Ya stool and stool bookshelf and screen

When I first saw these shelves at the British Gallery (level 4), I liked it very much. It has the same sort of feeling that I think Chinese characters have. It’s like a piece of architecture. It also reminded me of the Chinese logo for my studio. From this object I got an idea for making a new kind of storage.

Desk with shelves - British Gallery - Lao Jianhua, V&A Designer in Residence  Jianhua logo - Lao Jianhua, V&A Designer in Residence

First I designed this simple Ya stool (the black unit in the image below). For me, a stool is not just a stool, but can also be used as a storage space. In the Chinese Daoist philosophy, everything has two aspects. One is active and visible (you), the other is passive and invisible (wu). The stool’s you is the surface on which you can sit (its obvious use) and its wu is the empty space below that could be used for storage (its less obvious use). Using the stool’s you is to use it as a stool, using the stool’s Wu is to use it as storage.

I used the simple Ya stools’ wu to design a bookshelf and screen. If we dismantle the bookshelf and put every stool on the ground for sitting, we revert to using the stool’s pu. This design is flexible, fitting in most spaces. It’s also easy to move the pieces and change the shape into the style you want.

YA stool line - Lao Jianhua, V&A Designer in Residence

YA stool screen - Lao Jianhua, V&A Designer in Residence

亚凳,凳书架和凳屏风当我看到在5楼英国馆的那个书架时,我就特别喜欢。它有着和中国文字同样的建筑感觉。你也可以看一下我公司中文标志。所以我 就有了这个新设计。起初我设计了一个简单的亚字凳。对我来说凳子不仅仅是凳子,凳子有可以作为一个储藏空间。道家认为万物有两面性,可以被看到的命为有, 看不到的命为无。凳子的有就是可以被用来坐的凳面,凳子的无就是中间的空间,可以用作储藏。同时这两面可以相互转换,用来坐时有为凳面,用来储藏时有为凳 面包围的空间。所以我用凳子的无设计了书架和屏风,当它组合成书架或屏风时,用的是凳子的无。当把每张凳子放下来坐时,用的是凳子的有。这个设计很灵活, 可以适合大部分的空间,同时可以很轻松的移动和设计成你自己喜欢的风格。