He described himself as a product design student dreaming about manipulating the world (in a tiny way).After checking out his blogs and works these days, I am getting to know him a bit: clean, dedicated, serious. He loves taking photos and he is quite humorous. Simple Style interviewed him through email. You will find out some of his design concepts and his life attitude here. We hope one day, this boy will, as he said in this interview, manipulate this world, in a tiny way, in his way.
What do your friends think of you? Do they easily connect you with the tune of product design?
I don’t quite sure what they really think. But I am said to be kind-hearted, thoughtful, a little bit childish, a little bit introvert, wasteful on money, and a computer expert. I’m choosy about things around, that’s probably a linkage to design.
Why did you choose to study in Germany?
The decision of studying abroad was made upon occasion. I chose Germany because the Germans are very strict and the Universities here are fee-free.
Do you have any special experiences during your study to share with us?
Not any particular things but the whole experience: being in the near of nature, living simply and living slowly, yet knowing what’s going on outside, and most importantly, take time for myself. It’s like a meditation.
Products designed by German are said to be “rational” and “cold tone”, which put durability and practicability in the first place, without emphasizing the outer form. How do these influence your work? Do you think this kind of product too tough for customers?
I guess you mean typical German designs, like Bauhaus designs or Braun products directed by Dieter Rams. Well, the Germans are conscientious, careful and straight forward. I do think this kind of design fits their needs well. Chinese people are apparently quite different. Therefore, simply taking over others’ design won’t work. You have to look behind the scene to find out where is DESIGN.
I prefer saying “with reason” to “rational”. For every decision you make, there is a reason. Actually the question is not about rational or reasoning, it’s about taking care of one’s work. When you develop something which will be mass produced, it requires lots of labor power and natural resources, and possibly it’s going to affect many people’s life, you have to be cautious. This is what I learned from the Germans. Typical German design is a result of an universal applicable logical process. The process stays the same, but while it is conducted by different people with different considerations, the outputs definitely go to be different.
German and Japanese product designs are leaders on their own continent. How will you compare the two?
German designs are value driven. Japanese designs are technical driven.
Germans eat bratwurst, drink beer, wear lederhosen; Japanese eat sushi, drink sake, wear kimono. Japanese learned a lot from the Germans.
Japanese designs are plastic versions of German designs and products are made smaller with round corners. (wrong XD
I often think of “clean” and “modern” when looking at your blog and works. Will these two words (going to) describe your style? What do you think style to a designer mean?
Derivations, when too few is monotone and boring, when too many is noisy and loosing the point. A good balance makes a master piece. I start simple because that’s easier, which may appear as “clean”, and will try other stuffs at a later point. For instance, I don’t know colours well. For “modern”, I won’t consider it as a style, because it’s ever changing. A better expression still is “up-to-date”, which is a requirement.
When we talk about style, we are not thinking about one single thing but a genre, the commonness of these things, the continuity between them. It’s like a brand. It distinguishes you from other competitors and helps potential customers finding you. And it’s not only restricted to visual style but also includes the way you work, the way you live.
What is your most satisfied work till now? Can you tell us some details about this work?
Guan Wei：曾经有过一件，对Richard Sapper 1972年的经典台灯 “Tizio” 的一个再设计。结果是不错的，不过放到今天再去看这个项目，觉得当时花了过多的时间和精力，最后的方案也显然是没有经济性的。关于这个项目的细节可以去我的作品集里了解。
There was one, the redesign of Richard Sapper’s task light “Tizio” from 1972. It was about remake a design classic. The result was quite good. But when I look at it today, I realize we’ve put too much time and energy on it, and it’s clearly uneconomical. Some details about this project can be read on my portfolio.
There are some unfinished projects that would be very interesting.
Which product designer do you most appreciate? Why?
Guan Wei：Dieter Rams，曾担任百灵电器设计总监长达34年。由他经手的科技产品简单易懂，有着恒久的美感。功能元素的样式及布局，每一个图示，边角的处理都非常细致和自然，让人看了后不仅感叹，这才是科技产品应有的样子。他的设计远远超越了表层的装点，是一种整体协调良好的设计。
Dieter Rams. He was responsible of Braun’s products for 34 years. Technical products became easily understandable and timeless beautiful through his hands. The arrangement of functional elements and how they look, include every pictogram, every corner are so thoughtfully and naturally done that let you think, “this is the way technics should be”. His design is fully integrated, goes much further than just a beautiful skin.
9. Weimar：平时会有哪些兴趣与生活方式，能简单描述一下你的一天吗？ :)
What hobbies and habits do you have? Can you describe your normal day?
Taking photos, put things in the right order, flipping through blogs, wandering in the supermarket. I don’t have regular time table. I may work all day or just play around.
10. Weimar：最后谢谢你接受Simple Style的采访，并与大家说说你近期的计划吧？
Thank you for attending our interview. Can you tell us some of your recent plans?
I’m starting a new website talking about design relevant issues and details in daily life.
编辑&采访/Weimar 图/Guan Wei
Translated by Guan Wei and 苏菲