We, as the Designer Interviews ("DI") had the distinct pleasure and opportunity to interview award-winning, most creative and innovative Lee Chi ("LC").
After graduating from the Department of Architecture at Chung Yuan Christian University in 2007, Lee Chi began to think about the collection of environmental materials in response to the needs of spatial design. His profound feelings towards nature and with which the mysterious connection ever since he was a child inspired him as an artist. Since 2013, Lee, with his experience as an architect, has focused on the creation of unique botanical art installations. He continues to create tracks that blur the boundaries between different concepts as architectural structure, living aspects, and botanical installations via design projects, teaching, artistic creation, and product development. By reflecting upon the nature of art, investigating phenomena, and researching creative techniques, Lee transforms life events into formalized artworks. As an artist, Lee Chi believes that personal instinct is scientific when it comes to defining the relationship between artworks and creators. The boundary between method and passion continuously adjusts itself. As the founder of BOTANIPLAN VON LEE CHI, he carries out multiple aesthetic expressions with conceptual developments. The discarded consumables are given new life appearance and artistic value. Lee utilizes nature-based characteristics and the way the brand captures the public, which in turn affects viewers and participants so that they resonate with the works.
Lee Chi Designs
We are pleased to share with you original and innovative design work by Lee Chi.
Designer Interview of Lee Chi:
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?
LC : I major in architectural design, and always take architectural design as my life goal.
DI: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
LC : Founded in 2013, BOTANIPLAN VON LEE CHI explores the relationship between plants and space, exploring ideas of life and nature in its natural form. Breaking past boundaries of formality to convey messages and new ideals within the work. Combining their background in architecture, designing proposals, education, creating, product developing has paved a close connection between life and plant based art. Continuously garnering ideas for innovation, taking into consideration of materiality, and ideology to create works that speak for themselves.
DI: What is "design" for you?
LC : Design is a tool for communication between different fields and industries, and a way to enrich life.
DI: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
LC : Art that touches people.
DI: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
LC : I’ve once rebuild an 40 years old house, by rethinking the space flow of the building. Natural light is a major consideration in the overall design, allow light to spread evenly and softly across a 120 square-meter studio. The reason why this is one of my favorite case because we have completed satisfactory works within a very limited budget.
DI: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
LC : The company’s brand philosophy.
DI: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
LC : I love using original materials in nature, and redefine it in an artistic perspective in order to explore the connections between human and environment.
DI: When do you feel the most creative?
LC : At work.
DI: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
LC : Source of material, making process, and the impacts of works on viewers and users.
DI: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
LC : I usually feel steady about experiencing a new experience, also sometimes feeling expectant and tense at the same time after discovering more unknown areas.
DI: What makes a design successful?
LC : Focus when working, and good services afterwards.
DI: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
LC : The intention of designs, and a systematic condition planning skills, including time, cost, customer experience, market value etc.
DI: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
LC : Considering whether the project itself is a burden on the environment while designing it.
DI: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
LC : Our last exhibition held in May, 2019 in Taipei. And we are planning to hold three exhibitions in 2020.
DI: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
LC : My inspiration comes from daily life, communication with colleagues and absorption of any kind of knowledge.
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?
LC : Style is not something I want to discuss, what I care about is the connotative value within it.
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?
LC : I live and work in Taipei, and I definitely feel the cultural heritage of Taiwan affects my designs. Taiwan is a country with inclusiveness and international perspective, however, the context of history is not long enough so we lack clarity of thought and confidence in the nation.
DI: How do you work with companies?
LC : Our colleagues come from different professional fields, and got different views and ideas toward design. We usually have a preliminary discussion together before every cases started, and then our project specialist will arrange the role that each person is responsible for in each case.
DI: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
LC : The key elements in a good partnership is communication skills and to establish mature design process. I also believe that an open minded person often makes an excellent designer.
DI: Can you talk a little about your design process?
LC : Normally our concept is set from the observation of society, then we will construct a text to convey this concept. Due to the text, we started the material experiments and design sketches.
DI: Can you describe a day in your life?
LC : Go to work after a morning exercise routine, and often spend two hours reading and doing some mental adjustment before bed.
DI: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
LC : There are no certain rules for design, we can only observe things with a more sensitive awareness, and think outside of the box (conditional life).
DI: What is your "golden rule" in design?
LC : Regular pace of life.
DI: What skills are most important for a designer?
LC : Communication, which can strengthen the connection between hands and brain.
DI: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
LC : Every thing that can be a communication tool.
DI: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
LC : Try to understand your inertia and avoid it.
DI: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
LC : According to the needs of the client and the case.
DI: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
LC : Where does my design inspirations come from.
DI: Who are some of your clients?
LC : 2019, Montblanc, Installation 2019, MIMO, Installation 2019, Panasonic, Installation 2019, Clé de peau Beauté, Installation 2018, RAW, Installation 2018, Fujin tree, Installation 2018, Nike, Installation 2017, Hermès, Installation
DI: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
LC : Furniture design plays an important role in life, corresponding to the relationship between space and ergonomics.
DI: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
LC : Besides making art illustrations, we will begin to develop the furniture and clothing line in 2020. Expecting to break the current consumption habits through the perspective of circular economy system.
DI: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
LC : As a team
DI: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
LC : We currently invite two fashion designers to participate a cooperation to hold an exhibition in November, which will display a collection of unisex clothes made of recycle materials and fabrics. We hope this event brings new aspect toward ethical fashion and the fashion industry.
DI: How can people contact you?
LC : Email: email@example.com Adress: 1F, No.14, Aly 90, Sec 3, Chengde Rd, Datong Dist, Taipei City 103, Taiwan Phone: 886 2 25994373