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Interview with Kevin Chu

Home > Designer Interviews > Kevin Chu

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Kevin Chu (KC) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Kevin Chu by clicking here.

Interview with Kevin Chu at Sunday 29th of April 2018

FS: 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?
KC: I have always wanted to be a designer ever since i was 10 years old. I like looking at things in general but reinterpretthem in my own way. I studied architecture in Architectural Association then London University and am a qualified RIBA Architect.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
KC: I started COC in 2016 but previously we have been known as Fablab Design. We have offices in Italy and Hong Kong as we work extensively in Asia and Europe. We are one of the few firms in Hong Kong that focuses on contemporary environmental designs and i am always trying to push my partners(we don't have corporate hierarchy and anyone contributes equally to the company) to come up with ground breaking elements and technology; my wife being a great muse to a lot of the designs eventhrough she is not in the design buisiness.

FS: What is "design" for you?
KC: Human reinterpretation what Nature has already given you.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
KC: architecture, furniture, exhibitions spaces, art and sculptures

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
KC: My most favorite design is when a design can utilize Art, Science and Technology in unity with a strong consideration of Biosynthesis with Nature Elements. I believe this is a very hard criteria to achieve but i think we have done it this time with our new lamps!

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
KC: I did a competition when i was 21 for Alessi. It was a stool and a table lamp. It was selected as the winning award but never made into production.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
KC: I love the concept of upcycle material such as recycle cardboards, styrofoams, reclaimed fabrics etc etc. I like using materials that are not usually associated with traditional construction industry. I also love using nature into my design such as plants and any organic lifeforms. I am also a huge proponent of sustainable energy and smart home technology. I love to fuse very archaic and basic material with ultra high tech solutions.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
KC: When i am diving or adventuring in nature. Also when i go to art galleries and see modern art and sculptures. I avoid as much as possible to see other designs as i rather keep my inspiration more original.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
KC: Aesthetic(and there is no shame to this!), Sustainability, Material and Technology

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
KC: inspired, driven, like i am on stimulants

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
KC: satisfied, unsatisfied,

FS: What makes a design successful?
KC: when you supersede yours and a client's expectation and create something that can be though provoking and head turning

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
KC: surprise and innovation(it could be dramatic or discreet but it has to be innovative in context)

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
KC: we are here to enrich society and also to work in harmony with nature. We should give society more creative/cultural vibrancy as we are in the business of creating things.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
KC: for sure we are thinking far more in unity with nature and more considerate in our impact on our planet. I believe the global conglomeration domination is dying out and small unique entrepreneurs will become the norm. One thing we have to start to consider is stop thinking buying fast design or fast fashion is the norm as the cost always comes to us in once way or another such as work force unemployment or pollutions.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
KC: My last exhibition was in Shanghai, China in 2017 and hopefully my next one will be with A Design Award in Como.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
KC: As i said before visiting nature and going to museums helps a lot. Sometimes even visiting the skip helps too sometimes.

FS: 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?
KC: I don't actually consider a specific style for myself although i can say i only do modern design. One of the things i always explore is movement and combinations as since i inspire a lot from nature, and nature is never static, this has become something very consistent with my way of thinking. I also get bored easily so this reflects part of my personality.

FS: 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?
KC: I live between Italy and Hong Kong and it has both a profound influence to all my designs. I always like to take cultural elements, not just aesthetically, into my design and reinterpret or update them.

FS: How do you work with companies?
KC: i usually ask my clients for their brief and ideas, as well as some of their concerns and wishes. Then i put it into my cerebral mixer and concort something unique, innovative and original.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
KC: If you know the work of the chosen designer, let him/her have as much creative freedom as possible after you have set the brief. We work then best when we are allowed to indulge as much as possible into our creative think tank.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
KC: Get client brief, take a walk or dive in nature, look through products or designs in google related to brief, look for elements that missing in all these and create the new concept

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
KC: Kitchens, Dinning Table, Wardrobe, Side Cabinets, Lighting

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
KC: I wake up at 6:30am, do sport, then work on projects, then take a break with sport, then work more. I really don't have a set schedule but all my activities are somehow intertwine with my process of work.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
KC: is hard to give advice as the design market is always changing. I know it is important to commercialized your work but try to stay true to your design vision. We are in a highly competitive industry but if you always "follow the trend" or do "what everyone wants you to do" sooner or later you will loose your grounding in the design industry. Be persistent and learned from failures. Always stay original.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
KC: like any industry the commercialism aspect is the worst part as this really robs creativity sometimes. Every industry want to have "sells figures" and usually this promotes only "famous established designers" or "sellable designs that the market want". Most companies/clients, especially the bigger ones, are usually very prone experimentation or risk taking. But what we can do as designers is to make something of our own, launch it on crowd funding platforms and proof to the world that our designs could be viable and marketable options if the campaign is successful.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
KC: be original

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
KC: try to go to factories and manufacturers and learn as much as possible on the dirt of design. This will improve vastly your knowledge in anything your create. If you can draw try to sketch as much as possible. Look around your everyday life and make everything your inspiration. Even food!!

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
KC: CAD,3D Max, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketchpad, Premier Pro

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
KC: I suggest wake up very early and start your day. Don't go to bed too late and make your work cycle normal. Rest is really important. Also multi-tasking is vital. Always give your self a harsh time limit. I always do this with partners. If we have a job that need to be finishes on Friday, our deadline is usually Tuesday as we know the last days will be issues we need to fix.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
KC: To work from the beginning of nothing, create something by hand and on site with workers, then finally even be part of the logistic process until the final launch of the design. You learn and interact so much more like this then just to allocate task to someone else.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
KC: Alessi, Sony, Luca Boffi, Boffi Cucine, IDEAT Magazine, Design 360 Magazine, Siemens, LG Korea, Diamantini & Domeniconi, Unvanart Shanghai, Daikin Japan

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
KC: As long as the work allows me maximum creative leeway i will dive into it with all my passion. I love to create and think outside of the box

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
KC: We are launching the world first environment cleansing furniture collections and i am forming a new venture that design specifically these types of ideas. We are always taking on highly creative and challenging jobs and we are like sponges when it comes to new ideas!

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
KC: I work with designers, artist around the world through online communication and we brainstorm each of our ideas and see which one suits best with any upcoming brief. We always merge somehow ideas from all of us into the final concept.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
KC: all i can say is that we are creating the world cleanest environment to live in with a range of revolutionary products that will also be highly sustainable.

FS: How can people contact you?
KC: please write to kevinchu@coc.design or visit my website at www.coc.design


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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