stimulating the vitality of the old neighborhood."
—Jiakun Liu

"The community creation/neighborhood creation/community planning/spatial design in the work promotes multi-participation and social innovation in the context of urban regeneration."
—Dongmei Yao

"The Big Fish Community Building & Development Center uses diverse projects including the renovation of old urban spaces, civic social activities and cultural documentation to connect the old and new residents in the community, the spaces and stories that once existed, with design as a guide to life again. Under the discourse of refusing to be forgotten, it injects the needs of today's life and plants more potential and surprises for the future growth of the community."
—Hong Duan

About the Work:
The "Community Participatory Museum" is located in Hongqiao Airport New Village in Changning District, Shanghai. By retracing the development history of the airport and the new village, the project tells the personal growth stories of the old and new civil aviation people in the era and shows the spirit of civil aviation and aviation sentiment shared by the community. The project invites residents to participate in the curatorial process - cleverly designing the community participation mechanism for residents, and creating a new shared experience for the community through different depths of participation in the curatorial and exhibition process. In this non-controversial transformation of the public space, common interests raised among residents, opening up a new exploration of community participation in community governance.

The Free-down Space is located in the basement of No. 25, Lane 700 Xianxia Road, Changning District, Shanghai. It is a neighborhood of 10,000 people built in the 1990s, with a community living structure of 35% seniors, 30% parent-child families, and 25% mobile tenants. In the community renewal plan, the unused basement is transformed into a communal living room for the residents between the ages of 5 and 65, a place for them to "hang out." It will be a super community-friendly connector with space as the carrier, and for its sustainable development, the project will explore a sustainable operation model of fostering a space for community residents + youth managers by connecting the community residents and the external youth managers brought in for continuous joint actions.

The outside of the Community Participatory Museum

The Entrance of the Free-down Space

· Product Design Award ·

Winner:Mingliang Li(instructor:Jiajia Song、 Hongjun Yang, New Material Design Research Center of Beijing Fashion Insitution)
Prize Winning Work(s): Growth in Slience:Fungal composite performance research and design applications
"Starting with material creation is the basis of design. The fungal material is not yet mature, but the designer's brave attempts have already yielded good results."
—Lei Zhang

"The potential of mycelium as a sustainable biomaterial has become increasingly evident in recent years. Although (the industry) still has a long way to go, I am pleased to see that such research is being done in China and that China now has a huge edible mushroom industry, so it is possible to take mycelium research, and even its practical applications, to another level. "
—Aric Chen

About the Work:
The project explores the possible usage of the fungus-based on their properties. The properties of fungi have a powerful decomposition ability, which can transform carbon sources into different organic materials and can also be used for recycling and processing waste crops and even plastics. The formed material can be naturally decomposed in the natural environment and added to the ecological cycle. With its property of impact resistance, the material can be used for express packaging, glass bottle packaging, and wine packaging. Also, the material is waterproof in a short period which can be used to make basins and plates for items. Furthermore, the material will show a rougher and more rustic texture after drying and molding, so it will be used to make tables and chairs, and the physical properties of the material can easily withstand the weight of a large area. The future of fungal materials is promising.

Fungal composite performance research and design applications

Fungal material Chairs

· Visual Design Award ·

Winner:Shenzhen Fringe Art Centre
Prize Winning Work :2020 OCT-LOFT Public Art Exhibition ——Trash New Order
“An exhibition such as Trash New Order is distinctive and creative, promoting the viewer to rethink "garbage" and to appreciate the relationships among things, actions and ideas in daily life.”
—Yan Chen

“This exhibition is an enrichment experience.”
—Yu Guang

About the Work:
Shenzhen Fringe Art Centre was invited to be the curator of the 2020 OCT-LOFT Public Art Exhibition at the OCT Cultural and Creative Park. Each public art exhibition will choose a carrier of the park's public space as an extension of creativity. This year, our theme is about "garbage" and we chose "things" as the carrier to demonstrate our ideas. The exhibition will reorganize the order of things and explore the relationships among people, things, and the environment. The exhibition is based on four principles: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse. For instance, the exhibition space is partitioned by white baskets and recyclable wood panels, which will be returned to the artist's studio for the permanent collection, sent to professional institutions for recycling or reused in other exhibition activities after the exhibition.

