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Foreign designers map buildings, future careers in China

(Xinhua)    17:23, April 20, 2020

CHONGQING, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Sitting in front of his computer, Rustam Irgashev puts final touches on his designing plan for an office building to be constructed in Beijing.

"I added the element of the Ding to give it a traditional vibe," said Rustam, 33, from Uzbekistan. The Ding he mentioned refers to a traditional Chinese cauldron, an ancient cooking vessel with two loop handles and three or four legs. It was a symbol of honor in traditional Chinese culture.

Rustam is one of the foreign designers employed by one of the designing branches of Chongqing Engineering Co., ltd under China Coal Technology Engineering Group. The branch is based in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

After graduating from Chongqing University in 2014, Rustam went to work in the Chinese state-owned company.

The Ding design won high appreciation from Ma Fei, head of the branch.

"What Rustam did was quite creative," Ma said. "By incorporating classic Chinese culture with modern features, he stood out among his competitors and won recognition from our client."

The branch began to recruit foreign designers in 2012 for the first time, a rare move among Chinese state-owned designing companies. China proposed the Belt and Road Initiative the next year, and the branch has since maintained about five foreign designers each year, mostly from along the Belt and Road.

"We are lucky to work together, thanks to the initiative," Ma said.

Overseas designers are more sensitive to the differences between Chinese culture and foreign cultures, giving them an edge in design.

"After coming to China, I got to know the amazing achievements that China has made in the past 40 years," Rustam said, adding that he has been to many places in China, including the autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet.

"I felt the deep Chinese culture, and it gave me inspirations for my designing work," he said.

Rustam said he did not quite fit into the "spicy food culture" in Chongqing at first, but after years of life there, his connection with China is stronger than ever.

"My wife is from Chongqing, and our daughter is nine months old," he said. "Now, I am in love with the spicy food here, they spice up my life!"

Like Rustam, Caroline Echavoyen, 23, also chose to work in the branch.

The French designer has worked in the company for half a year, but she already delivered some delighting designing works.

When she was asked to design a factory building in Chongqing's Ba'nan District, she added the element of the horse in it, citing inspiration from the iconic Terracotta Warriors.

"I thought the horse is an important part of the Chinese culture," she said.

Caroline said she saw the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an in northwest China's Shaanxi Province and was fascinated by the soldiers and chariots.

With the further advancement of the Belt and Road construction, the company has helped design many projects along the route, including those in Rustam's home country Uzbekistan.

"As Rustam is from Uzbekistan, he played an important role in the projects," Ma Fei said.

The foreign designers said they learned a lot doing the designing jobs in Chongqing.

Natalia Pratashchyk, 32, is from Belarus. She said that she learned many things from transforming the old factory buildings in the city.

"There are a group of foreign designers here with different academic and cultural backgrounds," she said. "We get to improve ourselves by sharing with each other."

Natalia said she wants to bring what she learned in China back to Belarus, and become a college teacher to cultivate more talents for her home country.

But Mohammed Rahmoun, 29, plans to work and study in China for another five years.

"Many Chinese companies are in contact with my country, and I am willing to be a part of the cooperation," said Mohammed, from Syria.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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