Professional in Lighting Design.


Tianyi Shi is a furniture and product designer. Currently she is a MA student doing furniture design in Central Saint Martins in London. She has an interest in materials, e.g. foam and bamboo, and also has an interest in Chinese traditional culture. Normally, material plays a supporting role in product design. However, as for her, material could be an interesting point to start with and to explore during design process. Nowadays, she is playing with foam to explore a possibility of using foam to break formal conventions of furniture and products.

  • Winner of Lighting Design Award.
  • Specialized in Lighting Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Lighting
Soft Light

Soft Light

Lighting Design

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Extended Interview with TIANYI SHI

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I am currently pursuing postgraduate studies in furniture design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. And before, I learned industry design for four years in Beijing. Because of this background, I am concentrating on designing household products and furniture.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Of course I choose it by myself. Because I love painting and beautiful things since I was a child. In that time, I would like to be a designer. When I started my BA program, I chose design without hesitate. Then I became a designer and enjoyed design all the time.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I am doing furniture and product design. I gradually took interest in material, handicraft and Chinese traditional culture and have been trying to utilize them in modern home life. I wish my design cannot only cater to people’s needs, but can also arouse people’s interest and resonance.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I think great designer are both talented and experienced.They need have the ability to control process of design, time, detail. They also need to know what is tasteful, and what is not. So maybe the talented discernment is the distinguish.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A good design should be full of innovations and is thorough down to the last detail. As for myself, I will evaluate a design from its starting point to see if it is innovative enough. Is the idea interesting? And then I will check its details. If it have refined details, we could say it is a mature design.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
Good design could provide us more possibilities and improve the standard of living.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I do not have any secret recipes. I just enjoy it and keep doing with the passion of life.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
My favorite design is named 'You Can't Lay Down Your Memory' Chest of Drawers. It is a conceptual design which is made of old drawers collected from other furniture. It is a work about memory. ‘It encourages us to reconsider questions of value, and to think about the histories of the furniture from which the drawers came, and the lives of the people who used them.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
It should be my mom. She gives me a lot of support, mentally and physically.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
From the project soft light, I have started to explore the material foam. Because during the process of playing with foam I found it is a material which has a very good plasticity. Enlightened by this idea, I try to use foam to break formal conventions of upholstered furniture.
What is the role of technology when you design?
It is a very important role to help me to achieve my design. But sometimes it also could be my inspiration.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
I use CAD, photoshop and Rhino most. The basic equipments are the equipments in 3D workshops.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
The book is ‘Designing design' It is a book I have read a lot of times. When I lose my direction of design, I will read it again.

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