Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Zheng Peng (ZP) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Zheng Peng by clicking here.
Interview with Zheng Peng at Sunday 20th of April 2014
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?
ZP: I have started to study art from 5 years old until I graduated from Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts as a postgraduate in 2005, and then I established a design company with my classmates. I have been dreaming of becoming a great designer.
FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
ZP: Our team is an interior design company in Guangzhou of China, and there are 40 employees. Most of them are professional designers, who are mainly engaged in the interior design of resorts, real estates and enterprises.
FS: What is "design" for you?
ZP: “Design” is not only a way of living, but also a way of thinking. Therefore, we call it as “A Way of Life”.
FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
ZP: The original design with combination of internationalization and regionalism is my favorite design.
FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
ZP: Kengo Kuma from Japan and Wang Shu from China are the world-class architectural masters, and are also my favorite designers. Their works have depth of thought, presenting their philosophical thoughts as persons from Asia. I believe that good design can present the world outlook of designers.
FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
ZP: The first thing for undertaking of projects and establishment of company is to know the source of designed projects.
FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
ZP: I am interested in folk handicrafts and architectural construction technologies, which often exist before the “Industrial Revolution”, but our modern design exists after the “Industrial Revolution”. Therefore, our new topic is how to play a new role in the design for these traditional technologies.
FS: When do you feel the most creative?
ZP: This is difficult to answer, maybe when you wake up in the morning, or when you read quietly at a deep night.
FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
ZP: The thematic concept is a critical factor to determine if any design work has deep thoughts, but materials and details is a critical factor to determine if any design work is successful.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
ZP: The status of exciting aims to obtain the inspiration of design, but also I have to calm down to make rational judgment.
FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
ZP: Although the success of design is a good thing, it is difficult to realize the predicted 100% of design effect in China. Usually, it is quite well if there is 80% of design effect. The successful feeling of design is also our power of continuous progress.
FS: What makes a design successful?
ZP: There are many factors, such as talent, inspiration, perseverance, and even the photography and later promotion. There is an old saying in China of “Three Carpenter, Seven Master”. That is to say, a good entrusting party is a critical factor to determine if a design work is successful.
FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
ZP: I often consider if the design can present real value in improving people's living mode. The value may be in physical level, such as “function”; it may also be in spirit level, such as if the design is to make people pleasant or realize the enlightenment of wisdom.
FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
ZP: After the “Industrial Revolution”, the people destroyed the environment in order to meet their own expanding desires. Now, it is time for them to self-examination, the designers who have social responsibilities should personally do some designs aiming at changing wrong living way of people in the past and advocating a new and health living way rather than pursuing for commercial profits.
FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
ZP: There is an old saying in China of “Unity of Man and Nature”, and the future design should be a design of harmonious co-existence between human and nature.
FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
ZP: Our last exhibition was to attend 2013 Guangzhou International Design Week, and was also a design work that we have been awarded in this time. We will also attend 2014 Guangzhou International Design Week, and we further hope to attend some international exhibitions and activities in the future.
FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
ZP: It is called as “The design does not depend on itself”, my design inspiration usually comes from reading and traveling. Through life experience and inspiration, various moments of inspiration are memorized, and this is source of my design inspiration.
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?
ZP: The design style of modern simplicity is my favorite. The design aims at solving problems, but there are many methods to solve problems, from perspectives of aesthetics, a lot of styles can have good looking, but a few of styles can be most suitable. The design is to find out several reasonable ways and solve problems finally.
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?
ZP: I come from the South of China, our country has 5,000 years of history, and there are many cultural heritages that are reusable. There is a saying of “National culture is also international culture”, I think this opinion is wrong. There is Ballet Performance Group in China, but why there is no Peking Opera Performance Group in Italy? The national culture is different from international culture, the international design can be shared by the people all around the world, and relevant problems are also international.
FS: How do you work with companies?
ZP: It is very simple, that is to sign the commercial contract and perform it.
FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
ZP: In China, it is usually achieved by introduction of familiar friends. I hope that the enterprise can understand and find out designers through internet, the design company with such ability can obtain more job opportunities, rather than depending on “interpersonal relationship”.
FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
ZP: The design process is identical to that of most of interior design companies, and our design process also starts from conceptual design to construction drawings and construction supervision through in-depth design, until final furnishing and layout. Currently, the company can provide customers with a complete set of services.
FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
ZP: We have cooperated with foreign designers to design a resort called as Crosswaters EconLodge & SPA, which was set in national forest park of Huizhou in Guangdong. This project was also selected as one of fifty large ecological resorts in the world by National Geographic Magazine.
FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
ZP: If there is no travel, I usually get up at 7 o’clock every day, sending my child to school and then going back to the company. In day time, I handle some daily businesses of company and review the design drawings. In the evening, I will go home to stay with my families. My concept design or design inspiration usually occurs after ten o'clock at night.
FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
ZP: I think I am still very young.
FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
ZP: The urbanization process of China is very rapid, in one hand, the rapid construction offers more opportunities for designers, but in the other hand, most of design works are finished in a short time, lacking of rational thought, pursuing for rapid commercial values and resulting in damage of environment, these are negative effects. Therefore, as a Chinese designer, I should make more thoughts and self-examination.
FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
ZP: There is an old saying in China of “great truth is simplified”. Any most effective method is usually simplest.
FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
ZP: The world outlook and thinking process of designer are most important.
FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
ZP: I will obtain inspiration from traveling and reading, but the operation of software is the work of assistants.
FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
ZP: In order to meet the requirements of Chinese market, our company always considers the improvement of working efficiency is the most important one. We will establish powerful design consulting library, including pictures, materials and information required by design, and will standardize part of design work to improve the design efficiency.
FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
ZP: It usually takes half a year.
FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
ZP: How to reach an agreement with customers.
FS: What was your most important job experience?
ZP: Hold on, hold on, and hold on again.
FS: Who are some of your clients?
ZP: They are mainly some real estate developers, such as Vanke – the largest developer in China.
FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
ZP: I like some architectural works designed by Japanese architects, such as Tadao Ando, Kengo Kuma and Sou Fujimoto. Their design works can present the unique understanding of the world as a designer from Asia.
FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
ZP: As a team, we always focus on teamwork.
FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
ZP: The Crosswaters EconLodge & SPA designed by our team is always under continuous development and construction. In addition, there are also many real estate housings and sales centers under the design and construction. We hope that there will be more and better deign works in the future.
FS: How can people contact you?
ZP: 登陆网站：www.cocopro.cn 或者联系我个人E-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org Please login in website: www.cocopro.cn or contact me with my personal E-mail: email@example.com
FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
ZP: No. Thank you!
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