150.000 visitors for ‘Why We Design’


Why We Design, the solo-exhibition by Dutch Design studio thonik came to a successful conclusion. It attracted 150.000 visitors, a new record for an exhibition at the Power Station of Design in Shanghai. The show focused on moving graphics, animation and other time-based media. In eleven rooms, eleven projects were highlighted that are exemplary of eleven underlying motives. Visitors were invited to submerge themselves in thonik’s work by literally walking through the moving images.


The exhibition was well-received among chinese press:

Shanghai record, (blog on WeChat):

“Instead of posters or TV screens, the exhibition features opaque curtains with projections, and invites the audiences to walk through the different work of thonik. The dimmed environment captured our attention and the focus on motion graphics is very effective. The exhibition’s format and impact gave me new insights.”


Fake Art Festival (blog on WeChat) , named Thonik the Visual Design Studio For an Ideal Society. “Both founders of Thonik grew up with an enthusiasm for social democracy, they believe in the abilities of design to promote such value and since the very beginning, their concerns in public affairs have been reflected in the studio’s output.”


Design360, a monthly concept and design magazine, focused on our thoughts upon cultural differences. “While we acknowledge our dutch cultural upbringing is very different to the Chinese… we do not intent to reinforce our values upon people with different backgrounds, on the contrary, we hope to encourage exchange and maybe even clashes between different voices from different locations… We have witnessed the imperfections in our own system, and we hope the others could also reflect upon theirs, we believe in this mutually inspiring process of international interaction.”


Wallpaper China invited thonik to design a special cover, featuring the theme of ‘problem-solvers’. The chinese character for inquiry, 问, is chosen to echo the exhibition title why we design and the maze-like illustration expresses the idea that designers solve problems by asking questions.


At the occasion of the exhibition a Chinese version of the book Why We Design has been published.


Further Info

Why We Design
Order here:

Lars Müller Publishers (english)
isbn: 2019, 978-3-03778-556-0

Powerstation of Art (chinese)
isbn: 2019, 978-7-5321-7089-0

See also