LU LI

Professional in Furniture Design.

About LU LI

Lu Li, born in the 90s in China. A famous philosopher in China once said: "去甚,去奢,去泰" (abandon extreme, luxurious and unreasonable thought) which is the guiding ideology of my design.

  • Winner of Furniture Design Award.
  • Specialized in Furniture Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Furniture
Butterfly Hanger

Butterfly Hanger

Furniture Design


Good Design Deserves Great Recognition

Discover A' Design Award, World's Largest Design Accolade.

Learn More

Interview with LU LI

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 studied Furniture Design in China and Product Design in Japan. The experience of studying in Japan has a great influence on me. This country is full of elaborate designs, and those small nuances and details are always very warm. But the atmosphere for designing now in China is not very ideal. I hope I can make some contribution to this area in China by my own efforts.
What is "design" for you?
They say, science is We, and art is Me. For me, the design is somewhere between rational analysis and artistic expression, and it is an individual artistic expression with certain rational analysis. The design should be people-oriented, so it can't be all about personal artistic expression, it needs rational analysis of data. The starting point of the design is decided by the designer, what he sees, what he perceives, and finally what expressed by him, which means his own thinking and expression—what we call art, is involved in the whole thing.
What kinds of works do you like designing most?
I started by learning furniture design and has been working on it ever since. At present, I am kind of obsessed with the assembly structure of furniture, and I want to continue it.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
At present, the most satisfying design for me is the award-winning butterfly hanger. It was designed and produced during the Graduate years of Kyushu University in Japan. Before it was designed, I finished the design and production of another hanger which made me a little frustrated, with its complex structure and unsightly shape. But I didn’t stop. I have got a voice in my heart that keeps telling me to design furniture that represents my design concept. So I shut myself up, and then I had the butterfly hanger. It was designed by me and then made with the staff of the workshop at Kyushu University. This production experience also is precious to me.
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel it I find beauty, and I can't help but immerse myself in it. Like, there was this time when I was working in the workshop, I happen to find that the waste woodblock of Gingko was very beautiful. I watched it for a long time and couldn't help it. I wanted to create something with its amazing beauty. The next day, I made it into shaving that look like tiny chocolate mousse cakes. So I spend a month and a half working with sawdust to do the theme creation of food shooting.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Because what we are studying now is the structure of assembled furniture, we are more concerned about the structure design.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
Design is a brain squeezing process. We should try our best to squeeze. In the early stage, it may just be squeezed by hand. In the middle stage, it may be pressed by the door. In the later stage, it is like putting it in a blender and mixing it, making it into a smashed liquid. The pain is deepened step by step until the liquid evaporates into the air, and suddenly the bright moment comes, and I begin to be ecstatic.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
All emotions have been experienced in the process of realizing it. It's repeated in your mind many times, and when it's really finished and being there, in front of you, there's not much emotion. It's like it's born out of my own head, and now it's given a physical appearance.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Innovation and uniqueness. Design lies in breakthrough and constant innovation.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
The last exhibition was held on May 15-17, 2019 at Kyushu University Oohashi campus in Japan. Before graduation, I held an exhibition displaying all my furniture works and small handicrafts as a memorial for my three and a half years of studying abroad. The next exhibition will be held in September this year at the MAISON SHANGHAI exhibition.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My research is mainly focused on the innovative structure of assembling furniture. In the early stage, the main way to find inspiration is to look at a large number of architectural designs, some furniture structures designed by others, and then create new structures by myself. Slowly I summed up my own design methods and then used them to guide my design.
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 am a native of China, which has a long cultural history, and the experience of studying abroad in Japan makes me start to examine the culture of my country again. During the Tang Dynasty, a lot of things in China spread to Japan, which developed into an integral part of Japanese culture through continuous inheritance and innovation by Japanese. As to which part is Japanese and which is Chinese? Sometimes it's really hard to distinguish. The Japanese regard culture as a treasure that is forgotten by the Chinese. All of these we should re-examine and pick up.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
I think the designer's perspective is very important. It is easy to get limited by the environment if we stay in an environment for the Long term. We need to jump out of the framework and stand on different perspectives to think about problems. It is also important to keep a young and learning heart.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I think time can be reasonably arranged. Don't squeeze work to the last moment, balance work and life, and work moderately.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
It will take about a month to design the furniture. Starting from the concept, confirm the material and process, deepen the drawing, proofing, modification, and confirm the final drawing.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
I don't have a clear plan for the future. I prefer freshness and challenge. If I find something more interesting, I might get involved. But in the past one or two years, I have been mainly studying the structure of assembled furniture.
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
Design is not as simple as drawing. It involves many aspects, including factory technology, publicity, and packaging, transportation and after-sales, etc. I want to focus on product development, so I chose a team of a large company. I hope to bring my design to more people who like it.

