Vivian Lu

Good in Performing Art Design.

About Vivian Lu

Vivian Lu is a visual designer who has worked on exceptional stage to much market applause. In the past 5 years she has worked on over 60 productions from theatre sets to costume designs, runway shows to large elaborate events, both regionally and internationally. Her main aim is to break the mould of traditional theatre, and challenge boundaries by exploring daring concepts. She experiments with different mediums and technologies to explore methods that best evoke emotional connection for the audiences. She believes thats constant curiosity and awareness of your everyday surroundings is the best way to find your identity as a designer and the best way to allow audiences to relate to the work and world you create.

  • Winner of Performing Art Design Award.
  • Specialized in Performing Art Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Performing Art
Absinthe  Production Design

Absinthe Production Design

Performing Art Design


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Interview with Vivian Lu

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
As a stage designer, I am constantly trying to find ways to strengthen connections between audiences and my set design. Recently i have been attempting to bring in new technology and innovations to traditional theatre. Although nothing can replace traditional stage, i truly believe in utilising more technology as a medium to further elevate a stage allowing more interaction and immersion for the audience. Since i was a kid, I always knew that my passion lay in visual communication. I was known to be the "crafty kid" in school, involving myself in painting props or sets for our school plays. Thus I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the design industry. However it wasn't until my foundation course where I got to try out different art mediums that I was so sure that 3d Art Installation was my calling
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Our companyis an award-winning creative agency specialising in all things events related. We interject a spark of magic in all we do. The perfect equilibrium between bold imagination that tugs on emotions and rational practicality where every detail is meticulously considered, we sweat the small stuff. With our background in both the design and art industry, we build the bridge between the art world and commercial setting, tackling corporate events with art-tainted lens, hence creating long lasting and impactful experiences through the environments we create.
What is "design" for you?
As a designer, I like to explore bold & daring concepts, paying attention to shapes & experimenting with different mediums. I strive to pull on the audiences heart & evoke emotional connection, with my main aim to break the mould of traditional theatre. I think that design and art is very subjective and how people react and connect to different works are very much based on their personal upbringing and surroundings. Hence for my designs, it is my interpretations of events in my life, things I have seen and emotions I have experienced. It is my way of telling my story and shedding a light on topics that are important to me, in a way that is visual engrossing for audiences.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel most creative when im surrounded in a new environment, and i get inspiration from things around me.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
The most exciting phase is when you first came up with your first initial idea for the design, as it creates so much different possibility on how you can create space and how you can tell the story visually.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Its always very fulfilling and great to hear different interpretation from the audiences and to see what they have gotten out of my set design.
What makes a design successful?
A good design is able to capture people’s imagination and encourage thoughts or spark conversations that may not have existed before.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
As a designer, our main job is to fulfill and provide a solution to a problem or need, and to ensure the solution provided has a positive impact on society. So to achieve that we must understand and study about the social, cultural and environmental implications our designs and finish outcome has on all factors of society. As a designer, I think it is no longer about creating beautiful aesthetics, but have a beautiful visual whilst having all the consequences carefully studied and considered. As a designer, I follow and agree with the term, form follows function, but for me the term "function" expands beyond the intended purpose of a design, and now includes the environmental implications and social responsibilities, its not only only to consider about the immediate environmental impact of our designs, but also the method of manufacturing, the use of material, the disposal of a design after it's life span, the elements in a production that can be reused in other design etc. For the social responsibilities, it is to ensure I make myself aware of the impact my design has on the community and society, whether or not there are cultural and political implications, whether of not my design serves as a catalyst to spark conversation on important issues and stimulate change, whether my designs improves the quality of the community. As a designer, we have the power and ability to shape the society and environment around us, we have the creativity, vision and ideas to shape a better society, we have the ability to come up with creative solutions beyond the limitation that are set for us and so I think it is our responsibility to best utilize this skill of ours to change our society for the better.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
