First Chinese Commission for True North

7th December

True North has secured its first-ever Chinese programme commission, to make a 1 x 60’ documentary about four young and dynamic Chinese designers, whose talents are being recognised in the global market.

Designed In China was commissioned by CICC, a well-established funder of Chinese content, based in Beijing. It will also be screened on France O and will be available on the international market. It was developed by Liz McLeod, True North’s Executive Producer for specialist factual programmes.

The programme explains that while products labelled “Made in China” have swept the world for the past decade, there is an urgent need for China to stop imitating and start innovating, if she is to maintain her economic miracle.

This documentary follows four talented young Chinese designers, pioneering the move from ‘Made in China’ to ‘Designed in China.’ Glamorous Guo Pei, a fashion designer who has been compared to Alexander McQueen, combines fantasy and bling to create dresses of staggering originality and scale. Architect Ma Yansong’s designs for Beijing’s traditional neighbourhoods are organic in form and dream-like in effect – and now Parisian and Canadian developers are beating a path to his door, making him the first Chinese architect with an international following. Quirky multi-media artist Ray Lei collaborates with brands like Nike and Smart, wins international awards for his animations and refuses to be type-cast. And award-winning product designer Zhang Lei takes traditional materials – iconically Chinese – and reinvents them for the discerning interior designer of the 21st century.

From the studios of Beijing to hyper-fashionable Shanghai and from traditional villages to bustling cities, this programme reveals how these four attractive and articulate characters set about matching a strongly Chinese aesthetic with the demands of the global market. International experts in design put this unprecedented insider’s look at design in China today in a global context.

Glyn Middleton, Creative Director of True North, said: ““We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with a respected Chinese programme commissioner and to have a foothold in such a vital TV market. The success has been achieved by the efforts of Executive Producer Liz McLeod, who has worked on a number of projects for Chinese commissioners – and we hope it will be the first of many”.

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