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Aesthetics applies to sports as well as the arts at Hangzhou Asian Games

By Yuan Shenggao | China Daily | Updated: 2020-07-30

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A countdown clock marks the number of days till the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 at Wulin Square in downtown Hangzhou, Zhejiang province on Monday. XIAO DA/CHINA DAILY

Extensive designs being made to encapsulate landmark event

The 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 will be held from Sept 10 to 25,2022 in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province. China Daily is teaming up with the organizing committee of the Games to spotlight the preparation for and facts about the Hangzhou Asian Games.

The mascots for the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022, which is scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, capital of East China's Zhejiang province in September 2022, were unveiled in early April, presenting the public with the epitome of the Games' and the host city's unique aesthetics.

Before the mascots, the fan-shaped emblem for the event, Tides Surging, which was launched in August 2018, had attracted wide attention for its aesthetic features of Jiangnan, the region south of the Yangtze River.

Designs of the mascots and the emblem, both belonging to the aesthetics system of the Games, showcase the characteristics of Hangzhou and China, and leave a precious cultural and artistic legacy for the world.

Beauty is a universal language and creating an aesthetics system for the Games is necessary for the world to remember the Hangzhou Asian Games and the host city even after the event concludes.

When thinking of sports, images of physical fitness, agility and athletics are often invoked. The labeling of "aesthetics" comes more as an afterthought, a side effect of an athletic performance, rather than an imperative characteristic of sports. So, how important is aesthetics in sports, and international sports events such as the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022?

According to the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 Organising Committee, Hangzhou Asian Games aesthetics will be a harmonious and unified cultural and artistic system with features of the host city and the Olympic spirit. Moreover, aesthetics of the Games is expected to be accepted by the people and go throughout the whole process of the event.

Such visual elements as the emblem, mascots, colors of venues and sports pictograms, the most recognizable symbols of the event, are part of the system. What's more, cultural activities, ideology and products developed for the market in the process of preparation and organization of the Games are also considered to reflect the Games' aesthetics.

Hangzhou aims to create the event into a grand gathering where Asian people are able to perceive and admire the extensiveness, profoundness and inclusiveness of Chinese culture, and join hands with each other to embrace the future.

Almost everything about the host city, beautiful and attractive, including the nature, history, culture, industries and people, is the source of the development of the Hangzhou Asian Games aesthetics.

Yang Meng, deputy director of the Press& Public Relations Department of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee, hailed the visual designs for the Games as embodiments of the unique qualities of the city, such as the well-protected nature and the fast-developing internet industry.

For the emblem, he said, as one of the most basic design elements, it is not just the symbol of the event, but also a foundation for the designs of other visual products, including the slogan and mascots.

"In the future, they will be closely combined with official activities and products in Hangzhou," Yang said.

Inspired by the host city's rich heritage, designers of the mascots for the Games, Zhang Wen and Yang Yihong, made the trio of cutesy characters to represent the three UNESCO cultural heritage sites in Hangzhou.

Just as their original aspiration goes, the mascots should stand for Hangzhou precisely. Having been living in Hangzhou for 14 years, the two teachers at the Hangzhou-based China Academy of Art drew inspiration from every corner of the city and dug the cultural connotations of Hangzhou in an all-around way. Finally, they made it possible that the robot-shaped figures fully contain Hangzhou elements.

The aesthetics of the Hangzhou Asian Games is from the city, and in return, contributes to the city's overall aesthetics system.

Song Jianming, a professor at China Academy of Art and director of the design sector of the Games, said thousands of athletes and sports lovers will gather at this continental event in Hangzhou and the aesthetics, mainly embodied in visual designs, will be everywhere in the city.

Two years ahead of the Games, the elements of emblems and mascots are now actually seen around Hangzhou, from on airplanes, buses to small stamps and silk products.

According to Song, the formation of Asian Games aesthetics is systemic. "Hundreds of artists will be involved in the process and we'll launch a series of designs step by step, such as the emblem and mascots, sports pictograms and the color system, all of which will be widely used for cityscapes and products," said the director.

Yang said in the future, the existence of the Games' visual designs will be further highlighted with more decorations placed around the city.

Sculptures of mascots will be put at landmarks of the city and the construction sites of venues will be windows to showcase the aesthetics of the Games.

Also, cultural creations such as cartoon productions will be launched with the promotion of preparatory work, according to Yang.

He said, "The visual designs of the Games, being published one by one, will stimulate people's eyes constantly and help to promote the event."

In addition to the exterior beauty, the urban aesthetics includes the culture of harmony and civilization of a city as well, a kind of in-depth and long-lasting beauty.

By organizing the Games, Hangzhou is seeking to upgrade itself, the plan of which consists of citizens' etiquette. The Asian Games aesthetics is expected to affect the society and better people's perception of the event, the city and life, thus to make the memories of the Games more profound and far-reaching.

As the preparatory work for the Hangzhou Asian Games is now in full swing, the formation and publicity of its aesthetics will be promoted and deepened further, according to HAGOC. Moreover, the work mechanism in this sector, and the research into and the application of visual designs will be strengthened to boost the development of the aesthetics of the whole city.

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