Artpower Creative Space Interview

ACS: Your newly released designs for Kanjian Creation are exquisite combination of contemporary sensibility & traditional crafts. What do you expect the public to see from them?

CWL: For Kanjian, I have the interest and mission to revitalize Chinese traditional crafts. We are aware of the fact that many of these crafts have been in the state of being forgotten. Those that have survived today have not much related to our life now nor needs, they have been either labored to become technically impressive as gift for visiting world leaders at one extreme or have been deteriorated to be an insignificant tourist souvenir on the other. While most of these traditional materials and techniques are unique, their design, pattern, colour, composition… have long detached from our daily life. I hope to look at these traditional crafts again with new possibilities and interpretation, with the wish that that they could belong once again to our time. The Tease Stone screen is one such example, and much more so, I wish to release the long labour of those young embroiderers who could have spent years copying the same old patterns, and to propose that the acme of embroidery could be brought across precisely and sparingly, and that the deliberate emptiness in a composition, like the white space of Chinese ink painting, could save years of their youth…

ACS:你为“看见造物”设计的新作,是当代情感与传统工艺的完美融合。你期望公众透过作品看到什么?

CWL:创作“看见”,源于我对振兴中国传统工艺的激情和使命。事实上,传统工艺很多正被遗忘,即使有些留存下来,也与我们的实际需求少有交集,或被捧为工艺极致的官方礼品送外宾,或被贬为流于泛滥的旅游纪念品。传统材料和技艺,尽管其设计、图案、颜色和构成无与伦比,却早已脱离日常生活。我希望传统工艺重返我们的视线,获得新的诠释,并与当今时代接轨。我创作“戏石屏风”,正是抱有这种期待。我也希望减少绣娘冗长反复的工作,她们为一幅图案可能要耗费数年光阴。我有意以中国水墨画的留白设计,使刺绣工艺的简洁性与精确性达到登峰造极,也使绣娘的青春不再被针线束缚。

ACS: Just like what you have designed for Kanjian, you often use round/ circular/ curved geometric forms. Is that the secret of extra soothing softness hidden in your collections?

CWL: When it comes to design, I do not have much secret, nor anything to hide. Every detail, everywhere when there is a connection of different materials, every geometry and how each is engaged to the next, every texture and how it is caught in light, every colour and how little it takes, every dimension and how it stands in space… whether they are rounded or rectangular, soft or hard, in all my sculpture, architecture, furniture and objects, they must be restraining and silent.

ACS:正如你为“看见”所做的设计,你常常选择圆形、环形和弧形的几何线条。这是你的作品之所以给人舒适与柔和感的秘密吗?

CWL:关于设计,我没有什么秘密,也无需隐藏什么。每一处细节、不同材料的混合、几何形状的拼接、灯光与纹理、颜色的深浅、空间与维度……我所有的作品,包括雕塑、建筑、家具和产品,它们或圆或方、或柔或刚,都必须是谦虚的、安静的。

ACS: You are thought to be a perfectionist, seeking perfection in every detail of every piece. How do you think of ‘avoiding excess of perfectionism’?

CWL: I am the least of being a perfectionist. I have compromised a lot, just my works do not show nor not many could see. I have unresolved details but I chose a more manageable one. I have pain to achieve a straight line but I anticipate such strenuous undertaking early enough… To be frank, there is nothing perfect in this world, and I have accepted that since I first touched wood. In the process of realization, I do not insist but I do not give up. I am, in every moment, searching for the beauty of imperfection.

ACS:你被认为是一个完美主义者,对于每一件作品、每一处细节都力求完美。你如何理解“避免过度的完美主义”?

CWL:我绝不是一个完美主义者。我已经妥协了很多,只是这些妥协在我的作品中少有呈现或少被发现。遇到尚未解决的设计细节,我选择了更易处理的方式。直线式设计对我来说是挑战,但我通过努力及早将之克服。事实上,这个世界没有什么是完美的,我在第一次认识木质时,就接受了这一事实。在设计中,我不强求,也不放弃。现在的我,每一刻都在追求不完美之美。

ACS: Timelessness in design is elusive. That’s why ‘fast fashion’ is followed. How can you obtain the inspirational power that surpasses the fickleness?