2020 OCT-LOFT Public Art Exhibition ——Trash New Order

Souvenirs that made of leftover materials collected at the exhibition

02 · 2021 Sustainable Rural Community Building

· Architectural and Environmental Design Award ·

Winner:Wuzhi Wang(Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association)
Prize Winning Work:De Jia Zero Waste Community
“The concepts that are vigorously promoted in the city are implemented on the Tibetan plateau. The building materials used in the zero-waste community are all recycled materials, and the designers have reorganized the materials to build spaces full of rural characteristics.”
—Jiakun Liu

“The zero-waste community reinforces the concept of environmental protection and declares the living attitude of the herdsmen, practitioners and visitors of Jianzuo Village who practice natural environmental protection.”
—Dongmei Yao

About the Work:Jianzuo Village, located in the area of the Lancang River in Sanjiangyuan, at an average altitude of 4,100 meters. In 2017, the Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association started a public fundraising project to build the De Jia Zero Waste Community. A zero-waste environmental-friendly school (including an activity center, environmental classroom, small exhibition hall, and accommodation) was built of wasted wood, floor, and windows. The building materials (local rammed earth walls) used in the zero-waste community were all recycled from houses abandoned during the Yushu earthquake, and the zero-waste school was built from houses damaged in the earthquake. Herders have also brought traditional and age-old household utensils from their homes. Trying to use waste and transform old things, local people have an opportunity to explore the zero-waste lifestyle and rediscover the beauty of traditional nomadic culture in the process of the school’s interior design.

The outside of the De Jia Zero Waste Community

The inside of the De Jia Zero Waste Community 

· Product Design Award ·

Winners(Tied):Mumu Dai,Yuqing Huang(Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association)
Prize Winning Work:Padrapa Nomads Commune
“The project is to promote ecological protection and sustainable rural development on the Tibetan Plateau by establishing a designer alliance, working together with public welfare designers, product design and development, and providing manual skills training for environmentalists in the Sanjiangyuan, with designers taking on social responsibility and establishing an emotional connection and humanistic care with environmentalists.”
—Dongliang Chen

“I appreciate the project which it establishes a humane connection with the local nomaid community and on one hand, it tries to better protect the lives of the local people by working with them instead of changing or destroying their lifestyles. I also appreciate how the team have overcome the challenges in a clever approach. It has shown their empathy and respect for the local people and their living conditions.”
—Aric Chen

About the Work:
Located at an altitude of 4,600 meters, the nomadic brand Padrapa Nomads Commune was found in 2015. With the support of Yushu government, the Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association, and the designers’ union, herders produced a series of handicraft products setting out a path of sustainable development for the nomadic community. The commune is operating in seven 80 square meter herder’s houses. Felt workshop, soap making workshop, an exhibition hall for traditional herding tools, product showroom, storage room, dormitory and other spacial areas with different functions have been set up one after another. Since 2017, the commune has invited experts such as Mumu, Xing Zhen, Huang Yuqing, Gombo Zeren, Wuzhi, Bao Tingting, and Wang Zeqiang to give product design and business training for Padrapa. Utilizing local cultural symbols and raw materials, the commune designed different series of satchels, hats, scarves, lampshades, cushions, and other household items, and tried to use ghee to develop a highly acclaimed handmade soap. The commune's products are gradually gaining public recognition and acclaim, and have entered the primary stage of sustainable development.

A craftsman is doing handicraft 

An example of the commune’s furniture collection 

Winner(Tied):Eco-Design Research Institute Academy of Arts & Design, Tsinghua University(Designers:Xin Liu,  Zhou Wu, Qi Liang, Zeteng Yan, Shu Li)
Prize Winning Work:An Integrated Squatting/Sitting Duel Use Toilet and Waterless Disposal System for Rural Area
“The flush-free ecological toilet system is designed for families in rural areas with limited access to water in China. It is a practical solution to a real-life problem and provides a good demonstration for the ‘toilet revolution’. Meanwhile, this project demonstrates the values of innovation and artistic. ”
—Dongliang Chen

“This project solves a serious, large-scale problem in a convincing way. It appears to have done so by considering as many variables as possible: not only technically, but also in terms of functionality, health, cost, practicality, and also the needs, habits, and local culture of the users.”
—Aric Chen

About the Work:The project is a flush-free ecological toilet system designed for families in rural areas with limited access to water. The product system mainly includes a humanized flush-free commode series, and a low-cost flush-free fecal and urine ecological treatment equipment. The system has the advantages of low cost, little environmental impact, wide use scenarios, economic sustainability, and user friendly. Also, it can be widely used in areas where water sources are scarce, water is not available in winter and municipal pipeline facilities are lacking. In the boom of beautiful countryside construction, undoubtedly the system serves as an important example and demonstrates the promising future of the market.

