For many years, the perception of “Made in China” was cheap, mass-produced goods of low quality – but that is now a generalisation which cannot be made.
China has undergone a revolution. With a focus on technology, a commitment to improved manufacturing techniques and better labour conditions, along with advanced training and state-of-the-art equipment, the Asian powerhouse now boasts some of the world’s highest quality goods. Customer and client needs are top of mind and standards are high.
It is a change that has been noticed by heavyweights and newcomers spanning a range of industries worldwide. From consumables to construction, fashion to film, more and more companies are turning their attention to, or back towards, China.
Globally recognized leader in public art and architectural design solutions UAP (Urban Art Projects) is one such company which has seen the value of fabricating work in the Asian nation. With a strong Chinese studio and workshop, UAP calls on the expertise of local and specialised crafts people, engineers, metal workers, carpenters and painters to bring the vision of artists and architects to life.
UAP Australia’s General Manager Michael Walsh said the company’s Chinese-fabricated artworks have now been installed in the Middle East, Australia and the United States.
“The quality of work from China is now just as high as the company’s Australian and American expertise, and we’ve entrusted our Chinese design and manufacturing capability with some of our most high-profile projects over the past 4 years,” Michael Walsh said. “Through the right planning and management of the overall project, great results are achieved in a very efficient time frame.”
“The quality, precision and overall impact of these pieces is a testament to the professionalism and work ethic of the Chinese who are committed to producing only the best to shift that negative, outdated public perception that links their country with low quality production.”
This includes working on elements that make up award-winning installations like Wahat Al Karama. As the centrepiece of the United Arab Emirates Memorial Park, only the best quality would do for this project which was designed to honour sacrifices made by the country’s fallen heroes. UAP’s Chinese office was tasked with manufacturing 850 cast aluminium panels for the sculpture. The high-end production and overall result of the installation gained worldwide acclaim, with the artwork taking out the 2017 American Architecture Prize and reaching the World Architecture Festival Shortlists.
This was one project of many where UAP utilised the skills of its Chinese staff.
Wahat Al Karama by Idris Khan, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Top image by Roger D’Souza. Bottom image by Jonathan Gainer Surface Photography
Sixty laser-cut and hand-formed stainless steel modules were fabricated for Nuage, Promenade, a structural canopy which transforms the Miami Design District. More than 800 cast aluminium panels, four desk encasements and a column wrap were created for the lobby of a building in New York’s Hudson Yards, America’s largest private real estate development. UAP’s Chinese arm used cutting-edge computational design technology to fabricate an exterior cladding system of folded and perforated panels for SITE Santa Fe in New Mexico – and the list goes on.
Nuage, Promenade by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Miami, FL. Bottom image by Paul Tahon
Hudson Yards by KPF, New York, USA. Bottom image by Pamela Pasco
SITE Santa Fe by SHoP Architects, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Bottom image by Jeffrey Goldberg
UAP Shanghai’s General Manager Steven Shen and Principal of Art + Design Dane Currey said the staff were dedicated to producing only the best.
“After over 10 years operating on the ground in China, UAP has been able to not only play witness to, but also participate at the forefront of the country’s emergence as a skilled economy, capable of staying up to date with the latest technology, training and techniques to ensure the continued delivery of pieces which perfectly reflect an artist’s vision,” Dane Currey said.
“Our office, like countless others in China, is meeting the maturing demands of the local market which these days expects only the best and has resulted in the tangible effects of a shift in the way items are produced in the country, for both here and abroad.”
Just like thousands of companies from all types of industry, UAP is embracing the benefits of manufacturing in China. From a negative reputation, the “Made in China” label is now a testament to quality and hard work – a shift in perception which will only continue as more and more people see the results of what has been named “China’s industrial-revolution”.
Text by Clare Christensen for UAP