CWL: I might have been chasing shadow within the very short span of my existence. One thing for sure is that even my works could survive the cruelty of time, I will not be the one to see them. What I could see though are those few works that have left behind somewhat accidentally by predecessors, that they are always new, and belonging to the past, present and future at the same time, such things as a wheel, the Pyramid, a courtyard, a dovetail joint, a white shirt, a pair of chopsticks… just a few of them to remind how little we have explored timelessness!

ACS:设计难于达到永恒。也因此,“快流行”广受追随。你超越浮躁的灵感和动力从何而来?

CWL:在我有限的存在中,我能做的或许只是追随影子。有一点可以肯定,即使我的作品能经受住时间的考验,我也将无缘亲见。我能看得到的,则是先人不经意留下来的少数作品,它们历久弥新,跨越过去、现在和未来。比如车轮、金字塔、庭院、燕尾榫、白衬衫、筷子……这每一件作品都在提醒我们,对于探索永恒,我们知之甚少。

ACS: It is said that timelessness is sparkling stars, while fashion is a flashing meteor. Is there a moment when you’d choose the transient brilliance of a meteor for a change?

CWL: I will not be the one to have such privilege to choose. The moment a work of mine leaves me, it does not and should not belong to me anymore. I have given it the “life” and equipped it with purpose, it will encounter its fate and if it will be a sparkling star, so it deserves. If it fades away after a transient brightness, I will be hoping that time will once again come to its rescue, even if it will be far far away in the future. Strange, I always have the feeling that the more one asks a work to be accepted by the market, the more likely such work will not be accepted. How often a design is defeated in five minutes, before it even has the chance to react, by the market it is hoped to conquer. That might have been why I have been urging serious designers not to design for a market trend.

ACS:都说永恒是一颗璀璨的星星,而流行是昙花一现的流星。你有无某一时刻想要选择流星瞬间的绚烂?

CWL:我无权做出这一选择。我的每件作品,从完工的那一刻起就不再属于我。我给予它“生命”,附之功能,它将接受命运的安排,如果它成为一颗璀璨的星星,那将物有所值。如果它在短暂的耀眼之后便消逝,我会祈祷它能随着时间获得新生,即使重生之前必须经历漫长黑暗。奇怪的是,我常常发觉,越是想要讨好市场的作品,反而往往越是不被市场领情。很多作品,有心征服市场,却被市场秒杀,毫无还手之力。这或许是我一直力劝设计师不要迎合市场做设计的原因。

ACS: You have built your own furniture brand DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO in Italy. What is the uniqueness of your furnishing items that distinguishes themselves from the Italian giant brands?

CWL: North Italy, particularly in the region of Brianza, is like one big furniture workshop, many brands, big and small, are sharing the same craftsmen and artisan workshops to realize their design. We all are having the same level of advancement in craftsmanship and technology, but we are all somewhat different in our design approach. For DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO, it is, due to my direction, the first furniture brand in Italy that fuses seamlessly in every items of its collection the aesthetic of the East and West. I wish to build a long-lasting collection of furniture and objects that the best of Italian-made are infused with a subtle sense of modesty and serenity in design, that it could be comfortably at home globally across diverse cultural settings and untouched by the ever changing trends of home furnishing today. The brand is a new design voice in Italy that has drawn much attention and recognition, particularly when Italy has orientated its market more and more towards the Far East in recent years. Through this specific role and direction, we have set a new standard and expectation in terms of inventiveness, consistence and meticulousness in every furnishing item we have developed and presented.

ACS:你在意大利创建了自己的家具品牌DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO。你的家具产品与诸多意大利大牌相比有何独特之处?

CWL:北部意大利尤其是布里安札地区,像是一座巨大的家具工场,众多品牌无论大小共享工匠和工场来实现其设计。我们在工艺和技术上处于相同水平,但在设计方法上各有不同。DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO,在我的监督下,成为第一个将产品完美融合东西方美学的意大利家具品牌。我希望创建一个持久的家具与产品系列,将设计的谦虚与安静之感注入超一流的意大利制造,使其适用于各种不同文化背景的家庭,而不被当今变化无常的家居流行所左右。DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO在意大利设计圈发出新的声音,受到广泛的关注和认同,特别是在近年意大利加大推进远东市场之时。基于上述品牌角色与定位,我们设计、推出的每一件家具产品,在创造力、连续性、严谨性方面都建立起新的标准与期望。

ACS: The furnishing items of DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO are crafted & engineered by an Italian artisan workshop Maroni, do you think Italy’s ultimate craftsmanship is just what China is most lacking?

