← Back to the Portfolio

- romantic furniture based on hybrid culture

design research thesis
supervisors: Prof. Wolfgang Laubersheimer, Prof. Hatto Grosse

“A piece of furniture called poetry. She is a hybrid mixture from past and future, from west and east. She has a vague and familiar temperament — and she’s romantic.”

In this thesis I discuss how design can be a hybrid mixture of indigenous traditions and other forms imported from abroad by cultural exchange, and could still fit in the local conditions. To better understand this kind of contradictory but complementary relationship between tradition and modernity, the design criticism theory of Chris Abel and an Eastern world perspective are introduced. Moreover, several pairs of bi-polar concepts, the ‘constructs’, are conceived to discuss innovation based on traditions.

Furthermore, using metaphors as a method in design creativity is also discussed. In the dynamic relationship between human and their (natural, social and cultural) environment, metaphors play a significant role in design creativity. Understanding the value of metaphor in changing concepts could help us to generate more positive forms of change than only imitating and following what we are already familiar with.

At the end, I practiced to bring the romantic property in furniture with metaphors. I chose the day bed as my object, because it exists through different cultures, and its function — to ‘lean on’ — is a vague concept between ‘lay in’ and ‘sit on’, and provide it a big potential of customizable usage. The shape and the mortise / tenon structure of Chinese traditional furniture are used as a metaphor, which plays the definition between ‘old’ and ‘new’, ‘rational’ and ‘romantic’, ‘mechanical’ and ‘organic’ etc.