LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Tairan Hao and Shan Xu ("THASX") 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?

THASX : I am Tairan Hao, I was obsessed with oil painting when I was young, therefore I chose to attend an art school - California College of the Arts where I finished my bachelor of fine arts degree. My teammate Shan received an MFA degree in interaction design at California College of the Arts, and a BFA degree in New Media Design at China Central Academy of Fine Art. She is also interested in new media arts, interactive arts. We always consider ourselves as both artists and designers since we think arts and designs are reciprocal, connected, and relevant. We always wanted to contribute our creativity to the world and explore the possibilities of life through arts and designs.

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

THASX : I receive satisfaction when I can fulfill other people’s needs or solve a task with creative ideas. That’s what drove me to become a designer. I use my design to bring people what really matters to them and I want to use my design to solve problems for people.

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

THASX : I am capable of doing product, UI/UX, 2D, 3D, Game, Graphic, art, and more, But personally, I prefer to work on fine arts and game design.

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

THASX : Find innovative and inspirational ideas to develop, and work hard enough on it.

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

THASX : A great designer is distinguished when people can feel the value of their work. Their works generate reciprocity between the world and the audience.

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

THASX : A really good design can solve not only the problem but also has the power to communicate with people.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?

THASX : The good design will crack you up. It's a default; every design solution should be in line. However, the fun and delight are the goals. The hard sell times are past. Modern design seduces and brings pleasure.

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

THASX : There will always be someone better; there will always be someone who has negative comment on your design. But remember, we all have a skill that makes us awesome! what's yours? Identify it and exploit it! Usually, your superpower is what great careers are built around.

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

THASX : Neri Oxman, Oxman coined the term and pioneered the field of, Material Ecology, which considers computation, fabrication, and the material itself as inseparable dimensions of design. Her field and design attitude engaging and inspiring me to augment the relationship between built, natural, and biological environments.

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

THASX : My digital and graphic design are named "CODE," recently got the NDA prize in France, the design work combined computer C++ language and sewing machine to present. This work is the biggest project for me because I did it for two years with over and over iteration. The design outcome was eventually shown into a book and consisted of four parts.

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

THASX : Diversify your experience. A well-rounded design leader can wear many hats. They collect those hats by taking on responsibilities outside their design "discipline." If you are a Fashion Designer, do not be afraid to take on roles in Graphic Design. I have done Video Design, Animation Design, Graphic Design, Package Design, Toy Design, and Innovation Strategy. Without taking on all these experiences, I do not feel that I would be where I am today.

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

THASX : To accomplish a particular purpose. The meaning of design is so multifaceted, to the point that you can no longer say if a universal definition is at all possible.

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

THASX : My parents.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

THASX : Learning and hearing are essential skills, and we need to learn how to appreciate others' work.

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

THASX :

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

THASX : I am designing an animation film for a city's situation under COVID-19, through the abstract virus models as the character to engage people to face and fight the invaders.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?

THASX : "Ceramics Extension" When the audiences step into the installation space, they will sense a feeling of visual infinity. The visual interaction generates a strong feeling to the audiences that every object, everyone, everything is being extended infinitely. The interaction makes people think that they are stepping into a fantasy world that is created by themselves.

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

THASX : We believe all the design field's evolution depends on the future experience of human lives. The design has the power to change people’s behavior, improve people’s living quality, and explore the possibility of life.

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

THASX : The design field will be associated and collaborated more often with the technology industry because of the rapid development of technology.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?

THASX : It depends on the project. New media design project usually takes longer than 3D/2D works.

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

THASX : Research. I will dig into the design topic and find the potential pain points and needs of people, as well as the background research.

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

THASX : It can be both. Design sets the trends when there are lots of great works that are in a similar style or concept. Trends set the designs when there is a new evolution of technology, which needs good design.

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

THASX : Technology allows me to transfer my design concept into reality. Technology brings the possibility to my arts.

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

THASX : For 2D design, I use photoshop, Illustration, XD, Sketch, keynote, and more. For 3D, I use Maya, C4D, ZBrush, Substance Painter, and more. For 4D, I use After Effect, Premiere, Maya, and more.

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

THASX : Color can express the feeling of the design, while materials bring authenticity.

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

THASX : I am open to any kind of question people want to ask. But I prefer people to ask me about the design process more rather than the design outcome.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

TAIRAN HAO AND SHAN XU ARE CHINESE NEW MEDIA ARTISTS AND DESIGNERS IN BEIJING. THEIR WORK QUESTIONS CURRENT NATURE AND TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT, SOCIO-CULTURAL, AND GENDER NORMS, WITH A PARTICULAR EMPHASIS ON EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN TECHNOLOGY AND ART ACTIVISM. NATURALLY DRAWN TO UNCOVERING THE NUANCES AND MECHANISM OF THE WORLD PEOPLE LIVE IN, THEY ARE PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN EXPLORING OUR DAILY LANDSCAPES AND THE CRITICAL CONCERNS OF MODERN TIMES: THE CONFLICTING FORCES THAT SHAPE LAND AND HUMANS. THEIR GOAL IS TO RECREATE SPACES THAT INTRIGUE AND ENCOURAGE THE VIEWER TO SLOW DOWN AND INDULGE IN A MOMENT OF CONTEMPLATION AND REFLECTION.


Ceramics Extension Art Installation

Ceramics Extension Art Installation by Tairan Hao and Shan Xu

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