CWL: Not necessarily. Each country has her own conditions, possibilities and limitations. Italians are very good with their hands, so were the Chinese. Look back at what the Chinese had made wonderfully with wood, stone, metal, fabric, paper… We do not lack excellent examples of our own craftsmanship, we lack the demand, the organization, the encouragement and the education to revitalize our craftsmanship. Most of the factories in China are equipped with the kind of technology and machinery that many Italians may envy, yet we can hardy reach the level of Italian craftsmanship. Here we lack the mentally to strive for the best in everything we do. We had it, just we need to bring it back again with greater determination.

ACS:DIMENSIONE CHI WING LO的家具产品是由意大利手工工场Maroni制作成型。你是否认为中国最欠缺的正是意大利的极致工艺?

CWL:未必。每个国家都有自己的状况,有着不同的可能性和局限性。意大利人都有一双巧手,中国人也曾如此。历史上,中国人用木、石、铁、布、纸等材料制作出了伟大之作。我们的工艺不乏典范,我们缺的是振兴中国工艺的目标、组织、奖励和教育。大多数中国工厂有着意大利人都嫉妒的技术和机械,却难以到达意大利工艺的水准。这是因为在思想上我们缺少追求卓越的理念。我们曾经追求卓越,现在需要更大的决心将这一理念找回来。

ACS: You joined ‘Think Globally · Act Locally’ exhibition by Steve Leung, who is also one of the figures in ACS. Is there a genuine resonance between you two?

CWL: Steve is close friend and we grew up in the same era and attended high schools in the same neighborhood at Kowloon. We had also once worked for different prominent architecture offices back then in Hong Kong. He has since built a formidable practice, while I left for America to unlearn myself. With mutual admiration, we got to know each other few years ago in Milan. We share the understanding of the present design culture in China and we have worked together through activities like ‘Think Globally, Act Locally’ to bring new awareness of the importance of design education. Steve and I will continue to collaborate on this and on other fronts.

ACS:你曾参加梁志天发起的“知世界·行中国”设计展,他也是ACS的专访人物之一。你与梁志天之间是否有一种彼此欣赏的共鸣?

CWL:Steve是我的密友,我们生于同一时代,都曾在九龙区上高中。在香港工作时,我们也曾分别效力于不同的大型建筑事务所。之后他创立了自己的工作室,我则前往美国深造。出于彼此的欣赏,几年前我们在米兰相识。我们分享了对当下中国设计文化的看法,也共同参与了“知世界·行中国”等活动,呼吁重新认识设计教育的重要性。Steve和我会在这些领域继续合作。

ACS: What are you passionate about besides your work? Are they kind of being related to art & design that may give you unexpected inspiration?

CWL: Being alone has become a form of luxury today! And away from art and design as much as possible if one is passionate about them! At that, a poem of Dickinson, a warning from Sun Tzu, the air of a violoncello, moonrise… perhaps.

ACS:工作之外你还热爱什么?是否和艺术与设计有某种共通,会为你带来意想不到的灵感?

CWL:独处,在今天已经成为一种奢侈!如果你热爱艺术与设计,就请离它们越远越好!试着去欣赏狄更生的诗、孙子兵法、大提琴曲、月亮初升……

ACS: You are always traveling, which reminds me of the saying ‘If every journey takes us further along in life, then we are truly enjoying what life is offering’. Is it the same for you?

CWL: I must say traveling and seeing have made what I am today, that I could leave aside my preoccupations, I could understand what is truly out there, that design is not exactly about design but something else far more crucial, that I am always feeling thankful and fortunate…

ACS:你总是旅行,这让我想到,“如果每一次旅行都让我们在人生中走得更远,那么我们就真正地享受到了生活给予我们的馈赠”。这句话也适用于你吗?

CWL:应该说,旅行和旅行中的所见成就了今天的我,使我能够放下成见,真正理解设计,它绝不只是设计,还关乎更重要的东西,也让我常怀感恩之心……

 

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