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PINWU: A Study in Craft

China-based design studio PINWU is made up of three designers from three different cultures who seek to apply traditional craft to contemporary designs.

PINWU: A Study in Craft


June 11th, 2013

In 2009, while studying at the Domus Academy in Milan, Chinese designer Zhang Lei found himself gaining an increasing interest in China’s traditional crafts. There, he met fellow designers Christoph John from Germany and Jovana Bogdanovic from Serbia. Finding that they all shared a similar interest in traditional craft making, they decided to work together in Zhang Lei’s PINWU Design Studio.


Piao paper chair, inspired by the production of the traditional Yuhang paper umbrella

PINWU is located in Yuhang, China, a place where traditional craft practices are still kept alive. “It’s a very interesting place,” says Zhang Lei, “and [what we wanted] to do here was [go] deeper into research and design.”


Luo lamp, made of bamboo paper


Gu chair, made of bamboo pulp and beech wood

Since 2010, they designers have been working on a project titled “From Yuhang”, a series of contemporary furniture and objects made with traditional techniques and materials such as bamboo, porcelain, water silk floss and paper. The collection has been presented at Milan Design Week three times to date (2011 – 2013).


Lu table, made of porcelain and beech wood


Yun vase, made of bamboo pulp

Zhang Lei says the team’s different cultural and educational backgrounds results in “some new ideas and design programs” occurring beyond the existing plan.


Xuan lamp, made of bamboo

Looking ahead, Zhang Lei says the studio will continue down the same path, but may develop even “richer” ideas and products or form further collaborations with other designers


Wu lamp, inspired by the traditional Yuhang paper umbrella


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