‘Why should I invent new forms if the reality already offers so many fantastic images, so many special solutions. As a designer, I only have to discover them and to restructure them into new stories.’
We believe the future world will full of diversity and choices, which will make people hold a more open attitude towards products. And the design will continue to extend its breadth and depth. ZHEKAI ZHANG, while providing alternative choices for society, also considers the historical and cultural background of products with high awareness to explore the future of technology and design.
People have witnessed technological progress and system optimization driven by urbanization and industrialization, which meets people's needs of efficiency and convenience; Daily objects are constantly updated and iterated based on the user-centred concept. Although these changes have provided great comfort for our lives, a series of negative problems have followed: Consumerism, driven by rising social productivity, has imposed a greater burden on the living environment of the whole human race; People's immersion in digital products and virtual technology makes them ignore the perception and feedback experience from the real world; The fast-paced lifestyle makes people ignore tedious behavioural processes such as traditional crafts or the product development through repeated trials; The extreme massive mentality online and in media makes people gradually lose their individual aesthetic judgment, which leads to the homogenization of aesthetics in society.
Facing the thinking brought about by these social and environmental problems, we want to focus on the object itself, break away from the human-centred design criterion with the role of an independent design studio, and turn to the design with material as the core, so as to provide alternative choices for the future society. We aim to explore the dialectical relationship between natural and artificial creations, excavate the value of materials behind design products and explore the new possibilities of local crafts in contemporary semantics.
When the kaleidoscope is rotated by hand, the real scene in front of us is reconstructed into numerous geometric fragment patterns. We compare the way of merging media materials to a kaleidoscope, which turns existing materials into a new language instead of creating a language.
Our method combines various aesthetics and borrows existing media in different fields (such as handicrafts, special materials, digital technology, etc.) to graft together, thus discovering new elements in products.
We regard the production of each product as an affair. People, things and natural objects (such as light, gravity, temperature, etc.) are the characters that often appear in the scenario we constructed. We expect to see accidents caused by randomness in each affair, which caused "imperfection" that is precisely unique from standardized production. Broadly speaking, each series of works also reflects a separate event, discussing, for example, the problem of post-modern industrial mass production; Transformation of sustainability and property of materials; The practicality of handicrafts in cross-cutting fields, the application of abstract natural language in solid products, etc. This process-oriented thinking mode makes ZHEKAI ZHANG's design point not limited to the final form and function of a product.
The studio conducts abundant research, experiment and practice, uses technology, materials and original production methods, and deduces new possibilities of design through repeated prototyping. ZHEKAI ZHANG likes to challenge the preconceived ideas and stereotypes in today's society, and then build on the accumulated knowledge and experience in practice. In addition, ZHEKAI ZHANG actively seeks partners with different skills and backgrounds: designers, engineers, researchers and cultural scholars. We value the process of our practice and encourage our clients to participate in the development and experiment of new materials and technologies.
We attach great importance to personal experience and practicality in the process of design and development. We believe that in today's fast-paced and rapidly changing society, practical exploration can be free from customs and stereotypes, which makes it convenient to put forward various viewpoints and possibilities.