Zhike Wang & Xiaoshui Li, designers of FOSHAN TOP WAY DESIGN have recently won the “Interior design of the year 2021” of the first edition of the BLT Built Design Awards with their exhibition design. We had the chance to seat with them, learning more about the creative process of their design called “Naturalism Creates a Magic Wonderland”.
Could you tell us a little about your professional journey?
Zhike Wang & Xiaoshui Li – We were college classmates, and in 2002, only two years after graduation, we co-founded Foshan Topway Interior Design Co., Ltd.
Now, for the last 20 years, we have been engaged in commercial space design, mainly designing headquarters buildings, interior exhibition halls, and office spaces for some enterprises.
How/when did you discover that you wanted to work in design?
Actually, our love for design started more than 20 years ago… At that time, we were both studying painting. Coincidentally, we started to learn about architectural design and interior design, which belong to the same category of art, and we decided to choose space design as our major. This is how we got to know each other at the university and we became classmates.
What was your inspiration to create this “Wonderland”? What material did you use to build the structure of the exhibition?
The creative inspiration for this project came from a trip to the United States with our family. We were lucky enough to visit The Antelope Valley, which has won numerous awards in photography exhibitions. This magical experience brought us a unique sense of nature and beauty.
We were inspired by all the natural elements of this site, from the sun, moon, stars, rivers, canyon rock walls, bridges, and waterfalls. They all touched our hearts, so we wanted to integrate these elements into our design. This “space” is an enterprise exhibition hall focused on customized metal. The entrance, stairs, and walls of the exhibition hall are made of stainless steel and are hand polished with different textures. This material has a very strong sense of “futuristic design,” where science and technology merge under the reflection of light.
What was most important to you when planning this project?
When we were planning this project, we focused on how to combine natural elements with metal and lighting, and how to express the beauty of the space while deeply displaying the products, using all the space allocated to our design.
How would you describe your role in this project?
As designers of the project, we were like scriptwriters building an immersive space or directors organizing and executing the whole project.
We had to experiment and make many attempts before we found the right artistic application that we thought was right for the metal structure. We had difficulties persuading the owners to adhere to the original design, and how this artistic realization would bring commercial value.
Where do you get the motivation and inspiration for your work?
Our work is motivated by our love of design itself, as well as by challenging projects! Our inspiration comes from our passion for and observation of life, our genuine curiosity, and how we think about caring for humanity.
In general, what is your guiding design principle?
In general, our design guidelines are as follows: Firstly, it should be a design with a modern aesthetic feeling, and secondly, it should have a sense of art that resonates and touches the heart. Last but not least, it must meet the demands of users from different perspectives!
Lastly, what would be your best advice for young, talented interior designers?
For talented young designers, our advice is to keep doing what you think is right and take concrete steps! Never stop learning from your surroundings; connect and try to understand the world, then think about your own design methodology.
Finally, you should constantly improve your aesthetic vision and design abilities in all industries.