Sun Hu

Good in Landscape Planning Design.

About Sun Hu

  • Winner of Landscape Planning Design Award.
  • Specialized in Landscape Planning Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Landscape Planning
CIFI Donut Kindergarten

CIFI Donut Kindergarten

Landscape Planning Design


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Interview with Sun Hu

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?
I learned landscape major from Nanjing Forestry University and earned my bachelor’s degree in 1998. Since then, I worked in landscape field over 22 years already.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
Guangzhou S.P.I Design Co., Ltd was founded at 2007 with its headquarters in Guangzhou. Now it has 10 branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Kunming, Changsha, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu and Nanjing, including 2 modules of ‘S.P.I real estate’ and ‘S.P.I culture and tourism’ with completion of more than 3000 excellent projects in over 100 cities. S.P.I has deep collaboration with China top 20 realty groups and provide superior schemes and resolutions for local governments, owning honors such as ‘National Landscape Architecture Design Qualification Class A’, ‘The Best Creative Brand Institution of China Architecture & Planning’ and ‘National Top 10 Landscape Architecture Enterprises’. S.P.I has won the first place in the competitiveness of Chinese Real Estate landscape design in Times House for 3 consecutive years, as well as other international ones of IFLA, Survey and Design Award, Kinpan Award, etc. It also won the first place of new media influence in ARCHINA industry for many times. As an expert of systematic landscape service, S.P.I pay attention to the business mission of ‘Innovation leads the poetic dwellings’, customizing systematic and integrative solutions in the fields of community environment, commercial, culture & tourism, theme towns, urban design and regional planning, which depends on new S.P.I design concept. The huge team of over 1000 will keep working for the ideal dwellings in the future, and have interdisciplinary cooperation, techniques, social and environmental responsibilities to be a world-class Landscape Architecture company with remarkable design, full service, poetic spaces and extremely explored innovative aesthetics.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
In depends,I think. I do not have special materials and techniques. I think materials just a method of expressing emotions and create atmosphere. According to different emotions, I always use different materials to create my ideal landscape design. Turning to technology, rapid technology advanced have improved design efficiency and make impossible become possible. I will never forget that I relied on my hands to design when I just graduated. But now, various software can help us to design. Actually,I always maintain a curiosity for new technologies and realize the integration of traditional culture and modern technology, which has reached eternity.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
I always had many ideas and inspirations to express during the design process. When I think about design, I tend to be tireless and energetic, because I love my design as if I love life.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
Exciting, of course! To be honest, I spend a lot of time in my work and I am always touched by them. I am excited for my efforts can be recognized and my design theory can put into practice. However, after excitement, I always critical myself and sum up my experience to strive for the next project.
What makes a design successful?
Studying, observation and thinking. Studying(reading or studying from life) is a very good method to improve self-competitiveness. It makes me continue to accumulate and keep creative in my design. At the same time, observation and thinking are also very important. I always observe good designs and thinking about the reasons for touching points of it. After that,I always summarizing, accumulating and absorbing from my observation and thinking. Finding touching points helps us understand the essence of design and help me make rapid progress.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Landscape is one of the crucial elements in urban sustainable development. It is the art and science of organizing land, spaces, and the elements on them to be used in an appropriate, healthy and pleasant way. What a landscape design does to people psychologically, or how it has the power to transform our society, is hard to measure but increasingly important. Good landscape design improves how people live; great landscape design improves how society operates. If we don’t practice a more sustainable form of landscape design, we risk harmful side effects to people and society that could have been avoided.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
