Interview with Ning Zhang

Winner of Architecture Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Ning Zhang shares insights


Interview with Ning Zhang at Monday 20th of August 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
NZ : I received learning on architectural design in Wuhan and Chongqing. Then, I conducted a research on urban design for a long time under the guidance of Professor Franz Pesch from German University of Stuttgart.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
NZ : It is because I believe that design is an interesting thing for me.

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

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
NZ : My design scope span is a little bit large, including large city planning and small architectural design with high quality.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
NZ : Maybe everyone has different understanding of legend. I believe that to make your design charming is more important than to make yourself someone.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
NZ : Excellent designers make “good” design. Great designers make their own design.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
NZ : To find special problem and to solve it with logic method.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
NZ : Good design means to properly solving problems. A design which can solve problems is valuable.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
NZ : I will accomplish projects which can be realized with controllable design quality with employers who have the same understanding of quality as me.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
NZ : Not yet.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
NZ : Carefully think and treat all projects accomplished by me.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
NZ : If someone can be called a legend, it must be Corbusier.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
NZ : Architects, such as Corbusier, Siza, Tadao Ando, etc. who can truly express themselves are always adorable.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
NZ : It is hard to judge which design is great. Designs which can ingeniously and elegantly solve problems are awesome.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
NZ : Find special problem in normal life is an important channel to make an improvement.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
NZ : I am not sure, but it is certain that there is innovation in every work.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
NZ : Design is to find a way for things needing to be solved. My design is to find critical problems and to reasonably solve them.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
NZ : In terms of specialty, lots of teachers have helped me a lot, such as Deng Kunyan, Professor Franz Pesch, etc. My parents and family have greatly supported me in all stages.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
NZ : Great is far away from me. However, I am sure that design hobby is the most important assistance and driving force for me.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
NZ : With increase of projects and expansion of scale, lots of external things need to be coordinated. The key problem needs to be solved is how to continue to pay high attention to design.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
NZ : Good work does not need to be interpreted, it is just presented. Of course, it is easier for people with the same hobby to find what they need on the platform like A design Award, which is a good thing.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
NZ : We are accomplishing an interesting urban design. Meanwhile, a reception center of a small town and a bridge with mixed functions will be constructed in the next year. These projects will be interesting.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
NZ : The ultimate target of a designer is to make good design and complete it!

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
NZ : The premise of a designer being respected in the society is that he / she can make good design. Maybe it is the expectation.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
NZ : If a designer has correct world outlook, his / her design will naturally contributes to creating a better society. I do not approve of some representational and me-too design solutions.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
NZ : Several urban design projects in progress are challengeable. I look forward to final realization of them.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
NZ : White “Z” Veranda in the porch published on A design award, reception center and bridge in a small town in Lanxi, and our urban design projects in Hefei and Jinan are all pleasant projects.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
NZ : Integration between design and new urban construction technology is more and more strong. On the one hand, more means can be provided for tool kit of a designer due to technology; on the other hand, new requirements are proposed for space due to technology change, which needs to be solved by designers.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
NZ : I will continue to pay attention to architecture and urban design. There is sufficient space in the two fields for me to express my ideas.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
NZ : It usually takes 2 to 6 months. If allowable, more time would be taken for some projects.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
NZ : I start it from finding special challenges of a project needing to be solved.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
NZ : I have never carefully thought about it. However, carefully making every design in hand is my major concern.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
NZ : I believe that it is a process of mutual influence.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
NZ : Design will be more convenient with design-assisting technology. I face lots of challenges in space due to construction and urban development technology. It seems that shared bikes which are extensively distributed to China cause lots of troubles in urban space management. How to solve it? It is the problem needing to be solved by designers.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
NZ : I use Surface Book which is suitable for preliminary free-hand sketch and subsequent in-depth discussion of the project.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
NZ : They are important elements in design and will be key design points needing to be paid attention to as other elements in different projects.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?
NZ : It is an interesting design. Why is it interesting?

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
NZ : Pleasure.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
NZ : Design partners in different fields are required for different design. Joint design is important for development of complex project. However, a final choice shall be made.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
NZ : Deng Kunyan and Professor Franz Pesch.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
NZ : Existence, Space, and Architecture of Norberg-Schulz has great impact on me.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
NZ : You can always gain a lot by deeply thinking about problems you faced and carefully designing all links.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
NZ : My mother passed away long ago. It must be amazing and happy to talk what happened now with her.

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
NZ : Being famous is not an important thing. I consider various prizes as approval of people who are in the same camp as me to my design. It is pleasant to have an opportunity to meet them.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
NZ : I like black and white. Every place has its features. Shanghai where I live is interesting. In addition, I am interested in new electronic products.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
NZ : Design process is usually checkered and repeated. For example, the project we have designed for a long time is stopped after white “Z” Veranda is published on A Design Award. It is a little bit frustrating. It is lucky, however, that the project is rapidly implemented due to implementation of country park project several months later. The turn seems interesting when we look back.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
NZ : I arrive at my office to make design three hours in advance everyday, thus I feel that I keep close touch with design every day. It feels awesome. The most motivation for me is to make my design have its features.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
NZ : There was no obvious sign showing that I will be a designer.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
NZ : Constant development of new technology will have great impact on construction and urban space in the future. And the space that we take for granted should be one of spatial types in the future.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
NZ : I look forward to exchanging everything about design with you.