I think we are all very curious about how digitally can be involve int theatre, and the world is now training digitally for the theatre and finding potential outcome with what it can become. There is a lot of interweaving into virtual reality as well and people are seeking new ways of telling a story through digital methods.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
Last work was Absinthe touring in Shanghai 2020 January before the Pandemic. Releasing my new work from my Dortmund research once this chaos is over.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
Anywhere. I can get inspired by small little details in daily life to experience or things I see when I go on vacations. I then journal it in my brainstorming notebook and to try to develop it into something when im back to my studio. I have been reading a lot about neuroscience lately and found a lot of similarities between neuroscience and theatre.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
As a designer, I like to explore bold & daring concepts, paying attention to shapes & experimenting with different mediums. I strive to pull on the audiences heart & evoke emotional connection, with my main aim to break the mould of traditional theatre.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I was raised in Macao, a city in China that was previously colonised by Portugal. The multiculralism, specifically the influence of East meets West became a strong influence in my designs. Macao is Asia's Las Vegas, therefore a lot of art performance opportunity are given.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
When working with a designer I think it is important for the companies to have a clear outline and understanding of what they are looking for, they should outline a detailed brief of what they want achieved, who their target audiences are, the objectives they are trying to reach and what are the exact final outcomes they expect delivered. The more detailed information given, the clearer visual imagery the designer has to achieve the best and most seamless results. When selecting a good and compatible designer for the job, I would advise companies to not only look at portfolios, but have the designers explain and talk through their portfolio, so there is a better understanding of why they decide to showcase these specific works. Asking about what and whom the designers draw inspiration from, so companies can have a better understanding of a designer's style, aesthetics and creative process. I would suggest companies to have a face to face interview or video interview with the designers if possible, so they have a better understanding of how they express themselves and their ideas, how the present themselves and a clearer understanding of their personality and if you think that this designer and the company would work well together.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I usually start with very little research and roughly sketch my initial ideas out. Then I would make prototypes and models to get a sense of space sizing in the space. Rough Model that doesn't require any accuracy in regards of materials and texture. I usually use foam boards or paper to get the flexibility to change things quickly. I'll continue this process of drawing and modelling until I come up with my first design. I usually use AutoCAD as I do modelling to get a more accurate sense of size.
Can you describe a day in your life?
Coffee is the first thing i think about when i get up. I like to head to the coffee shop i always go to and get my "thinking" tasks done before heading back to my studio to draw & sketch. I like to write my to-do lists for the week in the beginning of the week as i'm normally tending to a few projects at the same time.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
There are many interpretation of "success". There are always going to be designers that have worked more jobs or have worked in more famous theatres than you. However, the key to really enjoy your work and be "successful" in your own work, is to have your own opinions in matters; your own way to tell a story and share what truly matters to you.
What was your most important job experience?
"Absinthe" because it truly embodies my transformtion from a designer to an artist. With Absinthe, I tried to merge different forms of senses together (sound and sight) and to magnify them to create a lasting visceral experiences for the audience.
Who are some of your clients?
Banks, Government Shows, Stage production, Commercial Companies etc.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I am working on a research program in The Academy of Theatre and Digital trying to explore different digital methods to magnify senses in the theatre.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I work alone in theatre stage designs, but I work with my partner on all commercial work.
How can people contact you?
People can see my work from Instagram: vlu.designs. They can also email me at vivian@wecreateint.com

