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Interview with Li Xiang

Home > Designer Interviews > Li Xiang

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

Interview with Li Xiang at Thursday 30th of April 2020
Xiang Li
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?
LX: I’ve been learning about painting ever since I was a kid. The experience of painting and learning art might cultivate my interest in beautiful things and aesthetic consciousness. So I’ve always dreamed of doing something related with this when I grow up. But it was not until the college time that I began to realize the beauty of architecture. I graduated from Birmingham City College and got my bachelor degree in engineering. Then I started to work as an architect in the United Kingdom for the first year. 2010, I went back to China and spent a period of time working in an architectural design institute. 2011, I founded my own design studio, X+Living, and it has grown into a medium large company with nearly 70 staffs now.

FS: What is "design" for you?
LX: It is a responsibility to create beyond the limits, a desire to introduce extraordinary to ordinary life, and it is a dream that I want to stick to.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
LX: My first interior space design work is Zhongshuge bookstore in Thames town, Shanghai. The client's demand was very simple. He hoped that I could help him build a most beautiful bookstore to attract customers back to the offline shop. After it was completed, the market and consumers’ affection towards this bookshop was far beyond my expectation.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
LX: When I focused on something.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
LX: I will pay attention to whether the work can touch people's hearts, resonate with the public and bring surprises to the public and society.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
LX: Each of my work is a challenging new work. When I saw my concept came into reality I felt a great victory. I was proud of my team and myself.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
LX: I think a good design should return to the designer itself, which can reflect the designer's thinking about humanities, society, environment and country. Good design works should be full of feelings without losing design aesthetics. The design without aesthetics is the design that ignores the perceptual expression and lack of imagination.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
LX: We must create with good intentions, improve the living space on the basis of serving people, and take care of life. Design cannot be separated from the concern of people, society and ecological environment.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
LX: Evolution is to adapt to the times. I think of the phrase "design does not set limits". It is quite right. The design should not be limited to one place, and the designer will not always be locked in the ivory tower. I think that in the future, designers will play more roles and develop towards a mixed and diversified direction that is rich in advanced technology and creative innovation. The design work needs to be more sustainable, realize more "impossible", and eventually return to service.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
LX: I like to look around, get in touch with diverse information sources, and keep thinking. I read "Le Corbusier's Residential Space Composition" before, and suddenly thought of the opposite concept, why do people have to communicate? In the past, there was a lack of communication between people, so architects used construction techniques to construct spaces for communication. But now in the information age, the amount of information communication is too large, and people's thinking is actually being slowly eroded, including the homogeneity of our design is getting higher and higher, I sometimes even hope to be isolated. I read the same book at different times, and it made me understand that the needs of humanity are changeable. So inspiration for me is sometimes a flash of contact with new things, and sometimes it is the result of thinking sober and reflective.

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?
LX: I never define my own style. Design is a process of continuous exploration and improvement. I don't want to be defined by style. In my work, the most important feature is always insisting on the integration and balance of aesthetics and function, which is the core principle of my design.

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?
LX: I currently work and live in Shanghai. I think the cultural heritage of the country will definitely affect the design. I can see that my design works also contain unique cultural memories of different cities. For example, Yangzhou Zhongshuge restored the street culture; the ethnic patterns of Guiyang Zhongshuge; the mountain landscape of Chongqing Zhongshuge, Kunqu Opera elements expressed in Kunshan Mixc. The culture of the living environment has a positive effect on the creation and can also provide a wealth of reference.

FS: How do you work with companies?
LX: Communication! Sufficient communication! I am a straight-headed person, and I want to do everything by myself, and communicate with Party A very smoothly. For example, Hangzhou Neobio Family Park entered the end of the construction, I was particularly anxious about the situation on the spot, and constantly urged the promotion. Party A especially understood my mood and finally went to the site for supervision. I think that as long as the customer feels your sincerity and you really consider the issue from their standpoint, communication and cooperation will be easier.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
LX: All the parties I met are excellent. I think as long as they trust each other enough, cooperation will be smooth. From the perspective of the designer, it must be the first consideration for Party A. On the contrary, for Party A, choosing a good designer is to find someone who understands him, understands him, and considers for him, and of course depends on his work and experience.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
LX: The first step in the design is to look at the spatial pattern first, and then think about it, to display the functional aesthetics that you want to create in this framework. I will also do a lot of research, analysis and continue to experiment, put forward conceptual strategies, deepen the communication with Party A, confirm the final plan, and then go to implement.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
LX: I get my regular set. Two point one line between company and my home during weekdays. If I don't work overtime on weekends, I will be more relaxed. I will play games, read books, shop for antiques and go to church.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
LX: As a designer, what conveys your thoughts about society and the environment through design is that you need to always think and practice.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
LX: The negative side is too busy, if it is said to be negative. But for me personally, I really enjoy such busyness. Isn't this the normal state of the designer? Busyness means fullness. There are too many positive aspects. Turn your imagination into action. This process is amazing. Then you can witness the results of your practice. It is an affirmation and encouragement. You can accumulate more power to continue to create.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
LX: Pursuing the balance of aesthetics and function in space is my golden rule. We advocated less is more in the past, and I think the addition of design can also be interpreted in this way-"Every detail is meaningful".

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
LX: Ability to think and observe.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
LX: There are too many of them. CAD, 3dmax are commonly used in design. Everyday life is the source of inspiration.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
LX: I have developed a working habit. Plan the next arrangement in advance so that it will be easier to get to work the next day. The consumption time is certain, the important thing is how to consume. In addition to designing, I also need to manage the company, so I will arrange them according to importance and priority, and then divide the tasks into sections. Of course, I will also manage and make good use of the team to maximize time and efficiency.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
LX: The shortest half day to complete the design concept, sometimes it takes three days. Then it will be connected with the designer team, deepening, color matching, material selection, etc. and finally draw the renderings. Because our company is panoramic modeling, each program often contains dozens of hundreds of renderings, so generally this stage will take more than a month.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
LX: China Resources (Holdings) Co., Ltd.: The MIXc Kunshan Shanghai Zhongshu industrial Co., LTD: Zhongshuge Bookstore New Century Hotels & Resorts: Hotel Project

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
LX: I enjoy designing works that are not only innovative, but also give the public a mission. Like the Park Zoo hotel in Hangzhou, this design is a particularly rare creative experience for me. I put all my love for animals into this hotel. I use the design language to narrate a public welfare story in the commercial space, and hoping to arouse the public's attention and thinking and understand my intention.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
LX: In fact, I have been brewing for a while for the next thing, and soon the products we develop will be officially launched for the market. In addition to continuing my pursuit of design, this product is also an experimental concept for me. I hope to launch a new design and life concept in the field of home improvement.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
LX: I am responsible for the overall concept of the project output and control the final effect and quality of the plan. Because there are too many projects, I have to work with the team to complete. The team mainly cooperates with me to deepen the plan.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
LX: There are several Zhongshuge city stores that have been designed and under construction. In addition, we will have some design works in the parent-child and the hotel industry.

FS: How can people contact you?
LX: Email: press@xl-muse.com Business cooperation: timon@xl-muse.com Instagram: xlivingart Official website: www.xxxxxx.design Facebook: Xiang Li


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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