An Integrated Squatting/Sitting Duel Use Toilet and Waterless Disposal System for Rural Area

An Integrated Squatting/Sitting Duel Use Toilet and Waterless Disposal System for Rural Area

· Visual Design Award ·

Winner:Fang Qing Song Team(Ming Sun, Jiaqi Ma, Chuhan Liang, Qinyi Zhao)
Prize Winning Award: Hiking Trail Experience Design for Qing Shan Village
“The project is completed. The graphic design and illustrations of the entire project are apt to the content. ”
—Da Zhang

About the Work:
The Longwu Reservoir in Qingshan Village was built in 1971 to provide drinking water for more than four thousand people in the surrounding area. Due to the shortage of funds and lack of effective management, the reservoir's pollution level gradually deepened. The project team worked with the local government on "environmental co-governance" to raise villagers' awareness of environmental protection, and reduce the unreasonable use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides through environmental education such as permaculture, food waste composting, waste sorting, and the most effective agricultural management practices. At the same time, in order to achieve harmonious relationships among visitors, villagers, and the rural environment, and to better convey the concept of environmental protection and development to the public, a new design of sightseeing tours and attractions along the reservoir was developed to better convey the story of Qingshan Village to every visitor.

The Brochure of Qing Shan Village

03 · 2021 Youth Innovative Design Award 

Winner:Hao Li(One Take Architects)
Prize Winning Award:Program SPARK: Raise Me Up
“The project uses a closed-loop approach of creation, experience, sharing and interation to design a creative and spiritual healing program for left-behind children. It combines people, events, and things in an engaging way. With its experienced operation and replicability, the project will benefit more left-behind children.” 
—Na Zhang

“The focus of design creation is not necessarily on the result, but also on the process. TheProject provides the opportunity for left-behind children to participate in craft construction. This humanistic care adds a bit of warmth to materials and structures, which are originally cold objects, and may plant the seeds of more possibilities for the children. We hope that in addition to using environmentally friendly materials, the children will be guided to make functional devices and use them.” 
—Huidong Wang 

About the Work:
Program SPARK is initiated by a group of architects from the One Take Architects. This non-profit program provides left-behind children construction and art education which connect the rural and urban areas allowing children in the rural area to expand their career possibilities and giving them a more imaginable future. Eventually, the program will bring sustainable support to rural development. Since 2017, the program has been continuously operated for three years. Based on the concept of open-source curriculum design, Program SPARK has gradually developed and perfected a new summer camp for art education based on the left-behind childrens’ psychological and educational status. The designed courses will take space installation construction as a starting point followed by several inspiring art education courses for children aged from 8 years old to 14 years old.

Interactive installation design for Program SPARK

Interactive installation design for Program SPARK

04 · Award Finalists

From May 15 to May 25, we invited the media partners of this award to serve as the evaluation Committee , and finally selected a total of 118 works to enter the final evaluating process. The list of finalists is announced as follows, congratulations to the finalists designers/teams. 

· 2021 Sustainable Urban Community Building*names sorted alphabetically 

Visual Design Award(20):
Yidong Cai; Wei Chen; Ruoyu Cheng; Da Yu Community; Jinyu Feng; Xingjian Huang, Hongyu Zhu, Yuxin Chen, Liping Wang, Xiang Li, Shucan Wang; Nanjin Li; Shenzhen Fringe Art Center; Ruijie Sun; Yifei Wang; Yuanzhao Xia; Dongliang Xue, Kim Taehyeon, Choi Gyuwon; Yuting Xue; Yejie Yang; Haiming Ye; Yuling Yu, Yuqing Wang; Anda Yue, Yu Lu, Yibing Liu, Guanyi Wu; Ruining Zhang; Yanlin Zhu

Architectural and Environmental Design Award(9):
Na An, Zhiqing Li; Yanni Cai; Fan Chen; Jiexin Cheng; Jiexin Cheng; Da Yu Community; Yi Liu; Jiayin Wu; Ning Zhang, Yafei Yang; Infinity Mind

Product Design Award(16):
Bentu Design; Ting Gong; Lili He; Shuang He; Yu Hu, Jiaxin Wu; Lei Ka I; Mingliang Li; Wenjin Li, Xiaolu Li; Yanran Li; Changxin Li; Ziling Lin; En Liu; Jiajia Song, Hongjun Yang, Haotong Zhang, Yuan Yuan; Xinyi Wang; Anda Yue, Yu Lu, Yibing Liu, Guanyi Wu; Tianyue Zhang, Tara Maurice

