The reasons why you chose to be in the chair of the 2019 Golden Wing Award? The reasons of collaborating with International Famous Furniture Fair (Dongguan) and Golden Wing Award?
Answer: There is a lot to learn from to be in touch with the work from the design world in China. Being in the jury committee for an award program, such as The Golden Wing Award, this would allow me to have a better insight into the thinking and working process of designers, as well as the problems they face constantly. By having the chance to reward those who have contributed inspirationally, it is more than a gratifying experience for me. It was an honor in 2017 and it will be more so this year, to be able to work with the International Famous Furniture Fair again and to further our shared vision of helping to foster a lasting design culture in Dongguan and beyond.
From your opinion, what kind of award is needed for encouraging the development of design in Chinese home furnishing industry? What is your expectation from the Golden Wing Award? What function does Golden Wing Award perform in pushing the design of home furnishing? What kind of design works would you look forward to seeing?
Answer: We are aware of the fact that today there are many awards given to the design field in China, each has its own goal and emphasis. I feel there is a need to encourage design that really lasts, not just in terms of durability, but in it, a generous mind and vision that perpetuate, piercing through the changing trend, and becomes very much a part of our life for now and for many many years to come. I am optimistic, I will look out, searching for those works that will touch me, by their conception, ingenuity, craftsmanship and timelessness. With clear program and guidelines, the Golden Wing Award will be able to set a standard of excellence in design and manufacturing, and this will in turn ignite greater passion for creativity and craftsmanship.
What is your opinion about the trend of the international home furnishing in the future? How can Chinese industry adjust it? How can Chinese design connect with global market?
Answer: Speaking of trend, we are, in a way, speaking of an inherent weakness of the contemporary society. It has been a society rather thirsty for what will be next, as though we could never be happy with what we have. I am compassionate about this phenomenon. For perhaps what we had designed and made might have been too fast, under the pressure for a quick profit, their idea too banal, their making too fragile, the attitude too careless… that not many of we had designed and made over the last few decades could survive beyond a flash of time? Design should be able to renounce this trend, and maintains itself as an autonomous discipline whose paramount concern is for the betterment of life and living. Design is like music, it is an international language. When Chinese designs are able to address to a global audience, it is also a day when cultural boundaries dissolve, design ceases to be design itself, but an embodiment of a common value and aspiration shared by all.
There is a problem in China that good designs have not been successfully helping or integrating with the development of manufacturing. What are the causes of this problem? How to solve it? As an Italian brand, how does your company deal with this problem?
Answer: Design and making are always considered as one inseparable process of creation in my experience working in Europe. To overcome the incompatibility between an idea and its realization is an everyday challenge. This explains why my designs seldom take their shape outside a workshop. Testing an idea, refining a detail, developing the right technique, selecting the suitable material… among others, are the very sources of inspiration for me. I could not image what design would be like without this process of working closely with craftsmen. Perhaps this connection between designer and manufacturer has been lacking in China, due to, perhaps, designers are spending most of the time dreaming in front of computers, while manufacturers are focusing more on established production lines, and it is fully understood that any deviation from such set up, like making a prototype or a small quantity production, is seen as an absolute nuisance. I am, however, hopeful that, with the changing horizon of the manufacturing landscape in the coming years due to greater competitiveness in quality rather than quantity, manufacturers and designers will come together to open up new possibilities and frontiers, each side bringing in the expertise to develop products that infuse harmoniously both the ideology of design and the technology of making.
As an outstanding architect, sculptor and designer, are you inspired by the unique and diverse living and working experience you have internationally? What are your expectations from young Chinese designers?
I have been fortunate, having the time and room to learn, to observe, to digest, and to transcend these experiences positively through creativity. Living with, and finally accustomed to, another culture in the West have surely widened my perspective and sharpened my insight about life, aspiration, meaning of existence, and how one individual could relate to this world. I wish all of us who have taken design seriously could just go out and see, really seeing, not touring, how humanity has lived, conquered, defeated and eventually prevailed, what are the hopes and dreams, the difficulties and despairs… These will help to paint a real picture onto our mind, whether we should respond to these with a sense of duty or we should retreat ourselves from them with a sense of escapism, we have, at least, even once, planted ourselves in a context that is fertile, solid, and is our own.