Extended Interview with Vivian Lu

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I have been working as a scenographer for 6 years after attending Central Saint Martins in London. From theatre set visuals to costume designs, runway shows to large, elaborate events for corporations such as Banco Nacional Ultramarino Macau, I have delivered over 70 shows in different corners of the world including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Portugal, London...etc.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
As a stage designer, I am constantly trying to find ways to strengthen connections between audiences and my set design. Recently i have been attempting to bring in new technology and innovations to traditional theatre. Although nothing can replace traditional stage, i truly believe in utilising more technology as a medium to further elevate a stage allowing more interaction and immersion for the audience.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
Since i was a kid, I always knew that my passion lay in visual communication. I was known to be the "crafty kid" in school, involving myself in painting props or sets for our school plays. Thus I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the design industry. However it wasn't until my foundation course where I got to try out different art mediums that I was so sure that 3d Art Installation was my calling
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I design set for theatres and work on visual art production for commercial events and brands. I am currently designing the architecture of a new hotel in Macao. My dream project would be to be part of the design team for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Bejing.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
There are many interpretation of "success". There are always going to be designers that have worked more jobs or have worked in more famous theatres than you. However, the key to really enjoy your work and be "successful" in your own work, is to have your own opinions in matters; your own way to tell a story and share what truly matters to you.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
"Good design sends the same message to everyone, A great designer sends a different message to everyone."
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
A good design is able to capture people’s imagination and encourage thoughts or spark conversations that may not have existed before.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I would love to design for the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in 2022.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I would like to be part of the design team of the Opening of the Winter Olympics 2022 in Beijing
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Es Devlin! I have seen all of her interviews, and sometimes watch it over and over again while I'm working. It motivates me so much when I'm doubting myself or when I am having one of those "design blocks".
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
"Absinthe" is one of my favourite pieces I've done because it truly embodies my transformtion from a designer to an artist. With Absinthe, I tried to merge different forms of senses together (sound and sight) and to magnify them to create a lasting visceral experiences for the audience.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
I always believed that staying curious will get me to places. I firmly believe in experimenting, trial and error and being brave when it comes to the production in design.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
I think the biggest challenge in my profession is not the design itself but to be able to put something out there that represents you the way you want to be seen. I remember spending days sending out my portfolio to different theatres and companies that i looked up to, trying to get my name and designs out there.
How do you think designers should present their work?
However represents them well, but most importantly, with confidence.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
I am working with Dortmund's Academy of theatre and digital, and hopefully I can bring my new work around the world in 2021.
How does design help create a better society?
As a designer, our main job is to fulfill and provide a solution to a problem or need, and to ensure the solution provided has a positive impact on society. So to achieve that we must understand and study about the social, cultural and environmental implications our designs and finish outcome has on all factors of society. As a designer, I think it is no longer about creating beautiful aesthetics, but have a beautiful visual whilst having all the consequences carefully studied and considered. As a designer, I follow and agree with the term, form follows function, but for me the term "function" expands beyond the intended purpose of a design, and now includes the environmental implications and social responsibilities, its not only only to consider about the immediate environmental impact of our designs, but also the method of manufacturing, the use of material, the disposal of a design after it's life span, the elements in a production that can be reused in other design etc. For the social responsibilities, it is to ensure I make myself aware of the impact my design has on the community and society, whether or not there are cultural and political implications, whether of not my design serves as a catalyst to spark conversation on important issues and stimulate change, whether my designs improves the quality of the community. As a designer, we have the power and ability to shape the society and environment around us, we have the creativity, vision and ideas to shape a better society, we have the ability to come up with creative solutions beyond the limitation that are set for us and so I think it is our responsibility to best utilize this skill of ours to change our society for the better.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
I am currently in Dortmund doing a research program with The Academy of Theatre and Digital in Dortmund.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
I think we are all very curious about how digitally can be involve int theatre, and the world is now training digitally for the theatre and finding potential outcome with what it can become. There is a lot of interweaving into virtual reality as well and people are seeking new ways of telling a story through digital methods.
What is your life motto as a designer?
"An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. When life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means its going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming"
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology should be a new medium in assisting in a design, but not to overpower the main concept.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
Wish people can see the boldness and try to create different interpretation my work.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I believe in Co-design. My design Partner is also my best friend.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Its definitely a challenge to get yourself out there, because theres so many great designers out there. Think it is also a work of art to learn how to brand yourself.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Black is my favourite Color, Toronto is my favourite place,Japanese is my favourite cuisine, and Spring is my favourite Season.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Nope, I just love to paint, and create different weird stories around the household. But it wasn't until I get to experiment with different art forms in uni that sparked my full interest in Stage Design.

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