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Interview with Wai Ho Cheung

Home > Designer Interviews > Wai Ho Cheung

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Wai Ho Cheung (WC) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Wai Ho Cheung by clicking here.

Interview with Wai Ho Cheung at Monday 24th of April 2017
Wai Ho Cheung
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?
WC: I originally majored in Physics at The University of Manchester. After a year, I realised that I preferred to make my own creation which gave me more satisfaction. Then I changed the study to Industrial Product Design at Coventry University.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
WC: I have not founded any design studio yet unfortunately. Currently, I am looking for a design job in Europe.

FS: What is "design" for you?
WC: Design is creation with meaning(s).

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
WC: I like furniture design most, particularly in Scandinavian style which is simple, natural and minimal.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
WC: The universe. It is beautiful and essential; it is untouchable but amiable; it is simpler than what you understood but more complicated than what you thought.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
WC: The first design was the showcase, Ferris Wheel for Shenzhen Mannay Cosmetics Co., Ltd. and the first complete design project was to design and visual merchandise for their first retail shops, Cutyland. Please visit my online portfolio at http://waihocheung.wixsite.com/waihocheung for detail regarding my design project.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
WC: I like Scandinavian furniture which is mainly made of natural materials like wood to provide the feeling of nature but I realised that the material I used most was plastic and metal. To improve and diverse my design style, I will keep learning and practicing on different kinds of material and technology.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
WC: I am the most creative when I am dreaming.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
WC: In my opinion, we have a simple but difficult mission as designers: to make things to improve quality of life. Design is not art, so the key must be functionality. However, products with pure functionality usually look clumsy and unwelcome. So I always focus on a question: how to make the functional part as a part of authenticity or vice versa.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
WC: Certainly, I will have different emotions when I design different things; usually I feel blissfulness when I get inspirations instantly.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
WC: I remembered when the first showcase I designed for Mannay was produced; I was inexplicably excited due to my first commercial design had come out. Until now, I still think it is amazing and unbelievable every time I see my designs are produced.

FS: What makes a design successful?
WC: It depends on the point of view. For sure, a win-win situation must be economic, long-lasting authentic and functional for all manufacturers, retailers and customers.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
WC: Nothing is absolutely good or bad, unless you give out some constraints. For example, you will not say that a shelter is a good design before you know a disaster is coming. Therefore, I would say a good design is the right answer for the right question at the right moment.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
WC: I remember I answered something similar during the first year of the study: While we think we are designer and creating something good, we are a part of the industrial activity which destroys the world most. Besides, when you try to find the replacement, it might be even worse. For example, during the Earth Hour, people do not turn on the lights but instead they may do other activities which cause even more pollution. Thus, I think the responsibility is not because of our profession, but as humans, that we may need to think how we can be humans with better mentality.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
WC: I think smart products and 3D printing technology are the milestones in the design field in this decade and smart products will keep improving to be more intelligent and dominate the products in every field; in the meantime, 3D printing technology will make every single design ‘specifically general’, which means the same product can be tailor-made for customer that is more ergonomic.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
WC: Last time, I exposed during Fuorisalone 2017, Milan at Din-Design In 2017 by Promotedesign.it and I hope I will exhibit as many as I can in the rest of the year.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
WC: For my work, I usually reference the current products and showcase then try to translate into a unique design; for my self-direct projects, I usually get inspirations in dreams, so I just feed my creativity every night. In fact, I always keep attention to the surroundings because I believe the nature is the best designer.

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?
WC: Personally, I think the more advanced civilisation becomes, the fewer accessories will be used, as accessories have now become a functional part in everyday life. For example, a watch is no longer simply used as a statement piece of jewellery, but is used to tell the time. In other words, even accessories are functional. I also have an interest in combining ancient geometry with current techniques, such as ergonomics. Thus, I would describe my style as making functionality authentically.

