In March 2016, I travelled to WanAn in Anhui Province to research a feature about the shrouded and esoteric history of FengShui compass making going back to the Tang Dynasty and particularly to interview Mr ZhaoGuang Wu 吴兆光 for a feature article in the Patek Philippe International Vol.IV No.2 p.10–15 “Divining the Path to Harmony”
ZhaoGuang’s family has been involved in the manufacture of precision instruments for Feng Shui practice for nearly 300 years. Although it is associated with interior design in the West, ZhaoGuang’s clients are far more likely to be concerned with the fundamental issues of space and architectural design than where to put a vase or screen. The practice of FengShui was refined in this area during the prosperous Song Dynasty when it would have been used to inform the siting of buildings, positions of doors and windows, location of tombs, even town planning.
Continue reading Patek Philippe Feature: Wu Lu Heng Compass Factory, Anhui
Interview at Mindcraft Exhibition, Circle Filologico, Milan
This piece was published by AD China in July 2016. This is the English version. Stine and Enrico were charming to talk to. I found the exhibition far more experiential than informative (not a bad thing) and also hard to get my head round its name, “Mindcraft.” As I was writing it up, my spellcheck kept correcting it to minecraft, with which I am much more familiar.
Continue reading GamFratesi at Milan 2016 for AD China
I was asked to curate a 1000m² space within this giant aircraft-hangar space on the West Bund. The centrepiece was a 40 metre bamboo composite wind turbine blade from a 1.5MW turbine developed by a Beijing company, Khanwind. It was an amazing experience. This essay describes some of the contents and thematic links between some of my favourite designs of recent years.
Continue reading Future(s) by Design 未来场
“The light bulb is important as it is the last piece of fire”
I interviewed Ingo Maurer in 2011 for FT Rui, and again covered his show in Milan for AD China in 2016.
Continue reading Ingo Maurer — Interview
This interactive workshop/exhibition was part of a larger series of workshops I organised during Beijing Design Week 2015. The unusual venue (a high-end shopping mall not far from the 798 Art District in Beijing) was an attempt to bring making activity to a wider audience.
Continue reading CAFA X Makedo
I haven’t really documented student projects on this site but this one is interesting in that that yielded both a series of products and a couple of exhibitions. It stands out as an exemplar of how educational institutions can work with industry.
Continue reading Designed in CAFA, Made in Germany
This design was created for a series of workshops our studio was commissioned to produce for CCTV. Using the materials provided, participants could make a working zoetrope and create their own simple animation to play. The activity was part of an introduction to animation, from which a group of kids would work with an international team of professional animators to create short movies.
Continue reading Zoetrope Papercraft
Giulio Iacchetti’s work is firmly in the tradition of Italian postwar design — playful, intellectual, surprising. In many ways he has inherited the mantle from the likes of Achille Castiglioni in the way he has reinterpreted the familiar and his love of challenging convention. I got the chance to interview Giulio in Milan for AD China in 2013.
Continue reading Giulio Iacchetti — Interview
After following his work for several years, I finally got the chance to interview visionary engineer and designer Oskar Zieta for AD China in 2013.
Continue reading Oskar Zieta — Interview
No one image captures the spirit and mood of Shanghai quite like that of the Bund. While the outlandish skyscrapers on the opposite bank of the HuangPu river proclaim the aspirations of Modern China, the sweep of neo-classical and art-deco buildings situated on the western shoreline tell a more complex story of the city’s fluctuating fortunes over the last 150 years. Once attacked for its representation of bourgeois foreign influence, this area is treasured once more following a transformation into the city’s most smart and fashionable district. At the far end, at the mouth of the Souzhou creek, lies a compound that was created in the earliest days of the settlement. Largely inaccessible from the outset and almost forgotten since the 1960’s, it was once the administrative and legislative heart of the Bund and surrounding area. This secluded gem is now the new home of Patek Phillipe in China.
This feature piece explores the history of the Former British Consul’s Residence and it’s transformation into Maison Patek Shanghai. Published in Patek Philippe Magazine Volume III Number 8, November 2012.
Continue reading Maison Patek Philippe: Feature Story