Behind the careful image and minimalist styling of designer Ying Chang lies a woman with very clear ideas; someone for whom research into the field of product design leads her to experiment with new possibilities, formats and materials. Her intention, apart from getting her products onto the market, is to create unique objects and ideas that are unusual and innovative. This is why the London-based designer tackles all kinds of disciplines and purposefully puts herself out there. To date, all these initiatives have brought her to international awards and festivals, with her brand positioning itself more and more as one of the important names in product design.
Among her projects are curiosities such as the Neolastic collection, using the volume of bubble wrap to create a new product that endures beyond its original design; or The Journey, a set of ceramic containers that receive their final finish as the travel distances, such as London to New York, wrapped in unusual packaging that transforms their external appearance with the movement of the packages.
However, Grid System was the work that assured her place in the world of design; a modular furniture project with a metallic finish, that can be adapted to the needs of each user, offering a change to the customary use of certain previous designs. In this way, Ying has succeeded in creating
1. Your various projects are all very different, and the materials used are very important for the final result. Are you hoping to position your brand as a benchmark for these sorts of products?
Of course, I want to ensure each product conveys the right concept, an approach that’s sometimes complicated, raising questions about the forms in the material world in which we live. I want to create new bridges between art and innovation.
2. And what position do concepts such as sustainability or the environment occupy in your work?
Are they priorities to bear in mind?Yes, I am quite critical of sustainability and the life span of objects
3. What is the philosophy that defines your studio?
My work is characterised by experimentation with materials and research into craftsmanship. I seek to explore the relationship between art and modern consumerism and search for bridges between art and innovation.
4. What is the importance of quality and design in your work?
The definition of good quality does not always mean things made with good materials. The market is saturated with these concepts, and this alone should not justify their existence. I think that is one thing that we designers should examine.
5. What’s the best part of your discipline?
I love the research and developing projects, which is where the excitement of this type of work really lies. It also depends on the day in question – there are times where you don’t really know which direction to go in, and it’s better to work on something else and come back to that later.
6. Do you prefer working for yourself, or for commissions?
It’s good to be able to mix the two things. I have learned a lot about this work doing projects for other; sometimes clients will inspire new ideas.
7. To offer the best guarantee for your products, is it better that you yourself are the one who controls the whole production process, with your own hands?
I’m always evolving my work process as I continue researching. I suppose it’s part of my desire to challenge, question and learn.
8. Do your projects all share a common language?I think each person as a specific way of approaching their method, and it’s important to keep on the same path to ensure everything is filled with the same personal essence.
9. How did you develop your Neolastic and Sketch Objects projects?
They’re both products of experimentation in the perception of the value of things. I want to change the perception of the value of objects and their materials – that is why I wanted to see what could be achieved by using cardboard and bubble wrap for certain projects, two materials that are not perceived as important. And I discovered how, after unwrapping various objects, their shape takes on their own sense and retains a memory. I think it results in a poetic beauty that wasn’t present before. Photos: Ian Bartlett www.yingchang.co.uk
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