A: People see you differently from you do yourself. If only one word is allowed to describe myself, I would say ‘uncompromising’. Everyone has its own principle. Once it’s determined, don’t compromise it to surroundings so easily. Of course, uncompromising doesn’t mean go your own way. Sometimes when other people propose a better solution, you need to accept it. It’s important to leave your heart open.
Q: You have been to many places of the world. Which city would you most likely stay?
A: I have to think about it. Shanghai is good, Barcelona is not bad, New York is ok and of course Shenzhen is good too. If I have to choose within China, Shanghai is my favorite city. Shanghai is a complicated city with multi-cultural atmosphere, diversified architecture, well preserved historic culture. Internationalization gives it life. Local people are friendly and can speak English more or less, which is convenient to me.
Q: What’s your impression of Shenzhen?
A: Shenzhen is very clean. It’s rare to see such a clean city in China. Shenzhen has done a good job in landscaping, so you can see trees and blossoms everywhere. It’s a comfortable place to live. I have been living in here for 6 months and I had a good time.
Q: Pick up 3 words to describe your design style
A: First of all, integration. Each design starts with the project’s feature to make it integrate with its environment, client, and material, then each part becomes integral part of the whole. Secondly, simple but sophisticated. Finally is challenging. Each job is a new challenge from which we learn and advance.
Q: What’s your most satisfied work so far?
A: To me, there is no such a most satisfied work because I dedicate to each single project with my heart. I should say there has always been no best design, but a better design.
Q: Do you have any idol? Does any idol influence your creation?
A: The older you get, the less idol you will have, because you realize every one has its limitation. Jimi Hendirix is a great guitar player who I used to admire as young and I still do. In design industry, Norman Foster is irreplaceable to me and so is Renzo Piano, although there are few idols to me in design area. Norman Foster dedicated his life to practicing an attitude to architecture. His work has been sustainable, practical and human related. Some massive buildings are environmentally and human friendly. For instance, HK airport, before start, you have to understand and respect people. Essentially design is to facilitate people not just to look good.
Q: Which do you prefer, spatial or product design? If you didn’t choose design, what else career would you take?
A: There is no difference to me because there is something in common between interior design and product design, common approach, attitude and philosophy. To be a designer, you have to have your own design philosophy and put them into design practice. Therefore it doesn’t matter to differentiate areas in design. I haven’t thought about other careers yet because I have been interested in design since young. My mother was a fashion designer, so since I had memory, I have been living in a visual world and all I have been doing is related to vision. If I didn’t do design, I would become an artist.
Q: In Shenzhen, in a job of your interior designs—zhonghang, you created styles of ‘escape from urban, easy living and New York modern’. How did you come up with these inspirations, especially ‘escape’?
A: Show room design is to maximize the needs of potential customers, so before we started we did a lot of research, and finally we focused on 3 typical target groups: a young couple, a couple with adult children, and a family with 3 generations, each having their own character. Interior design is far more than putting followers on the table, but requires designers have clear conception before start. Every people living in the contemporary metropolises are facing the pressure of survival, so home should play a role of port where people can rest. This is where ‘escape from the urban’ came from. Temporary escape is not equal to seclusion because the contemporary youth need elegance and fashion as well. This is the core of this theme.