When it comes to winning, young Chinese designer Frank Chou is no stranger to it all. From Milan's SaloneSatellite where it all started, to the EDIDA Award for Young Design Talent of the Year, and now winning the Gold Idea Award at the China International Furniture Expo for the second time in a row, it's not hard to see why he's the Golden Boy of China's upcoming design scene.
Since that first win at SaloneSatellite, Frank set up his studio in Beijing and has been working non-stop creating collections not only for his interest but other new Chinese brands like HC28 and RONGLIN HOME too. This year alone, he put out a staggering 17 new pieces during Shanghai Design Week! How does he do it? And where will he go from here? We chat with the Golden Boy between his busy schedule and intend to find out his secret to success.
Frank receiving the Special Mention award at SaloneSatellite, with his winning design.
First off, congratulation on winning the Good Idea Award for best collection. Can you tell us how did this collaboration come about? What attracts you to working with them?
Firstly, I would like to introduce RONGLIN HOME, our partner, and also the brand owner of LIANGCHEN, the collection which I developed with them. Our design studio and RONGLIN HOME have a lot of intersection in the whole Chinese furniture design and manufacturing industry, so the cooperation comes naturally and easily along with understanding and building trust with each other.
I believe the key point which contributes to our cooperation, is the motivation for change and evolution of RONGLIN HOME. It attracted me to join hands with their team to build a new brand LIANGCHEN. And I believe LIANGCHEN is not only special for RONGLIN HOME, but it will also play an exemplary role in Chinese modern furniture industry.
How did you come up with the inspiration for this collection?
The inspiration for this collection comes more from our in-depth thoughts and exploration of the "Modern Chinese lifestyle".
LOSHE Sofa from LIANGCHEN collection, has an upright outline with neat border, showing the simple and comfortable vision and fabric ulphostery.
There are around seven pieces in this collection. How long did it take to get from sketches to final production and what is the biggest challenge?
It took us almost one year. The biggest challenge in the whole process would be: how to change the way the current Chinese traditional furniture manufacturing industry thinks about design. Most practitioners base their designs on their traditional experience for reference, yet in most cases, their experiences are outdated. So when we began to create a new brand and new things, what we heard and saw from each level of practitioners in this industry was doubt and confusion. So we needed to sort it out and explain the concept to them from the get-go.
How would you describe your design style?
I don't want to define a style because there's still a lot of latitudes for me to explore in the future. But I'll always try to focus on a core element: using a universal design language to make everyone in the world understand or get to know my designs.
LIANGCHEN collection also includes (from Left) the MULUN Armchair, DIGE Decorative Cabinet and SUSON Coffee table.
Who/what has been your strongest influence?
The answer is nobody and anybody. I don't believe someone could have an absolute influence on my designs. But everyone I knew in my life or from histories such as designers, artists, directors, musicians, and even ordinary people will affect me. I can benefit or receive energy from all of them.
What hopes do you have for this new brand LIANGCHEN?
In addition to the "European modern design", "European classical style" and "Chinese classical style with its derivative design", there isn't any locally designed furniture that can relate to the "Modern Chinese Lifestyle". So we hope LIANGCHEN could open a new window for Chinese people to find their enjoyable moments of modern life.
Fan Chair, by Frank Chou Design Studio, is made of three kinds of material: metal, wood, and
Oasis collection of sofa, armchair and tables for HC28 is among the new pieces designed by Frank this year.
How would you describe the current design scene in China?
The current design scene in China is just at the beginning stage, but it is perhaps the best period for designers. Every industry, including the furniture industry in China, is rapidly entering the phase of transformation and upgrade, which will lead to a mass of design requirements eventually. It will provide lots of opportunities and learning curves for designers in every field.
For young designers, what three tips can you give them to make it as a designer in China?
As "product design" is still an under-developed concept here in China, I think the following criteria are required:
1. At least become a "half" engineer.
2. Have empathy, and be able to objectively view the reality and current scenarios of the whole industry.
3. Be strong enough to insist.
For more about Frank Chou's design, visit here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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