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Zara Arshad

London, United Kingdom

Designer (Graphic Design)

Member since September 23, 2008

  • “Smart and Mini Architecture for Local communities and Low income,” or SMALL Architecture, was founded by architect, Li Ye, and is the Beijing chapter of Architecture for Humanity. Barely a year old, SMALL have undertaken a number of socially-led projects to offer design as a service to the often forgotten local Chinese communities. We met with Li Ye this month to discover more about the organization and working as an NGO in China.

    Read more at Notes on Design

  • Sean Gallagher on China’s Growing Sands

    Environment, Audio/Visual Design

    Sean Gallagher is a British photographer based in China. He has lived and worked across the world, spending extended periods of time in locations as diverse as Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, the UAE and Europe. His most recent work focuses on social and environmental issues, such as desertification and its effects across China, and has recently been published in National Geographic China and The New York Times, and screened at the COP15 Climate Change summit in Copenhagen as part of the Earth Journalism Awards. We spoke with Sean, upon his most recent return to Beijing from Inner Mongolia, to discover more.

    Read more at Notes on Design

  • Originally from South Korea, Currie Lee is a fashion designer now based in Beijing. After retiring from law, Currie founded DimSum of all things Asian: D-SATA by CuR, an ethics-based brand that subtly incorporates luxury fashion with social and environmental concern. Her products are carefully crafted with upcycled, natural materials, such as snake, fish and frog skin (originally caught for consumption in local Asian villages); all pieces are also manufactured in Southeast Asian “cottage industries” by women who earn a living income (vs. minimum wage). In an exceptional demonstration of social responsibility, Currie illustrates that “going green and ethical” does not necessarily mean boring and low-market.

    Read more at Notes on Design

  • Design is a powerful tool. Its impact and fundamental role in politics were the focus of an exhibition at the V&A in London last year, “Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970,” which explored how designers used Cold War technologies, products and aspects of popular culture to envision imagined utopias. The overall analysis illustrated how design may be understood as “a species of military uniform, a powerful method of signalling allegiances and aspirations, of rallying ones own side, and intimidating the perceived enemy.”

    Recently, however, design has developed another political role. This arrives at a time where the so-called threat of terrorism has successfully created risk societies within the major democracies; speculations about the latest conspiracy to blow up buildings, sabotage commercial airliners and poison water supplies still dominate the headlines. This has also opened up a new playground for designers. Tobias Wong, for example, has created a range of products that reference the 9/11 attacks, including Boxcutter and NY Pocketbook. He has resorted to this type of work because he is “frustrated that other designers don’t.

    A series of projects has also emerged in response to the recent debate about climate change. British design duo &Made adopted this theme for their self-initiated project Climatised Objects, addressing the dangers presented by global warming. The flagship piece Either Oar is a timber dining table inspired by recent spates of flas...

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design