In China, we collaborated with Benwu Studio, founded in New York in 2012 now based in Beijing and Shanghai. I set down with one of the founders, Hongchao Wang, discussing their position as a studio and what is their context. Since established, the studio had done a series of successful collaboration projects with clients such as Hermes, Vacheron Constantin, Cassina, Mini, Baccarat, Swarovski, Perrier Jouet, Remy Martin and many more.
Matteo: Hey Hc!
Hongchao: Hello Matteo!
M: How Benwu was born and what does it mean?
H: Benwu is out of Chinese Zen phrase 本无 means nothing originally, we always believe that design is a metamorphosis from nothingness and meaningless to sophisticated object and experience. Benwu Studio was a collaboration that started back in 2012 when we founded the company in New York. We were just some young designers that wanted to test the water and get kinda lucky.
M: What is Chinese design, can you define it?
H: It's hard to generalize Chinese design but yes there is a lot of design that is done in China of a different approach. China is the size of Europe it's hard to tell who is the mainstream who is the niche.
M: Do you think you could achieve the same results if you have studied in China?
H: It's true that our western experience and training made a lot of sense to align our self with the latest workflow and thinking method and even ideology but the way of being hardworking and deeply rooted from Chinese culture is under the skin and that's something you can not have from western education and working experience
M: Did you study abroad for curiosity or to also have a notable CV?
H: I think both though. The CV in nowadays context never makes too much sense. Graduate from a good school won't promise you an instant door opening future by hardworking and endless practice is the only way.
M: I think one of the main future strength of Chinese design is to focus on preventing the environment with a responsible design. What do you think?
H: Eco-concern should not be superficial however around the world you will see all kinds of fake eco-design. From our eyes, we are trying but it needs a lot of roles rather than just designer just like our design world is not only designers you need a lot of roles to fulfil the tasks.