Lao Jianhua: HSBC Designer in Residence (2008 – 2009)

Lao Jianhua, a product designer working in Shanghai, China, was the V&A’s first international Museum Resident and was at the Museum between November 2008 and April 2009, helping the Museum to celebrate the 2008 Year of China. After working for several major Chinese design companies, Lao opened his own design studio, J Y DESIGN Shanghai, in 2008.

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Keep learning and practice

It’s been a great experience to be HSBC Designer in Residence at the V&A. I learned a lot from the varied collections in the V&A and other museums in London. It makes me understand more about others cultures and styles. And by learning more about others I’ve come to understand my own culture and style more clearly. Six months is a short time for me to learn everything that I want to learn so I’m continuing to learn now I’m back to China. The experience at V&A will affect my design for a long time.

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Concept tube train for London

Every day I have to take the London Underground train (the Tube) from my flat to the Museum. But it’s so crowded in rush hour, especially the Piccadilly line and Central line, as I mentioned in my first blog post. So I’ve tried to work out a new solution for the Tube train. I am sharing my first rough ideas here, and I hope more people get involved in discussions about the Tube trains, to help find a good solution for their design. This concept idea focusses on the arrangement of the seats.

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Compact products for a simple life

Nowadays we are living in a fast-paced world where speed and convenience are increasingly important. With high-tech developments it’s easy to travel and communicate. Cities are crowded and big flats difficult to afford. Instead we live in flats that are compact but comfortable. We work hard and have no time to clean a big home so we prefer the simple and easy life. The products we use are becoming more compact and easy to use. Living space, furniture, home appliances, computers, mp3 players, mobile phones, are all being designed to be more and more compact.

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Design in China seminar

BackgroundChina is developing very quickly. People in the UK are very familiar with the ‘Made in China’ label on many goods. But what about product design in China?Many Chinese designers are studying and working abroad, and some of them have already returned. Is Chinese design changing? What is the future of design in China?TopicThe seminar will focus on Chinese design now and what the future holds for it.Time and place16 April 2009, 14:00 – 17:00Sackler Centre, Seminar Room 1, V&A Museum

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Public bench

This idea was inspired by bad manners that I saw in a public park. Sometimes people sleep on the benches in parks and I think this is really bad manners! I think that to prevent this, park benches should be made uncomfortable for people to sleep on, so I’ve designed this one. My bench was also designed with families in mind – the seats are lower in the middle so a child can easily sit on them. The separate seats also provide a more comfortable private space when more than one person is using the bench. The hole in the …

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DesignLab: Product Design Workshop

We ran two very interesting workshops for schools during March. Students from Norwood School and Langdon Park School were given the brief to design a lamp inspired by an object from the V&A collection. I’m really pleased with the results and I would like to thank our staff Janson, Wensheng and Suzuka.My last workshop will be on the April 28th. Please do have a look at our flickr group to see the interesting work from the students who attended the workshops and to find out more details about what went on:

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The Barbican Art Gallery

Last Sunday I visited the Barbican Art Gallery and the exhibition ‘The Art of Architecture of Le Corbusier’, about the work of the architect Le Corbusier. The Barbican Centre is a huge complex of buildings including private residences and the public arts centre; it’s a good example of how to combine the two kinds of use. The architecture and gardens are very geometric – like Lego models. It’s quite different from the Suzhou gardens in China. The Suzhou gardens are more flexible and the views change with each step.

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Responses to the “Clever Design Solutions” group

Our flickr group is growing really fast and with fantastic contributions. Here, some of my favourites:

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DIY Pin clock

This is a re-design project. I like natural materials because their various properties, such as texture, give them their own character. Take for example wood. It needs time to grow and over time each piece of wood gets its own character, and has a unique texture, that is like its ‘face’. I exploited this character to re-design a clock.First I found a second-hand clock in Brick Lane market (one of my favourite markets in London). I took the clock parts out and attached them to a piece of wood. I used some map pins stuck into the wood to create …

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Clever Design Solutions V&A Flickr Group

The V&A has setup a new Flickr Group called ‘Clever Design Solutions’ and I’ve been asked to periodically select and review some of the designs here on my blog. It’s been running for about a week and people have already added amazing pictures so I hope you can join too!Here’s the group’s description:

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