Wanghe Studio launches collection in London
Wang He is a furniture and product designer, who after graduating from Central Saint Martins (CSM) worked at Theo William Studio as a product designer in London. While there he had the opportunity to work with high profile clients such as IKEA and John Lewis.
In 2016, Wang He decided to return to China and join ZAOZUO, a contemporary furniture brand, where his collections got him noticed across specialist design media.
Keen to share his designs with a wider audience, at the beginning of 2018 he set up his own studio, Wanghe Studios, and will be launching his furniture collection at the 2018 London Design Fair (stand 10.25 Hall 10 First Floor at Old Truman Brewery) 20-23rd September.
What made you come and study at Central Saint Martins?
There are a couple of reasons I chose to study at Central Saint Martins. The first was about course structure. During the first year, the course kicks off with several projects focusing on various research skills, followed by a solo project which runs throughout the second year. Two years fulltime study helped me build a solid foundation in both research and practice. The second reason was the mentoring. The course staff, include Nick Rhodes and Matt Malpass, (and the rest tutors as well) have rich experience in both theory and practice, which makes the course functional and diverse. Last but not least is the library resource. It is undoubted that CSM has the best library system where you can source all kinds of knowledge from various art & design disciplines across UAL.
What was the most important step you took after graduation?
One of the most critical steps I’ve taken after graduation is to set up Wanghe Studio in Beijing. After graduation, I’ve worked in many prestigious studios and companies such as Theo Williams Studio, ZAOZUO, etc. With a solid education background from CSM, solid experience and networking in the industry, I feel it is time to share my design perspective with a wide audience.
You recently set up your own studio in Beijing, what has been the biggest challenge you faced and biggest reward?
Running a design studio is not an easy job. The biggest challenge for me so far has been income and clients, a very common headache for most of the start-ups. But I am sure this will be sorted in the long run.
The recent biggest prize is that I was selected as a top 10 young designer in China by National Art Fund to participate in an art & design training programme carried out in the UK. This is the reason I am back again, apart from collection-launching at London Design Fair.
What do you like most about living and working in Beijing?
Beijing is quite a diverse city. Just like London, there are various events going on and it is a place where some of the most talented people gather. I’ve been stayed in Beijing for more than 6 years and most of my network is now based here.
What inspires your work?
I pay close attention on the lifestyle of urban youngsters, which greatly inspires my design practice. Currently I specifically focus on ‘Urban Drifters’ – young people who live and work in big cities of China but have no sense of belonging. How design (product, furniture or space) could be a medium to create a sense of belonging is really something I want to talk about.
What have you been most proud of?
One thing I feel really proud of since I start running my own design studio is being selected as an exhibitor during London Design Fair, an international design festival of design talents over the world. As a participant, I not only intend to share my design perspective with a global audience, but also want to make a statement of original design as an emerging designer from China. Through this exciting opportunity, I hope to open a door between me and the creative network in the UK.
What’s next after the London Design Fair?
After the launching of ‘Childhood series’, I plan to set up a designer furniture & contemporary object brands partnership with my twin brother Shawn Wang, who used to study and work in the U.S. with rich experience in business based on this collection. As Wanghe Studio, I would also work for client projects in terms of product, furniture and space to further enrich my experience in the industry. Last but not least, as an alum from CSM, I would love to join up with the UAL community in China (Beijing), and share my network and creative opportunities with the folks.