FLA Eventi & contract: a big step forward in Shenzhen

The project market in China continues to post positive numbers, but the circle is starting to close: no longer a land of conquest for all and sundry, but a place open only to those who can combine good looks and quality of products with reliable organizational structure. IFDM talks about it with Roberto Cuneo, Head of International Promotion of FLA Eventi, inventor of the Real Estate Design Forum in Shenzhen.

International Art Design Center, Shenzhen
International Art Design Center, Shenzhen

“The project has deep roots and the goal of putting Italian companies into close contact with Chinese business, the business that focuses on luxury and sees the Italian chain of production as a place from which to select the best,” Roberto Cuneo explains.

Roberto Cuneo, Head of International Promotion di FLA Eventi
Roberto Cuneo, Head of International Promotion di FLA Eventi

Is contract the best alternative to trade?
The developments of the design and luxury market in recent years have meant that international trade has become more compact and specialized; the players who count are fewer in number, and the world of design is the one that brings important commissions: China is an enormous market with potential that has yet to be explored, where the professional figures have grown very quickly and quality is needed on all levels. The most important outlet is clearly the one connected with 360-degree contract: from hospitality to large residential projects. This is why we have decided to organize the Forum and to carefully select the companies to involve and the players to meet.

What professional figures have you sought in China?
Undoubtedly the contractors and the real estate developers are the central figures, because they manage big budgets, have many projects in progress and represent the decision-makers when it comes to buying. Of course we should not overlook the architects and interior designers, but the first two categories have much greater weight, and they employ Design Directors who go into great depth in the project – unlike what happens in other parts of the world – so they have a central role in the process of selection and specification of products.

International Art Design Center, Shenzhen
International Art Design Center, Shenzhen

There are definitely some outstanding names in the program…
Absolutely. We have been in China for 5 years and we have put together a large network of relations with the protagonists of Chinese high-end real estate. At the Forum we can count on the presence of names like Suning RE and Evergrande Group, as in general contractors who can reach levels of sales of over 40 billion euros, who do not work only on luxury offerings but also in the high end of the market with a very important share. The interest in Made in Italy of high quality is always very lively.

But the Real Estate Design Forum is not just about B2B…
No, we have attempted to connect B2B activity with certain moments – and there are many – connected with the panorama of Chinese architecture and interior design, today and in the near future. The Forum presents many lectures and talks involving both Italian and Chinese designers, outstanding names who will discuss the state of the art and the prospects of this market.

The Italians Aldo Cibic (talking about the Chinese cities of the future) and Alfonso Femia are joined by top names in the world of Chinese design, from Hao Dong of Crossboundaries to the emerging Yanfei Shui of Naturalbuild and Billy Ip, principal of the Hong Kong office of the American firm Woods Bagot, one of the many international studios (many but not very many) that have opened branches in the Asia Pacific area.

International Art Design Center, Shenzhen
International Art Design Center, Shenzhen

Has the capacity of Italian companies to formulate a service grown over the last few years?
Yes, inevitably, even the less fully equipped companies are adapting to the demand for higher levels of expertise. Some of the smaller ones have raised their level by grouping with others, but above all we are seeing greater demand on the part of Chinese players to know new brands, and to learn more. Unlike the Americans, Chinese counterparts require time; they have to understand the supplier and you have to understand them. This is a slow process, but if you take it forward with intelligence it can lead to concrete, important results.

At the Real Estate Design Forum 30 Italian brands will come to terms with an audience of over 500 professionals expected for the B2B sessions and conferences, with important media coverage: over one billion Chinese people will know what is happening in Shenzen on 13 and 14 June, thanks to the partnership with Hantang Culture.

In 2018 IFDM has opened its own branch in China, and it will be present at the event with the Spring-Summer edition of the China Regional Book.