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?
WC: I live in Hong Kong and I spent quite a lot of time in U.K. In U.K., I had the freedom and time to think but making prototypes were expensive; Hong Kong is an international city with various people and cultures and it is close to China, which makes prototyping much more efficient; however, here is many distractions as other megacities do. Besides, my culture, particularly I Ching(易經) affects me very much, not only on the designs, but the concept and philosophy of life.

FS: How do you work with companies?
WC: I worked as a designer in the companies I worked for and I was responsible for all design-related aspects of product design and interior design. Besides, I used to control the time and cost for the production of showcases.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
WC: I suggest that companies can give out the design brief at the beginning as detailed as possible and be confident on the projects and the designers. Meanwhile, designer is a profession involves in creativity, so for companies, I suggest they can set up some open questions for the candidates.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
WC: Most of my inspirations come from my dreams. So I have a notebook next to me. I will draw the images out and then I will try to puzzle the whole design by searching reference, sketching and CAD modelling. For my work, I usually reference the current products and showcase then try to translate into a unique design for the company.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
WC: Monopoly, flush toilet, vacuum cleaner, sofa bed (especially my design, Dimension), Arctic, Liquid Glacial Table

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
WC: Sleep and dream, wake up so hard like after car crash and then keep thinking until I sleep.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
WC: Conceptually, I don’t agree with ‘thinking outside the box’. When you think outside the box means you still realise there is a boundary. Although designers always have constrains to do design, such as ergonomics, thinking should be limitless. So the first step is to take away the label, ‘designer’ and to explore your own philosophy about life, then you will know what the best design(s) should be.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
WC: Designer is the profession allows me to fulfil my creativity also which is the profession I can use most of my skills. These are the opinions I can tell, but I cannot find the negatives because I love my profession.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
WC: In Chinese, we have a motto, ‘a calf would not be scared by tigers(初生之犢不畏虎)'. This means that a new-born animal will not fear challenges and will explore the world with curiosity and without assumptions, which I believe is a key attribute in a great designer.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
WC: Creativity, passion, the way of thinking and the ability to present the ideas.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
WC: I used pencils, Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, 3ds Max, Rhinoceros, Solidworks, my brain and my heart.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
WC: To me, the most time-consuming part would be finding inspiration and translating it into a real object. Consequently, I always try to catch as many inspirations as I can to enrich my library.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
WC: It depends on how detailed I need to work on the project. Usually I finish a project from 2weeks to a month, but few of my projects took me even more than a year.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
WC: 'Can you low down the cost?'

FS: What was your most important job experience?
WC: All opportunities I have had were important to me, but the internship at By-Georgsen S.L., Spain was the life-changing one. My foundations for furniture design were laid under the guidance from Mr. Morten Georgsen and his professional design team; the work experience at Shenzhen Mannay Cosmetics Co., Ltd. provided me a lot of freedom of creation; the internship at Karim Rashid China had strengthened my presentation skills.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
WC: Fernbaby (China) at Karim Rashid China VIDA & Co. for my fashion design An Italian couple for my furniture design

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
WC: I enjoy every kind of design I can handle, but the most in furniture design because it is the field I have the most inspirations.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
WC: 1. Find a job in Europe relating to product design, especially furniture design 2. Try to sell my designs 3. I have few storylines that I want to cooperate with Mr. Christopher Nolan or The Wachowskis. 4. Remind people about happiness

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
WC: I worked as a team in the companies, but I work on my own for the self-direct project at this moment.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
WC: For my self-project, I have uncountable ideas waiting for further development, so I have no clue where I should start to explain unfortunately.

FS: How can people contact you?
WC: Website: http://waihocheung.wix.com/waihocheung Watsapp: +85263301863 Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wai-ho-cheung-0a6ab96b

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
WC: I promised myself that if I had chance to speak publicly, I would encourage my favourite football player, the former Manchester United Brazilian, Luis Anderson. I believe Anderson still have chance to become a top class player, please does not give up; that is the thing I also want to tell everyone: stand for your dreams and step out your comfort zone.


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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