The name “Liao Dawei” is simple and modest, yet it seems to carry a sense of seriousness and rigidity. However, the industrial designer Liao Dawei that the reporter met is very friendly, elegant, and has a humorous and interesting personality. With 15 years of professional experience, he graduated from a prestigious university, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, and currently serves as the General Manager of Chongqing Jialantu Design Co., Ltd. He is one of the first senior industrial designers in Chongqing. Under the guidance of the Chongqing Municipal Economy and Information Technology Commission, he jointly initiated the establishment of public service platforms and organizations such as the “Chongqing Industrial Design Innovation Center” and the “Chongqing Industrial Design Industry Alliance” to fully promote the development of the industry. Recently, he was honored as one of the “Top Ten Industrial Designers in Sichuan and Chongqing” at the 2021 Sichuan-Taiwan Industrial Design Awards.
However, in Liao Dawei’s eyes, he is not extraordinary. He said, “Honor is an incentive, making me more cautious, diligent, and hardworking on the future path of struggle.” Today, let’s get closer to this man from Chongqing and enter his design world.
From “Industrial Craftsmanship” to “Industrial Element”
The “Spring” of Industrial Design Has Arrived
“When I was filling in my major in university, I didn’t know what industrial design was, my major was allocated to me. After the allocation, when I saw these four words, I thought it might be quite interesting, so I decided to study it,” Liao Dawei humorously recalls the starting point of his career in industrial design.
At that time, Liao Dawei didn’t know that this seemingly random allocation by fate would determine the direction of his career for decades. “Looking back at that allocation years ago, I am very lucky, because industrial design has a broad future. Over the years, with the development of the times, the improvement of social productivity, and the innovation of production factors, I have witnessed this industry go from being obscure to popular, and my team and I have grown mature while continuously facing challenges.”
When he first graduated from university, Liao Dawei was involved in design commission work, which is undoubtedly the “downstream” of the industry. With the increasing national emphasis on industrial design and the accelerated development of the company itself, Liao Dawei’s team seized the opportunity of industrial development, gradually entered the field of product R&D and achieved a series of results, and touched the threshold of the “upstream”.
“Industrial design should participate in product definition and planning work,” Liao Dawei told reporters, and the company has had preliminary practice in this area. From commissioned design to independent design and development, and then to product definition and planning, the path that Liao Dawei’s team has taken over the years seems to reflect the transition of industrial design from a “industrial craftsmanship” for designing products to an “industrial element” that promotes innovation.
In response, Liao Dawei sighed, “Industrial design, at first, was only a ‘craft’ teaching designers how to design products. Now, industrial design has spanned the entire industrial chain. On the one hand, it transforms the latest scientific and technological achievements into practical, easy-to-use, and desirable industrial products through creative activities; on the other hand, it has become an ‘industrial element’ to increase the added value of products, shape corporate brands, and promote the transformation and upgrading of manufacturing.”
“In the trend of the domestic perception of industrial design evolving from ‘craft’ to ‘element’, we are also constantly rising,” Liao Dawei said. “Just like the ‘Chongqing Industrial Design Innovation Center’ and ‘Chongqing Industrial Design Industry Alliance’ that our company participated in building, these industrial design platforms are integrating design resources, focusing on industrial innovation issues, striving to empower more industries and fields with industrial design, and solve more difficult problems and pain points.”
During the process of “riding the momentum”, Liao Dawei and his team have made continuous achievements. They have signed practical training and joint training agreements with several universities such as Sichuan Fine Arts Institute and Chongqing University of Technology, established a talent training mechanism, and cultivated a large number of high-level design talents. In 2019, Liao Dawei was awarded the honor of “Top Ten Industrial Design Promoters in Chongqing” by the Chongqing Municipal Economy and Information Technology Commission; in 2020, Liao Dawei was identified as one of the first senior industrial designers in Chongqing…
Smooth sailing, like in a warm spring. “At present, China’s economy continues to maintain a strong growth momentum, the ‘manufacturing powerhouse’ is moving towards a ‘manufacturing strong country’ in large strides, and innovation-driven has been elevated to a national strategy, all of which have brought a ‘spring breeze’ to industrial design,” Liao Dawei believes. As the breakthrough point for industrial transformation and upgrading and quality and efficiency improvement, business models and new formats such as “design + brand + technology + culture” are flourishing – “Now, it is the ‘spring’ of industrial design.”
Preserve Innovation and Craftsmanship
To ensure the “spring” never goes out of fashion
Despite the “brilliant spring”, Liao Dawei is not blindly optimistic. He calmly said, “As a designer, we should never stop innovating, never forget to speak with excellent products, and never forget to take on social responsibility. Only in this way can the ‘spring’ never be outdated.”
He talks the talk and walks the walk.
In mid-2020, Liao Dawei’s team independently designed and developed a product that was widely recognized by the market – the UV Air Sterilizer.
The device is small in size. When turned on, it can effectively kill viruses, fungi, and other microbes in the air through UV light in a short time. It can coexist with humans and is mainly used in small spaces such as outpatient rooms in hospitals where there is a large flow of people and face-to-face medical consultations are necessary. It greatly reduces the possibility of disease transmission and cross-infection.
“At that time, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were thinking every day about what we could do for society with our design capabilities. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a big thing, but we have to do something.” So, Liao Dawei called the team to continuously “brainstorm”, and after a lot of effort, the UV Air Sterilizer was finally launched.
“Our initial intention of designing this product was not to make money, but it was widely recognized by the market and sales were very good, which was an unexpected gain.” Liao Dawei had a slight smile on his face.
The clever design of the UV Air Sterilizer brought Liao Dawei’s team a double harvest of economic and social benefits. And there are not a few works of the same level under their hands.
Liao Dawei introduced to the reporter another proud work of his team – the Rui’er vinyl record player. This record player meets the needs of vinyl record lovers. While retaining the style of traditional vinyl record players, it adds technology elements such as Bluetooth and smart speakers, making retro vinyl records radiate modern vitality. Opening the JD.com link for this product, you will see that the product is highly appreciated by consumers and has a very high praise rate.
The smart handle for rail transit, which shined at the Smart Expo last year, is also one of Liao Dawei’s team’s masterpieces. The traditional handle has been transformed into an intelligent passive display terminal, increasing the position for placing train advertisements and improving the reach rate of information.
Looking through the product list independently designed and developed by the team led by Liao Dawei, the reporter saw that many works are bold and innovative and have great ingenuity. Liao Dawei has presided over and participated in the design of over a hundred products covering medical devices, consumer electronics, special equipment, and other fields since he started working. The related projects have won numerous top international awards such as Red Dot and IF, and have helped many domestic and foreign enterprises complete product design and successfully achieve industrial transformation.
“Thank you for granting me the honor of ‘Top Ten Industrial Designers in Sichuan and Chongqing’ at the 2021 Sichuan-Taiwan Industrial Design Awards. I will do my utmost in the future to brighten the brand with design, serve the industry with design, give back to society with design, and make the ‘spring color’ of the industry even more charming.” Liao Dawei spoke with great confidence.
(Sichuan Economic Network reporter Liao Zhenjie)
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