Interview with Naai-Jung Shih

Winner of Art and Lighting Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Naai-Jung Shih shares insights


Interview with Naai-Jung Shih at Monday 30th of April 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
NS : I received Master of Architecture and Doctor in Architecture degrees from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Michigan.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
NS : I come up with ideas every day, and I want to be a designer as a creator or an interpreter of spaces and geometries.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
NS : I choose to be a designer.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
NS : In addition to a formal style of “design”, I also prefer to make something out of its original configuration and composition in a more de-construction manner.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
NS : Every designer is unique. She or he does not have to become anyone.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
NS : Every designer is a good or great designer whenever she or he works her or his own way out.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
NS : A good design may come with the form, the function, and the message that a design can deliver. A great design is a design keeps evolving.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
NS : A good design improves the effectiveness and efficiency of life.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
NS : I would like to design a system for design so everyone or myself can use it.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
NS : My dream project is not a design; it’s a personal inventory system of possible resources for design.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
NS : Well, keep coming back to re-interpret design and fix it may be one of the recipes.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
NS : Zaha Hadid is one of the masters I admire for her achievements architecture.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
NS : There are so many designers I prefer, in A Design Award or Pinterest for example, although I do not know their names.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
NS : In this case, Wood Storm and Billy Julie were two of my greatest designs up to now, because both illustrated a viewpoint where metaphors and physical objects meet.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
NS : A good designer can be achieved by observing, practicing, thinking, and keeping communication with people.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
NS : May be a teacher, I have been working as a professor for 27 years. If I hadn’t become a so-called designer, I still can be a designer for myself.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
NS : Design is everything.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
NS : The biggest support is the A Design Award who has provided an open environment for anyone to express itself. I didn’t even tell my wife what I am doing.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
NS : I am not a great designer. I’ll let you know when I reach it.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
NS : I guess I myself am the only obstacle to become a design master.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
NS : In these days, there are many ways to present design works. Each of them should be taken care of.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
NS : There are some projects from past that I am still working on. You’ll see.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
NS : My goal would be the creation of new interpretation or inter-relationship for design elements.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
NS : I am not an esteemed designer yet. Please do not expect anything from me yet.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
NS : A design can be a new interpretation of needs or demands that will create a better society.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
NS : I am working on metaphor- and interface-types of space order for fun.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
NS : The metaphor translation kind of project stimulated me and gave me the most satisfactory.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
NS : A BIM (Building Information System)-like changes in each stage of design would be very interesting.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
NS : The embracing of technology with environmental concerns would be something we are headed for.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
NS : It may take from 1 week to two years to finalize a design project.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
NS : Actually a new project may starts anytime and anywhere, since many of them are of my own interest.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
NS : Keep curious about anything is very helpful to me.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
NS : They are mutual influential, I guess.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
NS : Technology helps me explore different possibilities, produce prototypes, and visualize alternatives.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
NS : Other than general 3D modeling software, parametric design software and 3D printing machines are very helpful.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
NS : All the elements are important for sure in defining the characteristics or delivering a message of a design.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
NS : Just like the questions mentioned earlier, it would be very interesting to be asked about a design for its naming background or the stages in idea developing process.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
NS : How did the designer come up with the vision, interpretation, or the solution for an issue?

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
NS : Maybe a collaborative relationship, like a supporting RP company, is more suitable to define the partnership. Co-design is great for a complementarity relationship.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
NS : I think every people I have been interacted with had the influence on me more or less. The influence could be made subconsciously, so it’s really hard to tell.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
NS : For my architectural background, “Architecture: Form, Space and Order” has been always one of the most important books.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
NS : I’m not a master designer, and still working on that.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
NS : Actually I have met the author of the book “Architecture: Form, Space and Order” as one of the greatest experiences.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
NS : It's not hard to be famous, as long as you do not take it as the only judgement of your effort and stop moving forward.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
NS : Not specifically, everything has its part of interest. I do love summer.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
NS : This weekend, I took pictures of the graffiti outside a studio and found many of them were interesting.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
NS : Being curious and being a design studio instructor are two of the reasons that motivate me to self-evolve as a designer.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
NS : No it’s not obvious, although I was considered as above average in painting.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
NS : In 2018, the time has arrived to the date many former sci-fi movies have predicted, but not much difference has shown. If it’s possible, I will like to have a real Holodeck to accompany.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
NS : People only have to know that there is a guy in Taiwan loves to work on something strange.