We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Chuan Wang ("CW").
PMA is a cross-boundary office focused on glocal design, with a range of design disciplines spanning multiple scales, from furniture design and installation art to architectural landscape and urban planning. The practice works of the firm are combined with the world's cutting-edge academic research, reflecting the exploration of today's social and economic development and urban environment. The firm has always been committed to actively participating in the creation of urban space and successfully applied the advanced digital technology to the whole design process in combination with the exploration of landscape urbanism carried out by leading institutions.
Chuan Wang Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Chuan Wang.
Designer Interview of Chuan Wang:
DI: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
CW : I have industrial, architectural, landscape design three background. And being a designer is just a natural interest for me. I actually wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid, and I always thought I'd be a scientist or an engineer. My father teaches mathematics and used to work in the Beijing institute of atomic energy, he did something similar to the applied mathematics which motivated me to be a scientist.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
CW : PMA is a cross-boundary office focused on glocal design, with a range of design disciplines from furniture design and installation art to architectural landscape and urban planning. The practice works of the firm are combined with the world's cutting-edge academic research, reflecting the exploration of today's social and economic development and urban environment and has always been committed to actively participating in the creation of urban space.
DI: What is "design" for you?
CW : I think design is about reconsidering the relationship between people and the environment or surroundings. Design can make people's life more efficient and more comfortable, and more harmonious with their surroundings.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
CW : We don't really differentiate between one type and another, and we like designs that are challenging. The more extreme the design conditions, the more excited we get.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
CW : My favorite project among our company might be this is Lamborghini sales center project, and for the landscape project is sunken garden. The volume of these two projects is small enough and the design is free, we can try to put the thinking of the relationship between people and environment into it. Because Lamborghini is a building of 1000 square meters, which gives relatively large freedom, we can focus on solving some key problems by means of design. Sunken garden is our personal attempt, the first attempt to put the feeling of Chinese garden into the landscape design. We simulated the spatial feeling of a different landscape in suzhou, China, while using very modern materials, such as fair-faced concrete.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
CW : As a product designer, my first project is a computer. As a space designer, my first project is to make a plot similar to the exhibition area for a well-known designer brand.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
CW : Concrete and metal are definitely my favorites. For technology, parameterization technique.
DI: What makes a design successful?
CW : To consider the requirements of the design itself and the meaning behind it, at the same time, we think it needs to have a logical intersection, you come up with a logic, the logic can be successfully solved in the end. On the contrary, in the use and practice, some users will feel it is a suitable thing is valuable enough, after all, everyone's appeal is not the same.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
CW : The design can uesd to promote the whole environment, let the society be more harmonious, this need to be a basic responsibility.
DI: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
CW : The boundaries of design are bound to blur. We go from product design to urban planning, and many times we use the same values and ideas. And then the future of the design. I think it's the same thing, you don't really differentiate between what kind of design, and in the future it may be a cross-cutting category, and even design can lead to engineering and construction.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
CW : Most of my inspiration comes from the intersection of knowledge in different fields. I find their commonness and individuality among different fields, and then sort them out by a unified set of thinking or a set of logic of values. There are many sources likes books, movies and music.
DI: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
CW : We don't really talk about a particular design style. We emphasize the blurry boundaries between the building and the landscape, but it's more of a feature. Our name of the company know as PolyMorph, means we don't want to be a company with a specific design style and have a fixed style in the form.
DI: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
CW : Beijing. This will certainly happen. Everyone's own cultural background and heritage will have a certain impact. We do have a long tradition, but everything has two sides, and it's not really affected that much by environment. Now that information is so developed, there's really no region and is pretty glacal. Just like you put traditional Chinese understanding into the relationship between natural landscape and people, it not only brings you a good design, but some information and elements, and then it depends on how you use that information.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
CW : It is important to have a more open environment for discussion. Management can be hierarchical enough, but design needs to be flat. For companies and designers, I think it's a two-way process, not the company chooses the designers, but how you can improve yourself to attract better ones to come.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
CW : When we do large-scale projects, it’s very typical, just like when we were in school. For example, for some urban design projects, we first have index, then prototype, then massing, and then network urban design. These are four typical steps for us. In architectural design, we will similarly translate it into a set of methods of architectural design, which is simply to analyze the site, solve problems, and form a logical way of thinking, as well as an understanding of sociology and morphology.
DI: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
CW : Advantages, the sensitivity of the designer to life will be very high. You'll really experience a lot of relationships with the environment and society. Disadvantages, just this feeling can't stop, the job of stylist does not have a boundary line, if you like, he is a good thing, let your life have more connotation, at the same time bad aspect, he is a companion state. I have talked with my friends who are in finance, and I can feel that our life state is totally different. When they come to the market close, they go off work, and then they don't have to think too much about data or work. However, it is difficult for us to achieve this state when we do design.
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
CW : To do meaningful design, for any object it has to be meaningful, for the individual, for the environment, for the society, this is the core. After a certain time, it still has the meaning and value of existence, to bring us thinking and inspiration.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
CW : There's not a time management problem for us, if you just talk about doing the design thing, as I said, it's an adjoint process, all the time you're doing the design. For the company time management, it might be those transactional jobs. In addition, design is not a pure pile of time, it is sure to take a lot of time, but it does not mean that more time is better.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
CW : This is completely different. If you do it fast, you only need an hour. On the downside, it can take weeks to find the starting point that you think is right for you. If the design resonates very strongly, you may have thought through all the major elements of the design in a very short time.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
CW : We will certainly try more different types of design.
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
CW : We are working on the civil cede ring, which is the first civil law theme park in China, and also the first time we have tried to do this kind of conceptual theme design. We used modern and international design techniques, and we added regional elements in it. We didn't rely on the local or use too much local materials and forms. This project is comprehensive enough, it is a park and also includes landscape design and architecture, we also try to integrate this cultural attribute into the landscape.