Designer of the Day Interview with LU LI

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
2019-2017, Postgraduate in product design, Kyushu University, Japan 2017-2016, Arts and crafts auditor, University of Tsukuba, Japan 2014-2010, a College student in furniture design, Beijing Forestry University, China
How did you become a designer?
After graduating from university in 2014, I worked for a short time in a furniture designing and producing company. I am a little skeptical and confused about my career and life due to that nine to five job without creativity. What is the design and what is the life I want? I think about these problems for more than a month. Because of my enthusiasm for Japanese design, I finally decided to study design in Japan. My three-and-a-half-year study abroad has given me a deeper understanding of the design and strengthened my belief. What Japanese design brings to people is warmth and touching. I hope to pass on this feeling.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
(1) Design sketch stage: Based on the design theme, do data collection and organization, draw sketch scheme. (2) Design and proofing stage: discuss the material and processing technology with the experienced worker to determine the proofing sketch. Because many details can't be reflected by software or model, I prefer 1:1 proofing. (3) Design determination stage: adjust the details, deepen the drawings, and determine the final production drawings based on the proofed physical objects.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
The most exciting moment is when a good design idea springs into my mind. Just like the furniture structure I studied. I don't draw a lot of design sketches, but I think repeatedly in my head. It's like a 3D instrument that can draw and disassemble structures. Inside, many structures have been constructed, and one by one these structures have been denied by oneself. This process is very painful, and the brain will burst. Until a long time later, suddenly a structure appeared. It's very simple, totally in line with my design philosophy. It pops out of my mind. I'm so excited that I immediately pick up the pen and draw it. I'm so excited that I want to rush out to the workshop to make it at midnight. But the production process will be rather boring. When the production is completed, one finds it hard to get excited again to see the real object, because it has been built in the mind for a long time.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
Apart from the designer's identity, I am also the editor in chief of China's WeChat official account. I will post some articles about innovative design and art on a regular basis. Through the collection and organization of these materials, my perspective is widened. By analyzing the designs of other designers, I have a deeper understanding of design. Everyone has their own unique design perception ability, the same point in the hands of different people will have different ways of expression. Open my mind, to see more to feel and learn to analyze is how the work of editing helped me a lot.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
I hope to become a world-class design master who can represent China, just as 原研哉 to Japan. I don't have a clear plan for the future. Sometimes it's enough to seize the opportunity. As for the future, just make sure that your general direction remains the same.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
This question and the following are not suitable for me to answer. I only graduated last year and just started my career as a designer this year. I don't have much experience to talk about.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
I'm not going to chase the design trend. It's like the wind. It blows in this direction now and that direction then. I don't think I have the ability to catch the wind at a certain time and sail far. I just want to stick to my own direction and move forward slowly, no matter what direction of wind blows.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
I think good design is sometimes experience and sometimes a feeling. Some good designs can be transferred to consumers through commercialization so that they can get a good experience. But sometimes some good design can't be commercialized. It can only be passed on to you in other ways. As long as a design lets you enjoy the convenience of life, the beauty of life, I think this is a good design.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
Before the product is put into the market, it only completes the connection between the designer and the factory production. Only after it becomes a commodity, is it delivered to the customer's home, receives the customer's feedback, and carries out the iterative upgrading of the product, I think it can be regarded as the completion of the design. The completion of any stage is only temporary.
What is your biggest design work?
At present, I am most satisfied with this award-winning work: Butterfly hanger. Because it's a minimalist piece of assembled furniture. The structure and shape are quite simple, with its strong functionality, flat packaging, manual installation, repeated disassembly, sustainability, etc. This piece of furniture which I have studied for three-and-a-half years as a representative work of assembling furniture is very precious to me, as well as its production time. It was made by me and the people in the school workshop. I have been in the workshop for more than two years, and I have been helped and taken care of by everyone. This period of time was the most carefree and happy time in my life, which is especially precious for me.
Who is your favourite designer?
My favorite designer is the Japanese design master 原研哉. His design is clean and pure, full of Zen and emptiness.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
Tokyo, Tokyo is a place full of design. A large number of outstanding Japanese designers are active here. Every month, various exhibitions of design and art emerge endlessly, which makes people ecstatic. I like to do handwork. When I do handwork, I am able to calm my mind, getting rid of a lot of distractions, and reach my simplest yearning. I am a native of China, which has a long cultural history, and the experience of studying abroad in Japan makes me start to examine the culture of my country again. During the Tang Dynasty, a lot of things in China spread to Japan, which developed into an integral part of Japanese culture through continuous inheritance and innovation by Japanese. As to which part is Japanese and which is Chinese? Sometimes it's really hard to distinguish. The Japanese regard culture as a treasure that is forgotten by the Chinese. All of these we should re-examine and pick up.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
Before winning a'design award, I won the red dot design award and other Design Awards twice.

