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Nathan Liu on Chinese Design

Michele Koh Morollo talks to Nathan Liu and discovers a bright spark in Chinese home furnishing and product design.

Nathan Liu on Chinese Design


December 30th, 2011

Recipient of the 2011 Case da Abitare Original Design Excellent Award, Nathan Liu Feng comes from the third generation of Chinese designers who were influenced by the ’warming up’ period of contemporary art and design in China.

“Compared to design, contemporary art in China has experienced nearly 30 years of development, and it has formed a relatively complete system. However, the warming up of China’s design industry has been relatively slow because Chinese society in general underestimates the value of design,” says Liu.

nathan_lui design

Upon graduation from the Central Academy of Art and Design in Beijing, Liu worked as a design consultant at PEP Design before becoming one of the founders of the China Furniture Brand Alliance (CFDBA), an association that aims to unite contemporary Chinese designers and improve the nation’s industrial design.

He is presently the founder and director of Chinese cross-disciplinary design firm, FUN+LIVING Design & Consulting Co. Ltd, and his brand is best known for infusing traditional Chinese motifs with a modern and lighthearted touch. “Humour is very important. An appropriate design should also be soothing and relaxing and humour achieves this,” he says.

Using distinctly Oriental symbols like birdcages and mahjong cubes in a contemporary way, Liu speaks to a universal desire for the exotic and traditional in a modern world. 

“The difference between traditional and modern design is only a matter of a lapse of time. If we lived in the past, what is considered traditional would really be modernism. History gives us a lot of choices. I don’t specifically choose Chinese elements, such as mahjong cubes, but it just so happened that these elements were the most appropriate symbols for me to express the contents and joy of my work.”

Nathan Liu / Fun+Living

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