LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Vivian Lu ("VL") 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.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

VL : I have been working as a scenographer for 6 years after attending Central Saint Martins in London. From theatre set visuals to costume designs, runway shows to large, elaborate events for corporations such as Banco Nacional Ultramarino Macau, I have delivered over 70 shows in different corners of the world including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Portugal, London...etc.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

VL : As a stage designer, I am constantly trying to find ways to strengthen connections between audiences and my set design. Recently i have been attempting to bring in new technology and innovations to traditional theatre. Although nothing can replace traditional stage, i truly believe in utilising more technology as a medium to further elevate a stage allowing more interaction and immersion for the audience.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

VL : Since i was a kid, I always knew that my passion lay in visual communication. I was known to be the "crafty kid" in school, involving myself in painting props or sets for our school plays. Thus I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the design industry. However it wasn't until my foundation course where I got to try out different art mediums that I was so sure that 3d Art Installation was my calling

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

VL : I design set for theatres and work on visual art production for commercial events and brands. I am currently designing the architecture of a new hotel in Macao. My dream project would be to be part of the design team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

VL : There are many interpretation of "success". There are always going to be designers that have worked more jobs or have worked in more famous theatres than you. However, the key to really enjoy your work and be "successful" in your own work, is to have your own opinions in matters; your own way to tell a story and share what truly matters to you.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

VL : "Good design sends the same message to everyone, A great designer sends a different message to everyone."

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

VL : A good design is able to capture people’s imagination and encourage thoughts or spark conversations that may not have existed before.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?

VL : I would love to design for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2022.

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

VL : I would like to be part of the design team of the Opening of the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

VL : Just stay curious.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

VL : Es Devlin! I have seen all of her interviews, and sometimes watch it over and over again while I'm working. It motivates me so much when I'm doubting myself or when I am having one of those "design blocks".

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?

VL : Anything from Es Devlin, love her for her braveness in designs.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

VL : "Absinthe" is one of my favourite pieces I've done because it truly embodies my transformtion from a designer to an artist. With Absinthe, I tried to merge different forms of senses together (sound and sight) and to magnify them to create a lasting visceral experiences for the audience.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

VL : I always believed that staying curious will get me to places. I firmly believe in experimenting, trial and error and being brave when it comes to the production in design.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

VL : Nothing

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

VL : Design should create and solve chaos at the same time.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

VL : My Mother.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

VL : I think the biggest challenge in my profession is not the design itself but to be able to put something out there that represents you the way you want to be seen. I remember spending days sending out my portfolio to different theatres and companies that i looked up to, trying to get my name and designs out there.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

VL : However represents them well, but most importantly, with confidence.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?

VL : I am working with Dortmund's Academy of theatre and digital, and hopefully I can bring my new work around the world in 2021.

DL: How does design help create a better society?

VL : As a designer, our main job is to fulfill and provide a solution to a problem or need, and to ensure the solution provided has a positive impact on society. So to achieve that we must understand and study about the social, cultural and environmental implications our designs and finish outcome has on all factors of society. As a designer, I think it is no longer about creating beautiful aesthetics, but have a beautiful visual whilst having all the consequences carefully studied and considered. As a designer, I follow and agree with the term, form follows function, but for me the term "function" expands beyond the intended purpose of a design, and now includes the environmental implications and social responsibilities, its not only only to consider about the immediate environmental impact of our designs, but also the method of manufacturing, the use of material, the disposal of a design after it's life span, the elements in a production that can be reused in other design etc. For the social responsibilities, it is to ensure I make myself aware of the impact my design has on the community and society, whether or not there are cultural and political implications, whether of not my design serves as a catalyst to spark conversation on important issues and stimulate change, whether my designs improves the quality of the community. As a designer, we have the power and ability to shape the society and environment around us, we have the creativity, vision and ideas to shape a better society, we have the ability to come up with creative solutions beyond the limitation that are set for us and so I think it is our responsibility to best utilize this skill of ours to change our society for the better.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

VL : I am currently in Dortmund doing a research program with The Academy of Theatre and Digital in Dortmund.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

VL : Better design fees.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

VL : I think we are all very curious about how digitally can be involve int theatre, and the world is now training digitally for the theatre and finding potential outcome with what it can become. There is a lot of interweaving into virtual reality as well and people are seeking new ways of telling a story through digital methods.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?

VL : Read

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

VL : "An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means its going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming"

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?

VL : Design sets the trends

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?

VL : Technology should be a new medium in assisting in a design, but not to overpower the main concept.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

VL : Autocad, Adobe softwares, Sketch Up & Unity

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?

VL : all from the above creates space and depth.

DL: What do you wish people to ask about your design?

VL : Wish people can see the boldness and try to create different interpretation my work.

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

VL : That will be me one day.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

VL : I believe in Co-design. My design Partner is also my best friend.

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?

VL : I read everything.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

VL : trial & errors.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

VL : Es Devlin

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?

VL : Its definitely a challenge to get yourself out there, because theres so many great designers out there. Think it is also a work of art to learn how to brand yourself.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

VL : Black is my favourite Color, Toronto is my favourite place,Japanese is my favourite cuisine, and Spring is my favourite Season.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

VL : I fell of the grand theatre during strike in.

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?

VL : Nope, I just love to paint, and create different weird stories around the household. But it wasn't until I get to experiment with different art forms in uni that sparked my full interest in Stage Design.

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?

VL : You can see more of my work on my instagram : vlu.designs

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

VIVIAN LU IS A VISUAL DESIGNER WHO HAS WORKED ON EXCEPTIONAL STAGE TO MUCH MARKET APPLAUSE. IN THE PAST 5 YEARS SHE HAS WORKED ON OVER 60 PRODUCTIONS FROM THEATRE SETS TO COSTUME DESIGNS, RUNWAY SHOWS TO LARGE ELABORATE EVENTS, BOTH REGIONALLY AND INTERNATIONALLY. HER MAIN AIM IS TO BREAK THE MOULD OF TRADITIONAL THEATRE, AND CHALLENGE BOUNDARIES BY EXPLORING DARING CONCEPTS. SHE EXPERIMENTS WITH DIFFERENT MEDIUMS AND TECHNOLOGIES TO EXPLORE METHODS THAT BEST EVOKE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION FOR THE AUDIENCES. SHE BELIEVES THATS CONSTANT CURIOSITY AND AWARENESS OF YOUR EVERYDAY SURROUNDINGS IS THE BEST WAY TO FIND YOUR IDENTITY AS A DESIGNER AND THE BEST WAY TO ALLOW AUDIENCES TO RELATE TO THE WORK AND WORLD YOU CREATE.


Absinthe  Production Design

Absinthe Production Design by Vivian Lu

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