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Take Five: Po-Wei Chen

O collection_01_Po-Wei Chen
O collection_01_Po-Wei Chen

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Published date
29 June 2016

As we start to pack away Show Two, we talk to students about the inspirations and ideas behind their final projects

The O collection showcases the first pieces in Po-Wei Chen’s (MA Design: Furniture) collection of Taiwanese-inspired furniture. Influenced by a blend of Asian and Western cultures, the low-level, generously sized chair offers users a variety of seating positions.

Created from three layers of bamboo filaments, exploiting traditional forming techniques from Taiwan, the collection reinvents a traditional craft into contemporary furniture with the final piece upholstered in breathable natural linen.

Here Po-Wei tells us about the materials, culture and designs that inspired his collection:


  1. Bamboo is a common material in my country, Taiwan. Historically bamboo has been used in different daily products like bowls, chopsticks, and furniture. However, it is now thought of as a cheap, low quality material but through traditional processes it becomes an amazing material. with lots of potential.PWC_craft
  2. I explored different kinds of traditional crafts in this project. The handcraft of heating and bending bamboo was developed from a traditional furniture-making technique. It’s a very interesting process. Most of the work is done by hand and the bamboo is shaped perfectly by craftsmen. This technique preserves the properties of bamboo as strong, flexible and durable and retains the original texture as well.PWC_culture
  3. Taiwan is a place of many different cultures. People who moved from China to Taiwan in the early period brought customs, language, lifestyle and architecture with them. Therefore, the foundations of Taiwanese culture are based on Chinese culture with Japanese and Western impacts shaping it more recently. It is this creation of our own philosophy and culture from these influences that’s the reason I am interested in the cultural meaning behind the objects.PWC_scandinavian design
  4. The ‘pure’ aesthetic of Scandinavian design is always attractive to me. The atmosphere of Nordic interiors creates a very distinctive character. The languages of Nordic design are inspired from daily life so the design doesn’t with environment at all.PWC_shopping
  5. As a designer, I really enjoy shopping, be it clothes, shoes, furniture or products. Shopping is a very direct way to find the new inspiration and understand trends, especially in different market places like department stores, galleries, or select shops with different sale strategies and customers. They are all good resources for design inspiration. Therefore, I think to be a designer you need to enjoy seeing what’s new on the market.