Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Lu Li ("LL") 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?

LL : 2019-2017, Postgraduate in product design, Kyushu University, Japan 2017-2016, Arts and crafts auditor, University of Tsukuba, Japan 2014-2010, a College student in furniture design, Beijing Forestry University, China

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

LL : Design is for life. And I want to be a designer because of my love for life. I hope to make my life better and many other people's lives as well through my design.

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

LL : We only live once. Why do we force ourselves to do something we don't like.

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

LL : I think a good designer is able to complete the design project well. In addition to completing the design task, a great designer would form their own design theory to put forward their own design ideas, summarize in practice, and have their own design methodology which can guide other people to design. Design masters must be a combination of practice and theory.

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

LL : I think good design is sometimes experience and sometimes a feeling. Some good designs can be transferred to consumers through commercialization so that they can get a good experience. But sometimes some good design can't be commercialized. It can only be passed on to you in other ways. As long as a design lets you enjoy the convenience of life, the beauty of life, I think this is a good design.

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

LL : I want to have my own poetry collection, but now I don’t have a lot of fans, and I haven’t written enough number of them either. It will take me some time to accumulate works.

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

LL : I think it's a kind of unyielding stubbornness, a little higher pursuit of design, and a little confidence in my own design works.

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

LL : At present, I am most satisfied with this award-winning work: Butterfly hanger. Because it's a minimalist piece of assembled furniture. The structure and shape are quite simple, with its strong functionality, flat packaging, manual installation, repeated disassembly, sustainability, etc.

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

LL : They say, science is We, and art is Me. For me, the design is somewhere between rational analysis and artistic expression, and it is an individual artistic expression with certain rational analysis. The design should be people-oriented, so it can't be all about personal artistic expression, it needs rational analysis of data. The starting point of the design is decided by the designer, what he sees, what he perceives, and finally what expressed by him, which means his own thinking and expression—what we call art, is involved in the whole thing.

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

LL : A lot of people helped me on my way. If I want to pay gratitude, who I need to thank is my professor-尾方義人. My professor has high requirements and expectations for me, which forces me to devote myself to research and design, and constantly strive to dig deeper things. Then I would like to thank the staff of the workshop of Kyushu University of Japan, such as 津田 三朗、福澤 萌、笠原 和治. They have been with me for more than two years, patiently guiding and completing designs after designs.

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

LL : I think it's just a matter of time and longevity, not too much of an obstacle.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

LL : Become the most influential design master representing China.

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

LL : It takes me around a month to design the furniture. Starting from the concept, confirm the material and process, deepen the drawing, proofing, modification, and confirm the final drawing.

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

LL : Of course, we need to understand the needs of customers. In the early stage, we need to communicate with customers more. Only when we fully understand the needs of customers can we ensure that the direction will not deviate.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

LL : A famous philosopher in China once said: "去甚,去奢,去泰" (abandon extreme, luxurious, and unreasonable thought) which is the guiding ideology of my design.

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

LL : Because what we are studying now is the furniture structure based on the properties of materials. The material is very important in the design. Different materials have different properties, such as the dry shrinkage and wet expansion of wood, the elasticity of metal, the elasticity of cotton thread, and so on.

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

LL : I hope that I am an independent designer and can cooperate with more people who are more professional in other fields when I do design projects and constantly trigger new design sparks.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?

LL : I like to communicate with factory workers. They often have rich experience in production. Sometimes they come up with more and better solutions to some problems, which makes me gain a lot of knowledge.

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

LL : Who I want to see most is Chen Mapping, who had been writing under the name Sanmao. She is an excellent writer and poet in China, but she committed suicide in 1991. If I had a chance, I really hope to meet her, for just a few simple words, then, my life has no regret.

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

LL : Not too much feeling, just feel happy for a while. The award is just a recognition of my design ability, it doesn't represent too much. More efforts are needed in the future. It's not difficult to be famous, but it's hard to be an influential and valuable designer.

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

LL : I like white, white is very pure. Like Tokyo, Tokyo is a place full of design. A large number of outstanding Japanese designers are active here. Every month, various exhibitions of design and art emerge endlessly, which makes people ecstatic. I like to do handwork. When I do handwork, I am able to calm my mind, getting rid of a lot of distractions, and reach my simplest yearning.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

LL : There is an old saying in China: "After three years without flying, one might fly to the sky." I always use this sentence to motivate myself. If you want to fly higher, you should first tie up your wings and do not fly. Only let oneself calm down first and keep yearning for flying, can we finally dash to the sky. Every stage of life is like this. If you want to enter the next stage, you should let yourself learning and gaining for a certain period of time, and also, you should not be impetuous.

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

LL : I am a very communicative person. I welcome people who love the design to contact me to discuss the design with me or introduce his design works to me. Welcome to contact me: 1045188807@qq.com.



Butterfly Hanger

Butterfly Hanger by Lu Li

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