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Redmar van der Woert:


What is your impression of Shanghai Bund?

I know about the historical value of the Bund. Grown to be a major financial center in Asia. Unique because of its blend of styles from western culture and now a famous place for tourists as the most impressive colonial buildings in Shanghai can be seen there, with a view on the modern skyline of Shanghai. Very interesting to me is that it seems to be a place to connect people from all over the world.

Please talk about your understanding of “new decade, new needs, new ideas”;

in the theme of this competition, and what are the new needs and new challenges you feel?​

Many people these days seek for meaning in their lives. This is useful when the person looking for it is chained by meaninglessness. Meaninglessness, that is the fading of an old bearing world of ideas, truths, values in its distinction from existing reality. However, it won’t take long before this experience becomes meaningless itself. It disappears now that mechanics and technology have provided a comfortable housing.

The way we live our lives nowadays is bound by replication and its economical ratio, with no need for a metaphysical base. No matter how great your philosophical work, art piece or music composition is, it’s either publish or perish. The aftershock of this reduction are still penetrating into human thought and existence.

The challenge in this new decade for design is bringing something that is truly meaningful. Finding meaning is something you won’t get through material gain, but through thought. In a world of capitalism where people think they crave for meaning, how am I going to give them something that will satisfy them and will stimulate their real needs?

Please talk about your understanding of design and innovation based on your design practice.

In light of the theme, where in the Bund you will find a connection between the past and future, I am looking for a way to connect a lost world of meaning to the nihilistic and capitalistic world we live in today. The innovation here is primary on the level of thought and secondary on technique. In the world of jewelry making I use modern techniques like 3D printing. Through it I show an ancient wisdom through the meaning in its images. The name of my brand, Modern Alchemy, therefor is no mere coincidence. Like the alchemists were looking for gold, they were combining modern science for not only being able to make physical gold, but primary for finding the true meaning the gold represents. Gold as a reference to the Good. If my jewelry can be a stimulance to starting someone’s philosophical journey and making them a ‘better person’, I think I truly achieved something meaningful and created a lifestyle related solution.

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