Design Masters’ Speech丨Behind the Disappearance of the Feeling of the New Year
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Mr. Feng Jicai said that we have not looked at the folk culture from the cultural perspective, which is the crucial point. The national character of Chinese people is not reflected in the Summer Palace or the Forbidden City, but deeply and distinctly reflected in the folk-custom of the Spring Festival. With the acceleration of the pace of modern life, people seem to be more and more difficult to stop and enjoy the time. The slow pace of the past can only exist in yellowing books. Even the national celebration of the Spring Festival seems to be limited to giving red envelops and having New Year’s Eve dinner.

01 Are we still friendly today?


As our material life becomes more and more rich and there are more and more recreational activities, the “Feeling of the New Year” is becoming less and less. Some people say that this is a necessary process for urban development, which is a process of survival of the fittest, selecting the essence and discarding the dross. It is also the impact of new consumerism and amusing ourselves to death on traditional culture and traditional customs.

The fast-paced modern urban civilization is gradually squeezing the living space of traditional civilization, and the sense of ritual of traditional culture has gradually disappeared in the fast-paced life. Even traditional Chinese festivals such as Spring Festival, Tomb-Sweeping Day, Mid-Autumn Festival and Double Ninth Festival are gradually becoming festivals for rest.

But what has disappeared is more than the feeling of the New Year and traditional culture. What’s gone is that special Chinese and thick human touch and family atmosphere! When we neglect the protection of traditional culture, which leads to the fading of cultural inheritance, we will eventually suffer the consequences of losing our unique Chinese national character.

As a global innovation highland, while leading design innovation, Hebei International Industrial Design Week does not forget the important task of cultural inheritance, and integrates urban development and cultural inheritance into the Xiongan Design Forum activities by pointing out problems and persuading them to correct, and utilizes the power of global design to discuss the pain points of social development. At the 2nd Hebei International Industrial Design Week-Xiongan Design Forum, Wang Zhong, Dean of Central Academy of Fine Arts, City Design School, led the audience to change their perspectives and look behind the economic development, infrastructure mania, and urban leap.


Wang Zhong, Dean of Central Academy of Fine Arts, City Design School

In his ppt, there is a set of data: In 2018, more than 61.5% of skyscrapers in the world were built in China. What do you feel in your mind when you first look at this set of data? Proud of China’s economic growth? Thumb up for the infrastructure maniac? Proud of urban progress? I saw that Du Hui Village, a thousand-year-old village in Xi’an, has been demolished (Du Hui, a famous general in the Qin Dynasty, the idiom of “express gratitude to one’s benefactor” came from here); the viaduct of the Second Ring Road cut off the urban texture of Beijing Yonghe Lama Temple and the Temple of Earth...


Perhaps at this time, some people will put forward the views of urban development process and survival of the fittest.

Indeed, the achievements of China’s economic development in the past four decades have been well known to all. We have benefited greatly from them and we are deeply proud of them. But from another perspective, we must admit that our city, as Dean Wang Zhong said, “it is becoming a soulless city”, and our urban development is abandoning traditional culture and historical heritage.

Dean Wang Zhong divided the cities into percentages, with hardware such as infrastructure accounting for 60%, and software such as culture accounting for 40%. With the rapid development of modern civilization, China’s second-tier and third-tier cities can meet 60% of the hardware, but they are all down to 40% of the software. The city’s cultural heritage is facing a serious lack. As Dean Wang Zhong said: “Culture is the largest real estate of a country or even a city. Economy can make a country strengthen, military can make a country strong, and only culture can make a country great.”

02 To mend the fragments of culture and nature with design

Fortunately, when humans are catching up with material civilization, they do not forget the construction of spiritual civilization. More and more people realize the importance of cultural inheritance in urban development. However, these outstanding cases are only a drop in the ocean compared to China’s lost traditional culture and pearl of history. Especially the protection of large cultural relics is more difficult, because the promotion and implementation of a plan often requires a lot of manpower, material resources, financial resources and interdisciplinary cooperation of expert teams.