It is difficult to predict the future,because world changes rapidly. However, I have maintained a curiosity about the world,trying to respond to traditions, facing the future, contributing to the Chinese landscape design industry.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
The last December in the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, China. The next exhibition is supposed to be held in December, we sincerely hope the coronavirus will be defeated at that time.
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?
To be honest, I don't have a fixed design style. I do not want to be constrained by the ‘style’. Actually, I have been trying and exploring the development of the Chinese landscape during the past decades. However, I can say responsibly that no matter how my design style changes, the root of my design comes from traditional Chinese culture. Chinese culture is extensive and profound. As a Chinese, I have an obligation and responsibility to inherit tradition. But I am not just copying Chinese traditional landscapes, instead of innovation based on the tradition of re-creation, facing the future. I hope that hundreds of years later when people look at my design, they will see not only the shadow of the ancient Chinese landscape but also the traces of the 21st century.
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 live in China. China has lots of world heritage sites, including palaces, sacred sites, gardens, historic centers, cultural landscapes, and rural landscapes. They are heritage properties and landscapes that continue to change over time. Of course they will influence on my design, I always got inspiration from Chinese culture.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
Being a young designer is a demanding yet rewarding work. It is way beyond making human being’s life more pretty and sustainable. We may work as the landscape designers for different reasons and goals with different philosophies. But one thing we have in common for sure is we all went/are going/will go through a fresh stage. Use it to learn, fail and grow with the precious humble curiosity and courage unique in the fresh stage.
What is your "golden rule" in design?
New Shanshui, the golden rule in my landscape design. That is, utilizes the natural spirit and cultural value rooted in the landscape, uses the emotional communication between people and nature as the medium, reshapes the aesthetics of urban life, innovates the way of current life through new technologies, new processes and new materials to achieve product updates, endow a high premium for the region, and construct a poetic space for the information flow of all life evolution.
What skills are most important for a designer?
Thinking! All designs are based on our thinking. Observation, thinking, learning from good designs can help us make rapid progress. Some people might believe that technology is the most important skill in design. However, all technical just help us for expressing ideas. Only the improvement of thought can achieve a touching design.
Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
I always use paper or iPad to draw in my work. Technology can never inspire me like hand-drawing.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
Admittedly, design takes me lots of time, so I can only compress sleepy and work until the early hours. Firstly, my secretary can arrange my time reasonably to ensure my work efficiency. Secondly, using my trivial leisure time to keep accumulating and creativity in my design. Finally, I have an excellent design team. We work together to create better designs. I appreciate that I have such a hardworking team. Without them, many of my ideas cannot be realized.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It depends on the clients’ expectation and marketing requirement. Generally speaking, 1-2 years at least.
What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
It must be my design theory,named New Shanshui. It is a theoretical system about the development of Chinese landscape.
Who are some of your clients?
Vanke, Poly, Country Garden, , Evergrande , Wanda Group, CIFI,etc… Some government and other organizations are in our clients list either.
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I believe landscape design is part of my life. It is difficult to give up,because I have spent a lot of time and energy on it.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
Working with my team is the best choice. You know, my own strength is limited, only teamwork can create more excellent designs.
How can people contact you?
Please feel free to contact me via sunhu@gz-spi.com or 13503079158@163.com

