Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shortcut to Living in the City

There are makers everywhere. They exist in some of the most outrageous situations and places. Dai Haifei, 24 was having issues making his rent payments on time. He didn't want to move apartments as finding a decent apartment takes too long, so he did what any headstrong architect would do. He built his own home out the front of his workplace.  
As a side project to working at an architectural firm, the structure cost him $960 and 3 months of work nailing together bamboo struts and filling sacks with grass seeds. Six feet in height, the egg is waterproof, insulated and even has electricity.

  As quoted from Haifei himself, translated into English:
"I can get to work within seconds, no need to be on the crowded bus. This is considered a luxury in the traffic congested Beijing. I used the money I saved up from not paying rent to pay for an annual pass of a swimming gym, so I can go swimming, also take showers and go to sauna there. I don’t have a kitchen in the house, so I became a frequent visitor of the local restaurants around work. No need to make meals also saved me a lot of time. In the weekends, I can go the local coffee shops with a book or I can ride my bike around the neighborhood alleys. When the house is simplified to just one bed, other than sleeping in it, other things are taken care of in public places, this is a free lifestyle.

The genius however, was not from his own revision. The firm created similar eggs in an exhibition prior to his venture. Haifei was lucky enough to remain in his egg for two months before it was removed from the premises for reasons unknown, but blatantly obvious. He felt it was also a loud statement against the high costs of housing in Beijing as well as a hint to the possibilities of urban, sustainable housing.

Who knows, with the publicity that Haifei provided (as negative as it was), we may see eggs for rent in future urban plans or even in offices and apartments.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Chinese Furniture Design

Furniture design isn't really something that comes to mind when you mention China; this would be the opposite case for Scandinavia or Eastern Europe. China does however, have a bright future in the design of furniture.

Some things I've come to see about their furniture, is that it's all made of wood. From small tables to enormous half redwood table tops, they all share that 'wood is good' ideal. The idea that if you are making a piece of furniture from 'fresh' or 'real' wood, then you're either buying a quality product or you are wealthy enough to purchase said items. This fits into the whole Chinese respect topic; that if you are respected, then you are happy. Even if you aren't particularly materialistic, you will be judged against your possessions. You can't avoid it, China isn't one to change its values quickly.

You've seen it on their clothing, their cars, most of their shoes; Chinese fashion design in particular strives for the 'over' decorated. The contrasting colours and extravagance flaunts wealth.
Of course this is from a western view, for all I know this post could be praising Chinese design from an eastern perspective. All I know is that aiming to be a designer in China requires a much more open mind than previously thought.

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