LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Li-Yu Cheng ("LC") 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: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

LC : There has been a high turnover rate in design industry. Only a quarter of my college classmates still work in this field. Talent is a necessary but insufficient condition for a student to be a good designer. Most people see designers as people who do the drawing with elegance and work out splendid plans in the office. While, the process of spatial design includes so many aspects of professional skills and tasks that we end up utterly exhausted from overworking. Looking back, the ultimate goal of our education should raise an all-rounder instead of a dreamer unacquainted with construction techniques and practices. How could we change the shape of a column without knowing its construction? The winner projects of Pritzker Architecture Prize in recent years are from local or small studios, which tells us these designs stand out from the rest for their quality rather than in scale. Some students tend to design public accommodation like airports or train stations. However, they don’t have the whole knowledge of designing a house. In my point of view, this funny situation was originated from the eager to make a difference in some specific colleges. Thus, here comes the two extremes of higher education in architecture: A part of graduate students put the theory they learned into practice by learning woodwork, machinery and plasterwork at school. On the other hand, some students do some dramatic drawing of curving structure but not knowing how to build it. It’s like a heritage of the 1980’s crush on outer space exploration in Japan, which was an epitome of time indeed. However, most of the design wasn’t always functional. That’s why so many students join film industries to do scene design. It’s easier for them to carry out fancy shapes and forms in a gravity-free space. Within these two extremes, I prefer to sit on the fence. For me, the priority of design is to solve the problems and resolve to complete. I encourage students to follow in masters’ steps like Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. At the age of 20 to 40, they were designing houses. They engaged in large projects and commercial buildings only when they were mature enough. This way, you can handle different scales in every new case, eventually knowing which one suits you most. We will lose the delicacy of space design if everyone dives into large scale projects.

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

LC : Constantly solving problems and resolving to practice will make the outcome a good design.

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

LC : I. M. Pei, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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

LC : Constantly solving problems and resolving to practice will make the outcome a good design.

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

LC : More interior designs of commercial and domestic space and some product designs including lighting, branding and furniture.

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

LC : A kit for dentists which helps them with dental implanting.

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

LC : Technology improves every day. We are not necessary to comprehend the Pythagoras theorem but it affects our daily life. We don’t necessarily know the whole theory but we can “package” it. The field of space design is so large that one can’t master it by him/herself. It’s crucial for us to learn what other people do in UI design: packaging the knowledge and spreading it out. Back then, when we were using software like Maya and 3ds Max, we have to learn 500 commands out of 3300 to draw at will. After the invention of iPhone, the UX design turns simpler and more functional-oriented. However, there’s still a lot in space design that needs to be simplify. Architecture needs time to take form, its development is subsequent to other arts like photography and graphic design, so people in this field should minimize the barriers of it in order to make everyone practice it with ease.

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

LC : Usually 6 to 8 months.

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

LC : Site analysis.

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

LC : Mostly SketchUp and Layout.

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

LC : As a supporting role to the space.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

THE ARCHITECT, LI-YU CHENG, IS A LECTURER OF INTERIOR DESIGN DEPARTMENT IN CHUNG YUAN CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, TAIWAN. TO FULFILL AMBITIONS TOWARD MODERNIST ARCHITECTURES AND CONTEMPORARY SPATIAL DESIGN, IN 2010, LI-YU CHENG FOUNDED STUDIO X4 AT A MULTI-CULTURAL CITY, TAIPEI, WHERE THE TEAMS DEDICATING TO URBAN LANGUAGES AND INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES TOWARD BOTH EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR SPATIAL DESIGN.


Mastech Dongguan Office

Mastech Dongguan Office by Li-Yu Cheng

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