Design Exchange forum- The Experts V.S. The Rising Stars_First Half

Design Exchange forum- The Experts V.S. The Rising Stars_First Half
Design Exchange forum- The Experts V.S. The Rising Stars

(First Half) About the Market

      Franz Collection, a porcelain brand from Taiwan has expanded its reach to more than 6,000 sales point around the world under founder Mr. Franz Chen’s leadership. Franz Award started in 2007; the competition offers more than USD$ 35,000 each year and has not asked for the government’s assistance in order to support up-and-coming designers who are interested in porcelain and create a platform for them to compete and exchange ideas.
In this year’s competition, 9 esteemed judges from design, art, porcelain and the cultural creative industry were invited. Moreover, ten finalists have raised questions to exchange ideas with the “masters” regarding what they have encountered on the road of “design”.

**This article has two parts, the first half “About the Market”, the second half “About the Design

The 2016 Franz Award was held in Beijing, the passionate designers and the masters had a great conversation about the market and design. 


Q: Israeli designer -Eden Hevroni 
“Do you think the luxury of porcelain has changed over the years?”
A: President of Ateliers d’Art de France – Mr. Serge Nicole
The luxury image associated with porcelain in Europe changes over time. In the 17th century, it was a political stake of power: European kingdoms that managed to master the know-how of porcelain would be assured of its international influence. A fierce competition arose for the search and the exclusive mastery of porcelain-making secret in Europe.
In the 18th century, this know-how spread throughout Europe and was created by the royal porcelain manufacturers in order to preserve and develop this know-how associated with a luxury use and an aristocratic way of life.

During the 20th century, the use of porcelain became widespread and developed in the public for tableware and luxury brands. Meanwhile, this luxury tableware market has developed an artistic practice of porcelain in the recent 10 years.
Since then, contemporary artists have mastered this material and some works were made, making their ways to art galleries gradually. This material shifted from aristocracy to the practice of art. 

Israeli designer Eden Hevroni won the Gold Medal this year with “VENIN NOIR”- a perfume bottle that adds a touch of fierceness

Q: Canadian designer from Taiwan - Yi-Nung Chou
If my design is more art oriented, is there any marketing strategy for selling? What is the difference between selling art piece and high end product?

Yi-Nung Chou – A Canadian designer from Taiwan won the Excellence Award for her artwork “Blossom” that interprets the silhouette of porcelain through beading.

A: President of Ateliers d’Art de France – Mr. Serge Nicole
If the art market and the high-end luxury market have something common in Europe, I would say each market (art or luxury) is different. Their rules and channels of distribution differ in many respects.
- The art market is run by galleries and the buyers are collectors. Also, art exhibitions are in museums and institutions.
- The luxury market is led by luxury boutiques based on world-renowned brands.
The rules that trigger the art market are different from the ones of the luxury market on several points.
If your works are art-oriented:

1 The issue of the name of the artist who created the work, his biography, his face, the exhibitions in which he participated is essential. (in the case of luxury brand, it is the brand and its strategy instead of the artist that count.)
2 The issue of the excellence of know-how becomes secondary (in the case of luxury brand, the excellence of know-how is essential).
3 The size of works is essential, they must not be small. Otherwise, they would not be credible enough for collectors (in the case of luxury brand, size is incidental).
4 The talk about the work is essential; the history of the origin of the work, how it was imagined, the writings of art critics, exhibition catalogs. Some brochures about your work are essential to reassure collectors (in the case of luxury brand, this does not matter).
A: Franz Collection CEO – Mr. Franz Chen
Artists are more focused on themselves, but to a luxury brand, it is not focused on an individual but a team. It is more inclined to the needs of the consumers. So, is it to become an artist or to establish a brand?
Artists must let people see the highlights under the spotlight; the artist must be charming himself then his artwork would be charming as well. If it’s establishing a brand, the product must be charming but the designer himself would be hiding behind it.
Our lives have become better and to pursue a better taste, you have to make your life more artistic. Art itself will affect the product. If you want it to be accepted by all consumers, the brand itself must make effort to elevate the taste of consumers with art when facing picky consumers.

Franz Collection CEO – Mr. Franz Chen and President of Ateliers d’Art de France - Mr. Serge Nicole browse through the artworks of the finalists, discussing the future possibilities of up-and-coming designers from all over the world.


Q: Professor of Nanjing University of the Arts, China - Yu-Hua Li
How do you price a product?