· 2021 Sustainable Rural Community Building:
*names sorted alphabetically 

Visual Design Award(10):
Boxiang Ban; Fang Fang; Guojian Liang; Lujia Lin, Qianhu Ling, Qunrao Zhu, Xinyi Zhou; Yixi Lu; Magnus Valdemarsson; Wantang Peng; Ting Ran; Ming Sun, Jiaqi Ma, Qinyi Zhao, Chuhan Liang; Shiwei Zhu 

Architectural and Environmental Design Award(20):Xinrui Ge; Jenny; Xianying Li, Jiameng Wang, Qinchuan Zhan, Yuxiao Xu, Gaofeng Mi, Xuemei He, Ping Ji; Yuejiu Li; Qing Hai Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association; Daixue Shen; Minjie Si; Taliesin Studio; Jiafeng Tan; Xingchang Tao; Chu Xiao, Jiamei Yao, Han Han; Chao Xie, Jiating Yang, Xiao Dang; Xuan Xue; Motong Yang; Nan Yang; Chuanwen Yu; Yuxia Zhang; Ziqi Zhang, Congzhe Zhu; Yan Zhou; Feng Zhu

Product Design Award(12): Maxence; Bentu One; Qing Hai Snowland Great Rivers Environmental Protection Association; Hongsheng Wang; Kunwu Xu, Bingbing Jiang; Ping Wu; Yuping Zhou; Ran Huang; Zixuan Dong; Ran Qian; Bin Yu; Magnus Valdemarsson ; Qi Liang; Ji Liang; Zhihua Cui

· 2021 Youth Innovative Award (31): *names sorted alphabetically
Hanchu Chu; Hanchu Chu, Ziqing Quan; Da Li San Shi ATLAS; Yalan Dan; Yi Ding; Dixuan Gao; Ting Gong; Jiawei Guo; Yuting Hou; Yuting Hou, Xinchen Pan; Yu Hu, Jiaxin Wu; Jenny; Hao Li; Ruoxi Li; Changxin Li; Yating Lian; Pan Long; Mingsheng Ni; Xinyi Rong; Hang Su; Jingyi Sun; Ming Sun; Ming Sun, Jiaqi Ma, Chuhan Liang, Qinyi Zhao; Zhaoren Sun; Mulan Wang; Xinyi Wang; Motong Yang; Wei Yuan; Yitong Yue; Feng Zhu; Jiabo Zhu, Jiamin Qin

05 · Special Acknowledgements

· Final Evaluation Committee:

Product Design:
Aric Chen: Independent curator and writer, professor and director of the Design and Innovation College and the curatorial lab at Tongji University, curatorial director of Miami Design Fair
Nagaoka Kenmei: Founder of D&DEPARTMENT, Design Activist 
Dongliang Chen: Vice President of China Industrial Design Association, President of Beijing Industrial Design Promotion Association
Yingjia Yao: Vice-president of Lenovo, General manager of Lenovo research center, Chief designer of Lenovo, EMBA of China Europe Business School

Lei Zhang: Founder of Pin Wu and Rong Design Library, Chief Designer, Initiator of plan “From Yu Hang”, Curator of "Róng" design exhibition

Visual Design:
Yan Chen: General manager of User Research and Experience Design Department at Tencent Holdings Ltd. 
Feng Gao:
Head of Creative Design Center of Alibaba Group, Head of Creative Design Center of Ant Group, Core member of Ali Design Committee, Ali Marketing Committee
Yu Guang:
Co-founder of A BLACK COVER DESIGN, Badger & Press, and TOMEETYOU Graphics 
Cunzhen Lin:
央Vice-dean of School of Design Central Academy of Fine Arts
Da Zhang: 
Designer of Layefe, Founder of Boundless , Part-time designer of Shang Xia (2009-2016) 

Environment Design: 
Hong Duan: Independent Producer of Eastern TV Station, Producer and director of 《Dream Home》 
Jiakun Liu:
Architectural designer,Founder of Jia Kun Architects
Dongmei Yao:
Distinguished Professor of Central Academy of Fine Arts, New York Registered Architect
Jing Zuo:
Curator, rural worker; once the art director of 798 Iberia Contemporary Art Center in Beijing; Founded and edited magazines and books such as 《Contemporary Art & Investment》,《Bi Shan》,《Bai Gong》,《Yi Xian Bai Gong》

