NUMBER NINE Exhibition Space / Taipei, Taiwan
Opening March 3rd, 2019
By NOAH BECKER March, 2019
ChengWei Chiang is a designer who works with the idea of people and how they use interior and exterior spaces. He also tells a story when he creates his designs and this was an interesting component for me. I had a chance to talk to him about his process and learned a lot during the following conversation for Whitehot Magazine.
Noah Becker: When you create a design what do you think about at first?
ChengWei Chiang: When designing an interior space, there are a lot of things need to be considered at the same time. But I'd say 99% of the time, the floor plan comes first. A good floor plan means good circulation and well-planned programming. If the plan is well-designed, everything else follows. If you walk into a space and feel uncomfortable, It's because of the bad circulation. Some people call it bad Feng Shui. Feng Shui is not a religious thing, but rather a careful study of circulation. A space with good Feng Shui means the users tend to be healthier physically and mentally. Think about putting a obstacle in front of your front door and you have to bypass it every day. You'll tend to get upset and frustrated overtime. It's just one extreme example but a lot of bad Feng Shui goes unnoticed.
Becker: Are there things that influence you other than visually, for example literature or films?
Chiang: Yes, a designer is a story teller, which is what I do everyday, I create or tell stories through my designs. Literature, novels, films, music, they can all be my inspirations during the design process. In my recent exhibition in Taiwan, I combined my journal, photographs, interior design projects, and set design to tell a whole story.
Becker: Are you influenced by or follow contemporary art, if so which artists inspire you?
Chiang: Probably Yayoi Kusama. I like how she uses colors, mirrors, and patterns in a very bold way. And I also like how she utilize 3 dimensional spaces to convey her ideas instead of just paintings on the wall. I feel that it becomes even more powerful when we perceive art in 3 dimensional space.
Becker: What are you hoping people experience when visiting a design you made after it's built?
Chiang: I hope people feel "wow" and comfortable when walking into the space. The wow factor is determined by all the details in the space such as the texture of the materials. They wanted to touch the concrete wall, and walk bare foot on the wood floor, be amazed by the alignments of the door frames and the wall panels, and so on. And again, when the floor plan is well-designed, it means a good Feng Shui, which leads to good health, both physically and mentally, and that's what we call "comfortable."
Becker: Do you make drawings then convert them into computer designs or is all your work planned on computer?
Chiang: I like to hand sketch on paper first for a quick test of my ideas. It's always better to pick the best idea out of 100 than to develop and polish only one. I would jump into computer software for more accurate dimensions and details when I think the idea is worth developing.
Becker: Which architects that have influenced your work?
Chiang: Kengo Kuma. I've always amazed by the way he utilize materials. Wood is one of the most seen materials in his projects. Sometimes, wood is the only material he uses in the interior spaces, creating a simple materiality yet complex 3 dimensional space. I think it's a brilliant way to combine Zen with Maximalism.
Becker: How do you think about the human figure in relation to your designs?
Chiang: During design process, I always imagine how it feels like to be in a space. That's the time when the ergonomics comes into consideration. And I think that's the biggest difference between art and interior design. Art can be perfect, but a space is designed for humans, and human is never perfect.
Becker: What kind of computer software do you use? How long did it take you to master it?
Chiang: I use AutoCAD for 2-dimensional design, and SketchUp for 3-dimensional design. And other software like Photoshop, InDesign for post editing.
Becker: How do you use nature in your designs?
Chiang: Greenery is essential in interior spaces not only because it's good for human's health but it's a balance of materiality between concrete, wood, stones and other hard materials. Greenery means daylight, water, and life. People will always feel fresh when there's a living wall in a space.
Becker: Do you have future plans for things you have not made yet?
Chiang: There's still a lot to be done. I feel the more I know about interior design, the less I know. It's a profession that combines pretty much every profession. There's a long debate about what architecture is? I've been also thinking about what is interior design, and what can it do for humans other than providing a beautiful shelter.
Becker: What's next for you?
Chiang: Keep experimenting, keep learning and keep asking what interior design is to our generation or human race on a big scale. WM
Noah Becker is an artist and the publisher and founding editor of Whitehot Magazine. He shows his paintings internationally at museums and galleries. Becker also plays jazz saxophone. Becker's writing has appeared in The Guardian, VICE, Garage, Art in America, Interview Magazine, Canadian Art and the Huffington Post. He has written texts for major artist monographs published by Rizzoli and Hatje Cantz. Becker directed the New York art documentary New York is Now (2010). Becker's new album of original music "Mode For Noah" was released in 2023.
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