Professor of Nanjing University of the Arts, China - Yu-Hua Li’s artwork “Freedom” was inspired by Chinese jar and desk lamp. The jar was departed along the traditional ceramic decorative line into three parts, top become the lamp shade, the bottom become the lamp hold, the main decorative graphic of narrative plot is replaced for false mountain and characters as the subject of a stereoscopic image.

A: Franz Collection CEO – Mr. Franz Chen
The Price is relevant to the marketing channel. First, you need to think about who you are going to sell your products to, where would the consumers shop and which media would they be drawn to. After thinking thoroughly about the marketing channels then decide the price of the product. Whether it’s produced in a large or small quantity or will it be sold to high-end art galleries or department stores. About pricing a product, the Japanese management guru – Kazou Inamori once said “The pricing of a product is the owner’s responsibility.” Therefore, the designers who would like to establish their own business, they must know where their products would be sold to then it could attract the key market!


Q: Product Design Department of Shih Chien Univerity - Eason Yang
How to determine the necessity of market research when developing or marketing a product?

A: Chairman of Japan industrial Designers' Association – Mr. Kazou Tanaka
 I could tell that “market research” would be effective to confirm users’ acknowledgment of their present conditions and to take the research as “insurance to avoid a failure.”  However, I believe that “the very key to success” lies in designers’ creative concept according to the observation of present status. In that meaning, the today’s methodology of Design Thinking might be an excellent approach for finding the issues and the resolution.
These situations suggest that the value of designers’ creative concept may never change even if many sophisticated market research techniques be developed by utilizing so-called “big data and AI” in future.


Eason Yang from Product Design Department of Shih Chien Univerity, Taiwan won the Excellence Award for his artwork “Mended”, by combining porcelain and metal pieces through the skillful sets of a craftsman, the once unwanted metal pieces were reused. 


Q: German designer - Philipp Schaake
Do you see significant differences between marketing strategies/ channels for porcelain products in Europe and Asia? If yes, what are the main points in your opinion?

A: President of Ateliers d’Art de France – Mr. Serge Nicole
 Yes, very significant differences exist.
The historical origins are different and the culture backgrounds are different, too. In Europe, porcelain was manufactured in very recent years in comparison to Jingdezhen. It is also the reason why the know-how of porcelain in Europe is considered very high technique and was difficult. Since the 18th century and its introduction in Europe, porcelain has been associated with luxury and aristocratic lifestyle. It was reserved for limited public and wasn’t used in art creation. Only until 2014, porcelain has been recognized in the domain of artist professions. 
However, it seems that porcelain has been practiced in art creation since a long time ago in Asia. So, there is a big difference in marketing. 

In Europe, porcelain is associated with an artistic practice only very recently and not yet fully accepted. As a result, few artists are involved in the creation of porcelain. This is very recent and in small scale. For this reason, the prices of porcelain works haven’t reached the prices of works of art in Europe. If a work could be exhibited in museums or be invited to exhibitions, its value and price would be relevantly higher. This change happened very recently in France. And especially in France, porcelain has just been included in some prestige exhibitions. By then, the influence of porcelain has been promoted through these exhibitions, in media and then spread out in public. So, participating in exhibitions is very important in European market. 

A: Franz Collection CEO – Mr. Franz Chen
Any channel of marketing must be able to maximize the economic benefits and to find the mutual recognition of human kinds. There are three similarities of European and Asian porcelain products:
  1. A collectible piece that is artistic and rare.
  2. A home deco that can be displayed at home to show your taste and position. It can motivate you just like a motto and if it is being passed down from your grandparents it is even more valuable.
  3. A gift. Everyone hopes to get a gift that shows your heart and connect to the other’s emotions, so gifts must have a meaning.
The upon three points are the same in Europe and Asia. If you can discover what economic benefits that those three points can create in what kind of marketing channels, then you’d know which way to go!

German designer – Philipp Schaake’s artwork “Solar Wind” won the Excellence Award for interpreting the power and beauty of the speed of light. 

Watch the video here →



Franz Award was founded in order to support the up-and-coming designers; it has become a worldwide competition after being founded ten years ago. After 2014, over 1,500 designers signed up to compete for the grand prize each year. (The competition provides USD$ 35,000 in total.) During the finals, international representatives of the porcelain, design industry and designers from numerous countries were invited to exchange ideas! Designers make effort on creating a better tomorrow for the world and we provide the chance to go international!
The 2016 Franz Award Team consists of Franz Collection’s PR department, 2 students from National Taiwan University, 1 graduate student from National Taiwan University of Technology and 1 PhD student from Ming Chuan University’s department of business management. With our sharp eyes, we have discovered 1,400 designers from 31 countries this year!!