Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Jian'an Zhou ("JZ") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.
JZ : I graduated from Guilin University of Technology, majoring in environmental design. After graduation, I worked as a landscape designer first in a real estate company and afterwards in a design company. During my 17-year career I participated in many good projects.
JZ : Privately, I am very quiet. I like to observe the details of our everyday life and find out the rules and problems of our living environment, which enables me to become a capable designer and to find solutions to these problems.
JZ : I choose to become a designer.
JZ : I have participated in many commercial, municipal and residential landscape design projects. Currently, I mainly work on residential landscape design projects.
JZ : The essence of design should focus on people so we need to spent a great deal of time observing and studying their lives.
JZ : Your observation of life, understanding of a project and approaches to address issues encountered in the project are essential for you to become a good designer.
JZ : Actually resolves the essential problems through our design, inspirational and have certain aesthetic values.
JZ : Good design is able to improve people’s quality of life and resolve many problems they encounter in life. If I were an investor, I would think it is worthwhile to invest in a design proposal that can actually address people’s needs.
JZ : I hope I could have the opportunity to devote to landscape projects that preserve our traditional culture and improve the sustainable development of cities and work with environmentalists and preservationist to improve our living environment.
JZ : BIOPHILIC urban design; I believe that staying close to nature could to a large extent improve people’s physical and mental health and the urban environment. If time allows I hope I could have the opportunity to work on this type of project.
JZ : Design should focus on the needs of people. We must find out ways to understand users’ actual needs. What kind of lifestyle do they prefer and what kind of environment they prefer to conduct social interactivity.
JZ : Landscape designer guru Zhu Yufan and architecture expert Wang Shu have been inspirational to me in terms of space layout and oriental landscape design.
JZ : The HOSHINOYA Luxury Hotels in Karuizawa is a hot spring resort in a valley, with its landscape designed by Hiroki Hasegawa based on Japan’s traditional culture.
JZ : Currently I feel satisfied with the design effects of Guobin No. 1 Central Mansion. It aims to create a unique and serene place among the bustling city.
JZ : Firstly, you have to be interested in design; and you should be a keen observer in life and lastly it’s your reflections on the problems you have detected.
JZ : I might become a concept artist because I once had deep interest in painting.
JZ : I think design refers to the orderly arrangements of the elements of life. By taking apart our living environment into sperate parts and reorganizing them in a certain way, it aims for optimizing our living space and quality of life.
JZ : In fact, my family, colleagues and clients have given me great support and we are also willing to work together to produce exquisite landscape design.
JZ : Both my family and I are quiet people and it is my family driving my interest in our living environment and enable me to settle down and observe the details of our everyday life.
JZ : Experience in landscape design; landscape design requires a comprehensible skill set and to be a good designer you have to accumulate a lot of experience by dealing with many projects.
JZ : Designers need to produce sophisticated works that at the same time are also easy to understand so that even laymen can easily see the purpose and aim of a project.
JZ : The next project is to design a roof garden, which is very futuristic. I hope people would like it after it is completed.
JZ : I hope I could be inspirational to other designers and they would benefit and improve themselves by working with me.
JZ : More or less, people would have problems and difficulties in life. If designers could resolve these problems ingeniously and at a small cost, they would surely win people’s respect.
JZ : Many problems in our lives and with our living environment can be resolved through elaborate design. A good design could be inspirational to people like artworks. All of which play a positive role in our society, both physically and spiritually.
JZ : Currently I am working on a roof garden, which will be a very futuristic design. I feel very excited, although it is a great challenge to me.
JZ : Previously, we designed a pocket garden in Chongqing, China and its high quality attracted many people from surrounding areas; in addition, the design improved the problems of insufficient green space and poor wetland environment facing the city.
JZ : In the future, the landscape industry will develop towards the direction of producing sophisticated and elaborate designs. More and more design projects would focus on improvement and renovation of the existing environment to save cost and protect the environment.
JZ : Gradually trending toward pursuing high-quality design and focus on the fundamentals rather than having aesthetics as the benchmark of the field.
JZ : This would depend on the difficulties and scale of a project. Generally, It would at least take three months or even longer from six months to a year in case of a difficult project needing repeated study and authentication.
JZ : Firstly, I would analyze the target users of the project and its surrounding environment so that problems can be identified and solved.
JZ : The essence of design is to bring spiritual joy to people.
JZ : I have always held the idea that design is affected by social trends and need to adjust according to the evolution of people’s material and spiritual needs.
JZ : It is indispensable. Many design ideas have to be combined with technologies to address problems more efficiently and safely; sometimes, they even promote each other.
JZ : A lot of software are used, among which AutoCAD and Sketch Up are the most important design software.
JZ : All these are essential conditions needing to be considered during the early period to ensure the success of a project.
JZ : What is the design about? What problems it resolves and how they are resolved?
JZ : Imagine you were the designer who drafted this design, what would be your ideas behind it?
JZ : My colleague Zhou Yanhong is an excellent interior designer. We often work together on high-end and high-quality residential landscape design projects.
JZ : They are also my colleagues. We are a team and they inspire me a lot on many projects.
JZ : Less is More and Japan’s New Middle Class have a deep impact on my design career.
JZ : To be a keen observer of life and spend more time thinking about the ideas behind high-quality projects and communicating with designers in different fields.
JZ : I have always feel attracted to Peter Walker’s minimalist landscape style.
JZ : There would still be a long way to go. There are many outstanding landscape design companies and we need to keep going and commit to produce more good projects.
JZ : I don’t have any special preference for colors and brands. I just like to stay near a lake during autumn and tastes fruits freshly picked from trees.
JZ : After becoming a designer, I’ve improved a lot. But now I am also bald so a healthy lifestyle is very important.
JZ : It is my interest and I have a great liking for landscape design.
JZ : A that time, not at all. It’s not until college that I gradually developed a deep interest in landscape design.
JZ : In the future, human development may still exert impact on the environment and with the development going slower, it can eventually co-exist with the natural environment.
JZ : Any suggestions from any person seeing my project are welcomed and it would be very helpful for us to become better in the future.
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