Youth Innovation:
Qiao Cui: President of Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation
Peng Gao: 
Director of Future Design Innovation Research Center, Beijing Normal University
Jingyuan Shi:
Member of the Advisory Board of the Yale Beijing Center, Chair of the East Asian Studies Council at Yale University 
Huidong Wang: 
TNC(China)Chief Strategy Officer
Na Zhang:
Individual Designer, Founder of Reclothing Bank
Boju Zhang:
Director of Friends of Nature, Director of Public Relations and Strategic Communication of Ministry of Ecology and Environment, Member of the Environmental Management of Chinese Society of Environmental Sciences 

· Evaluation Committee for the Preliminary Selection · :
Mingcheng Liu,ZUCZUG,Project Manager of naze naze
Yongshi Luo, Department Manager of 《Design 360°》
Wei Luo,Chief Editor of Topys 
Chen Qian VO,Organizer of LOOKURATING
Ri Zhan Jun, Founder of Japan Design Station, famous design blogger 
Xidan Shen,Secretary-general of Sany Foundation
Zhenyu Wang, China Environmental Journalists Association
Congyi Wang, Editor of INTERNI Magazine
Nanli Wang, Art Express 
Chao Wu, Founder of Zaomedesign
Feng Yan, Associate Professor, Chinese National Academy of Art
Nan Yang, Yuting Huang, Co-founder of UnidesignLab
Liqun Zhao, Co-founder of LCD design research office
Xiao Zhang, Senior member of brand marketing, Ant Group




China Forum of Environmental Journalists (CFEJ)

Guidance Institutions (A-Z)

Beijing Design Week, The Nature Conservancy, International Center for Creativity and Sustainable Development under the auspices of UNESCO


Alibaba Philanthropy, Alibaba Design, Beijing Industrial Design Promotion Organization,
San Lian Life Lab, Tencent Foundation, Tencent Tech For Good,
Customer Research & User Experience Design Center, Artron. Net, Art Express


A Black Cover Design, D&Department, Gaoling Foundation, JiaKun Architects, Juan Zong Books,
klee klee, Lenovo, Nan Zhou Cultural & Creative, Pin Wu, Rong Design Library, Sany Foundation, ReGeneration, 
Vanke Foundation, Reclothing Bank, Boundless, Alipay Foundation, Friends of Nature, Zuo Jing Studio

Media Partner(A-Z)

Cai Xin, 《Design360°》,《Dream Home》Dragon TV, IFENG. com,
INTERNI, 《Wallpaper* 》, Lookurating, Japan Design Station,
《The New York Times for Kids China Xu Xu Duo Duo》,Topys, ZaomeDesign, UnidesignLab

Academic Support(A-Z)

Future Design Center Beijing Normal University, Urban and Rural Spatial Practice and Research Center of Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Tongji University College of Design and Innovation, Yale University, China Central Academy of Fine Arts

About the Event

In 2020, the global epidemic triggered society to think deeply and act in the public interest about human and nature, and environmental protection. How to better solve these social issues that determine the future of nature? How to integrate art design in a sustainable and zero-pollution lifestyle? In addition to innovation and practicality, should good design consider environmental sustainability, restraint, honesty, simplicity, and eternality?

The United Nations established the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 with 17 core goals to help the planet become a more environmentally friendly, peaceful, and prosperous place to live. Goal 11 and 12 focusing on sustainable community, and responsible consumption and production, prompt creators of art and humanities to rethink the relationships among art, nature, and environment. Also, the question how they can promote and advocate for community sustainability. At present, over half of the planet’s inhabitants, approximately 3.5 billion people, live in cities. This number will continue to grow. Rural areas will be emptied by then which will enlarged the gap between urban and rural areas. The United Nations predicts that all countries will be more inclusive and engaged in interactive and sustainable planning and management. Countries will also want to strengthen economical, social, and environmental relationships between cities, sub-urban and rural areas.

Beijing Contemporary Art Foundation (BCAF) believes in the concept of “Cultural innovation and art for the public good” having rich experiences of cross-border cooperation and astute insights into the future. We work with distinguished organizations and experts from international organizations, governments, communities, environmental protection, academies, architects, fashion industry, design, art, technology, media, and other industries. Together we held the annual professional award: “China ECO Design Award” to raise public awareness on sustainable design and encourage the public to act on such ideas. It suggests integrating the beauty of art and design into people’s daily life and deepens the relationship between design and the environment. Also, it cultivates the future crossover collaboration of public welfare organizations and others.

The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will be held in Kunming, China, from October 11 to 24, 2021. The conference will establish the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, a new 10-year global action plan for biodiversity conservation following the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. The China ECO DESIGN Award has officially joined the pre-event of the COP15 Natural and Cultural Diversity Summit. With this award, we want to raise people’s awareness of environmental development and biodiversity, and call for their action.