Wang Hui, Founding partner of URBANUS

Mr. Wang Hui, the founding partner of URBANUS, as an architectural designer who participated in the construction of the Green Building Exhibition Center in Xiongan New Area, once shared his other large-scale cases for protection of cultural and architectural heritage at the 3rd HIDW Xiongan Design Forum.

At the 2rd National Youth Games in Shanxi Province 2019, on the basis of not dismantling the existing fire-taking platform, fire-lighting platform and square facilities, Wang Hui and his team integrated nature and acoustic devices, cultural inheritance and environmental protection into the activity of lighting the holy fire at the Xihoudu historic site (the earliest known fire-making historic site in the world, about 1.8 million years ago, the source of the fire of human civilization). The Holy Fire Square and the surrounding environment are integrated into oneness with the technique of land landscape, forming a magical, spiritual and philosophical place, and reinterpreting the unity of nature and man in this unique area with contemporary design.


Xihoudu Historic Site

As an architect, Wang Hui is lucky, because he can repair the ruins of history with design, and then repair the ruins of the current human spirit. At the same time, he also said, “In this great architectural era, facing the development of the world and the relationship between man and nature, architects should have a heart to reflect and measure the world, and use architectural design to mend culture and natural fragments in a natural, organic, and developmental way, which cannot be simply and rudely intervened or paint the lily.”

03 Seeing cultural heritage in Xiongan

In the past two years, we are delighted to see the rise of culture and creative industry of Forbidden City, the popularity of programs such as “national treasure” and “Updated, the Forbidden City” programs, and the prevailing of Li Ziqi phenomenon throughout the country. These excellent practice cases are bringing traditional culture into our vision, and more and more traditional folk customs are reawakened through activities with a sense of ritual.



In 2017, the CPC Central Committee and the State Council decided to establish the Xiongan New Area in Hebei. Focusing on the planning and construction of the new area, General Secretary Xi Jinping especially emphasized that “We are persisting in protecting and promoting the excellent Chinese traditional culture and continuing the historical context” to raise cultural inheritance to a whole new level. We also see the responsibility of inheriting the excellent Chinese culture from top to bottom.

In the process of building a new cultural city, a model city, and a Millennium City with rich temperament and unique humanistic spirit, the planning and construction of Xiongan New Area gives us a sense of a new future in which ancient civilizations and modern civilizations complement each other. Comrade Chen Gang, then member of the Standing Committee and vice governor of Hebei Province, secretary of the Party Working Committee and director of the Management Committee of Xiongan New Area, and now secretary of the Leading Party  Group, vice chairman and first secretary of the Secretariat of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions, also mentioned at the launching ceremony of HIDW that “There will be no future of Xiongan without cultural inheritance”.


Chen Gang, Secretary of the Leading Party Group, Vice Chairman and First Secretary of the Secretariat of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions

As the city of future, Xiongan New Area has the cultural heritage of continuing with the past and opening up the future and even creation of a world, so keeping pace with the times and forging ahead in an innovative and enterprising spirit are the best ways to inherit and continue traditional culture for guarding this millennium-planned future city in today’s highly developed modern civilization, compared with the existing literature and classics.

In today’s special era, the development of Xiongan New Area is undoubtedly a milestone, and cultural inheritance plays a role of innovation, leading and demonstrating. In order to complete this long-distance race with higher quality, HIDW itself as a media gathers experts from industry, culture, architecture, society and other fields through activities such as the Xiongan Design Forum to inject fresh blood into the development and inheritance of Xiongan New Area and  enlighten and influence the revival of traditional culture with professional, unique opinions and design experience and achievements by together discussing on the innovation and application of design in cultural inheritance.

The 4th HIDW will be held in September 2021. The topic discussion on cultural heritage and innovation is still going on. Let us gather together at the 4th HIDW and continue to find the best solution for cultural heritage and innovation. Let us also meet in the future a certain year, together to welcome the return of the long-lost “Feeling of New Year”!