Extended Interview with Sun Hu

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I learned landscape major from Nanjing Forestry University and earned my bachelor’s degree in 1998. Landscape architecture, this professional training includes five critical aspects: landscape formulation, painting and poetry, ecological knowledge, construction, in which various background benefit me. In the following 20 years, my skills have been dramatically improved by virtue of practical experiences.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I work in customizing systematic and integrative solutions in the fields of community environment, commercial, culture & tourism, theme towns, urban design and regional planning.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
I don’t think I am a design legend at this moment. Learning is an endless process.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Bringing that subtle difference into our designs and paying close attention to human being’s requirement is what separates a great designer from a good designer.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I believe that only time and users can define good design. Because good design is classic, eternal and touching. In other words, good design is impressive rather than disposable. To give an improper example, the good design seems classic in the clothing industry, rather than the popular and short-lived shows. Take Yujingshan project which I designed in 2007 as an example, we did a customer satisfaction survey in 2017 and gained a lot of praise from it. Interviewees told us that this project is a good design by satisficing using experience during the past decade. Next, the classic, eternal and touching design need designer thinking a lot. As we all know, design cannot be only created by imagining. Don Norman said that design should start at understanding people’s demands. So, users pay an important role in landscape design. Among them, participation is a good method to achieve this goal. Recently, I am applying this method in the "Jianye 27 Bamboo Garden" project. I propose four important principles on this project: understanding, co-design, co-contribute and sharing. The developer, designers, shareholders and third party organizations were invited into the whole project. Change the situation in which the design only dominated by developers and designers in the past. It is worth spending more time on understanding the demands of people to build fascinates designs.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
The good design represents the accumulation of many professionals during decades. All efforts are creating a better life. I think that no one can refuse a better life.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I believe that success is contributed by 99% hard work and 1% luck. It is normal for me to work until the early hours. You know, no one can get everything easily. At the same time, I am appreciated for my supportive family, good teachers, hardworking term and nice customers.
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Le Corbusier, Álvaro Siza, Louis Kahn, Geoffrey Bawa, Kengo Kuma
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Studying, observation and thinking. Studying(reading or studying from life) is a very good method to improve self-competitiveness. It makes me continue to accumulate and apply in my design. At the same time, observation and thinking are also very important. At the very beginning, I always observe good designs and thinking about the reasons for touching points in this design. After that,I always summarizing, accumulating and absorbing from my observation and thinking. Finding touching points helps us understand the essence of design and help young designers make rapid progress.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
The constant support from my family and work in harmony with my colleagues and clients help me a lot.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
Recently, we have a culture and tourism project in Guizhou, China in process, which worked with Pritzker award’s winner, Mr Shigeru Ban.
How does design help create a better society?
Landscape design has a profound impact on our daily lives. Good landscapes help to make healthy and happy communities. One of the most important aspects of landscape design is its influence on quality of life and social interaction. Well-designed green spaces improve social connection and safety, they can support people to exercise more and they can even help to moderate temperature. Integrated landscape-led design has the power to transform a place into somewhere which is highly functional and has strong character and beauty.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I don’t think anyone can predict what will happen in the coming years in landscape design. The field changes too quickly. In the next five years, though, there are a few emerging threads that will continue to grow stronger: much more money and people flowing into the industry; tools and skillsets merging; emerging technologies, etc…
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
It depends on clients’ expectation and marketing requirement. Generally speaking, 1-2 years at least.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Understand the character of the site, the demands of inhabitants and customers.
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
First, the design is the product of the times. For example, Jane Jacob's theory of the city's eye and Corbusier's glorious city seem contradictory, but they are reasonable existences in the context of their respective times. So, the design is based on characteristics, demands and technology of the times. However, only the distinctive and outstanding design can set the trends. Recently, there is a very popular word called influencers. It means something people always discuss on the internet. Those influencers are the embodiment of design leading the trend, in the design world. Having the value of being discussed means that it is outstanding and attractive in at least respects. However, those influencers might not be praised for a good design. As we all know, trend changes frequently. Only designs based on users might become a classical design. Personally, I am more focused on creating classics, rather than simply leading the trend.
What is the role of technology when you design?
Technology can only help me think and express my thinking. The most important thing is understanding and thinking through my brain.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
I always use paper or iPad to draw in my work. Technology can never inspire me like hand-drawing.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
Color is part of the material. Materials create different ambience. Each material has unique characteristic. Every designer has their own a distinct language to expressing design and create atmosphere by those indispensable methods.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
I hope that people ask me questions related to the New Shanshui theory. New Shanshui, the golden rule in my landscape design is a theoretical system about the development of Chinese landscape. That is, utilizes the natural spirit and cultural value rooted in the landscape, uses the emotional communication between people and nature as the medium, reshapes the aesthetics of urban life, innovates the way of current life through new technologies, new processes and new materials to achieve product updates, endow a high premium for the region, and construct a poetic space for the information flow of all life evolution. I hope that people can have more discussion about the content of New Shanshui with me and tell me their feeling of landscape architecture. I expect that the development of Chinese landscape can have a great promotion through more communication.
When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
First of all,I think of the reason of greatness. Why I am so touching from this design? Secondly, I habitually record those touching parts by drawing or taking photos, as an accumulation. And then, I always share those photos or printings with my team. Because, I hope that we can learn and progress together.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
My ideal partner is someone who has the same design dreams and strives to make progress with me. I am lucky because I have such an excellent team as my expectation. Many of my schemes were designed and completed by my team. Without them, many of my ideas cannot be realized.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
Learning from masters has a huge influence in my life. During cooperation and chatting, I learned a lot from it. Of course, it is also important for me to observation and thinking during communication with them.
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
When I was a kid, I dreamt to be a famous singer. The place where I grew up is such a beautiful and irreplaceable small town, with a crowded vista of hills and rooftops. Maybe that is the subtle influence in my later landscape designer career.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
Future is changing. I cannot predict what will happen after 1000 years. But I hope Chinese landscape designers can also pay an important role in the world.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I hope my fans can pay more attention to my design, Sun Hu Studio and Guangzhou S.P.I Design Co., Ltd. We are creating a new design world.

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