Extended Interview with LU LI

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
2019-2017, Postgraduate in product design, Kyushu University, Japan 2017-2016, Arts and crafts auditor, University of Tsukuba, Japan 2014-2010, a College student in furniture design, Beijing Forestry University, China
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
Design is for life. And I want to be a designer because of my love for life. I hope to make my life better and many other people's lives as well through my design.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
We only live once. Why do we force ourselves to do something we don't like.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
I think a good designer is able to complete the design project well. In addition to completing the design task, a great designer would form their own design theory to put forward their own design ideas, summarize in practice, and have their own design methodology which can guide other people to design. Design masters must be a combination of practice and theory.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
I think good design is sometimes experience and sometimes a feeling. Some good designs can be transferred to consumers through commercialization so that they can get a good experience. But sometimes some good design can't be commercialized. It can only be passed on to you in other ways. As long as a design lets you enjoy the convenience of life, the beauty of life, I think this is a good design.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
I want to have my own poetry collection, but now I don’t have a lot of fans, and I haven’t written enough number of them either. It will take me some time to accumulate works.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
I think it's a kind of unyielding stubbornness, a little higher pursuit of design, and a little confidence in my own design works.
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
At present, I am most satisfied with this award-winning work: Butterfly hanger. Because it's a minimalist piece of assembled furniture. The structure and shape are quite simple, with its strong functionality, flat packaging, manual installation, repeated disassembly, sustainability, etc.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
They say, science is We, and art is Me. For me, the design is somewhere between rational analysis and artistic expression, and it is an individual artistic expression with certain rational analysis. The design should be people-oriented, so it can't be all about personal artistic expression, it needs rational analysis of data. The starting point of the design is decided by the designer, what he sees, what he perceives, and finally what expressed by him, which means his own thinking and expression—what we call art, is involved in the whole thing.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
A lot of people helped me on my way. If I want to pay gratitude, who I need to thank is my professor-尾方義人. My professor has high requirements and expectations for me, which forces me to devote myself to research and design, and constantly strive to dig deeper things. Then I would like to thank the staff of the workshop of Kyushu University of Japan, such as 津田 三朗、福澤 萌、笠原 和治. They have been with me for more than two years, patiently guiding and completing designs after designs.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
I think it's just a matter of time and longevity, not too much of an obstacle.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
It takes me around a month to design the furniture. Starting from the concept, confirm the material and process, deepen the drawing, proofing, modification, and confirm the final drawing.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Of course, we need to understand the needs of customers. In the early stage, we need to communicate with customers more. Only when we fully understand the needs of customers can we ensure that the direction will not deviate.
What is your life motto as a designer?
A famous philosopher in China once said: "去甚,去奢,去泰" (abandon extreme, luxurious, and unreasonable thought) which is the guiding ideology of my design.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
Because what we are studying now is the furniture structure based on the properties of materials. The material is very important in the design. Different materials have different properties, such as the dry shrinkage and wet expansion of wood, the elasticity of metal, the elasticity of cotton thread, and so on.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
I hope that I am an independent designer and can cooperate with more people who are more professional in other fields when I do design projects and constantly trigger new design sparks.
Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
I like to communicate with factory workers. They often have rich experience in production. Sometimes they come up with more and better solutions to some problems, which makes me gain a lot of knowledge.
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
Who I want to see most is Chen Mapping, who had been writing under the name Sanmao. She is an excellent writer and poet in China, but she committed suicide in 1991. If I had a chance, I really hope to meet her, for just a few simple words, then, my life has no regret.
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Not too much feeling, just feel happy for a while. The award is just a recognition of my design ability, it doesn't represent too much. More efforts are needed in the future. It's not difficult to be famous, but it's hard to be an influential and valuable designer.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
I like white, white is very pure. Like Tokyo, Tokyo is a place full of design. A large number of outstanding Japanese designers are active here. Every month, various exhibitions of design and art emerge endlessly, which makes people ecstatic. I like to do handwork. When I do handwork, I am able to calm my mind, getting rid of a lot of distractions, and reach my simplest yearning.
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
There is an old saying in China: "After three years without flying, one might fly to the sky." I always use this sentence to motivate myself. If you want to fly higher, you should first tie up your wings and do not fly. Only let oneself calm down first and keep yearning for flying, can we finally dash to the sky. Every stage of life is like this. If you want to enter the next stage, you should let yourself learning and gaining for a certain period of time, and also, you should not be impetuous.
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
I am a very communicative person. I welcome people who love the design to contact me to discuss the design with me or introduce his design works to me. Welcome to contact me: 1045188807@qq.com.

By clicking Sign-Up, you are opting to receive promotional emails from A' Design Awards, World Design Rankings, World Design Consortium and Designers.Org You can update your preferences or unsubscribe any time.

You are now at the right step

Join Designers.org & Start Promoting Your Design Worldwide.

Create an Account