Interview with YI Chen & Muchen Zhang

Winner of Interior and Furniture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer YI Chen & Muchen Zhang shares insights


Interview with YI Chen & Muchen Zhang at Friday 28th of October 2016:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
YC : As a matter of fact, we majored in pure art at university. Design was self-learned bit by bit after we started working.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
YC : Design makes the ambiance better and more comfortable, and this is one motivation for us becoming designers.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
YC : Yes, when we realized that design is interesting, we chose to become designers.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
YC : Our design stresses on combining humanities and nature. We wish to do more in the design that combines well the space and the natural environment.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
YC : Have a correct understanding of oneself, value every chance with patience, and do a good job in every design.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
YC : A good designer provides his client with a satisfactory design, while a great designer understands himself by the design done for his client and uses his design to elevate and change people’s aesthetic faculties and spiritual taste.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
YC : A good design is one that is soul-touching and soul-purifying.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
YC : Design is productivity. A good design changes the mentality and finds the value in environment and space. Everybody may appreciate better the beauty of life from design.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
YC : The clients who appreciate our design and have a very high requirement for design style and taste.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
YC : Design a Church.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
YC : Work diligently, be mindful of every detail in design, and enjoy design and work.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
YC : Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
YC : Sagrada Familia by Antoni Gaudi. This building draws quite some of its shapes from natural forms, and displays from its interior to exterior both imagination and holy and pure sacredness.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
YC : Blue Lake House. The light and space are taken care of rather smartly in this building. The sunlight is admitted into the interior through the top skylight, creating a change in light with the time of day and of year. It creates a perfect combination of nature and building interior & exterior, and an integration between human and nature. It is a summary of our design philosophy.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
YC : One should elevate their cultivation in art and culture, one should enhance their taste of art, and one should have faith.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
YC : I reckon that we would be artists or painters.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
YC : Design represents a sort of life that is full of art and imagination.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
YC : We, as partners in both life and work, are the biggest supporter and encouraging force to each other.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
YC : Unyielding determination, humble and absorptive attitude.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
YC : Self-righteousness, arrogance, and self-importance

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
YC : A good design shall be shared.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
YC : Our next project is a waterfront hotel, and it covers architectural design, landscape, and interior design. The project, when completed, may hopefully become a symbol of the integration between building and environment.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
YC : Let people touch the invisible spiritual world by means of visible design.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
YC : To get more spiritual enjoyment from a good design.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
YC : A good design changes the mentality and the way of life and discovers the value in environment and space. A good design enables people to enjoy more of life and to elevate their new understanding and pursuit in spirit and culture.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
YC : We are working on a waterfront hotel project, the work incorporating architectural design, landscape planning, and interior design. We are anticipating its completion.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
YC : Blue Lake House & Blue Lake Restaurant. While designing this project, we wished that it might reflect the philosophy of integration and interaction between human and nature. Fortunately, this wish came true.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
YC : I wish future designs will respect nature more, coexist with nature, get rid of human arrogance and self-importance, and become humble designs.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
YC : We believe the design field is to develop towards being people-oriented, and towards integration and symbiosis between human and nature.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
YC : It varies from half a year to several years.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
YC : We begin with studying its neighboring environment, its requirements and positioning, and its strengths and weaknesses. Next, we would determine the design style and the plan layout.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
YC : Spiritual Design, Poetic Expression.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
YC : We think they interact with each other, and both are possible.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
YC : Technology plays a secondary role, and the expression of mind is the dominant force.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
YC : CAD, PhotoShop, 3DMAX, SketchUp, etc.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
YC : Very important. They are inseparable from design and form.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
YC : We wish they would be more attentive to the spiritual request and cultural content our design projects seek to express.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
YC : Very excited, and satisfied in both heart and spirit.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
YC : Yi Chen. Yes, we have always been co-designers.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
YC : God. Reading the Bible gives us quite many inspirations.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
YC : The Holy Bible.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
YC : Never stop to learn from nature, life, and culture.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
YC : Myself in childhood and myself in old age, discussing with the former the trouble and pleasure of growing up and the latter the meaning and experience of life.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
YC : We are pleased to receive these awards. It gives a great stimulation to us if our design projects are recognized by professionals in this community. I must say our road of design is not without bumpiness. But, we believe our awards all came so naturally because we have always been trying to do good designs, without caring about the likelihood of becoming famous and receiving awards.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
YC : Orange, sea, ice cream, summer, and plant. My favorite brand is Alexander McQueen.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
YC : Once, we were asked to design an office for an entrepreneur, who appeared to be a person of the traditional type, not having much demand on design and fashion at the start of our work. When the project was completed, he had changed much, from dressing to hairdo, becoming much more avant-garde and fashionable. He said it was our design that had changed him.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
YC : A delicious supper after a day of work.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
YC : Not exactly. Actually, we have always been wanting to become great artists.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
YC : We have no idea what will happen and only God knows what would happen in a thousand years from now. We have entrusted everything to God, under whose guidance we perform our duty and work of the day.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
YC : A good design must be a design with a soul. Our design took an essential and great leap after we had a faith.