Sharing the same passion for furniture design, product and visual designers, Tao & Jin, met at the Academy of Art in Berlin and now work together both in Berlin and Shanghai. As two participants of the Greenhouse Project –one of Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair’s popular sections– MiND decided to feature Tao & Jin’s innovative work as part of our #GreenTalks.
What does Greenhouse Project at Stockholm Design Week mean to you?
It is a very good platform for young designers to share ideas with each other. But more than that, it gives the opportunity to go into practice, to get involved in a professional situation, where they could face both producers and the media. For us, it is a good chance to share our works and to share our thoughts about aesthetics and furniture design. Also, it opens a window to talk with many different people.
"We accepted the challenge because we wanted to test ourselves."
Can you describe the design process behind the work you displayed at Greenhouse?
At the beginning, we just wanted to make a normal chair but with a permanent aesthetic- a chair with something new but nothing shining. We both know that chairs, although they are ordinary objects, are the most difficult to design. As far as the process is concerned, we didn’t rely on 3D modeling software. Paper and metals are usually used to make mock-ups, and one-to-one size models are also made to check whether the form is the one you want or how should it be modified. Despite this relative traditional method, we scanned the one-to-one paper model transforming it into a digital 3D file so that we were sure the shape was the one we wanted. All our future works should be based on this.
How do you integrate sustainability into your works?
We chose aluminum material, a super standard and widely used material. However, its beauty is not that often seen in furniture design. Of course, Emeco is a good example, and they are also one of our references. We wanted to rediscover its beauty and introduce it into furniture design. We don’t have to create new bio or high-tech materials. As we said, we used the aluminum wave plate and tube- both super normal and inexpensive materials. By only presenting the original feature of aluminum, something new could be created.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
A lot of research needs to be done before creation starts. We visited many shops, and, in this process, we could analyze the classical designs and learn from them. Sketching is the funniest process, one which could not be displayed at the exhibition. We did around 600 sketches for this project, in which we got many good points and from which we slowly found out what we wanted to say. Abstract sketches, and not just concrete drawings, are very important for us. They really help us to explore our imagination. Just after this working process, constant discussions, and sketching we could find the right form for us.
What are the changes you would like to see in design industry?
We are very happy to see that the media wants to report the works of young designers. This creates a bridge between designers and customers and the communication becomes more efficient. People could see design in a better perspective, thus bringing more chances for young designers to be discovered. Before a design gets into industry, designers often have to take all the responsibilities, including the prototyping costs and time costs. Many talented designers have to make compromises between their fresh designs and the fixed styles of product lines from big brands. Naturally, producers need to avoid risk, but then the situation becomes quite bad for those young designers who want to keep the balance. If the industry could provide more space, it would be very much appreciated.