A Talk with Xiaoqing Long, 2018 LIT Emerging Lighting Product Design of the Year

Originally from China, Xiaoqing Long is now a product designer living in Germany and the winner of the 2018 LIT Lighting Design Awards Emerging Lighting Product Design of the Year with Ecliptic. Design had become part of her life since she decided to continue her studies in Düsseldorf. Her mind and understanding have evaluated and somehow change her daily life deeply. Long likes abstract elements, using different materials to achieve her original ideas. The interaction between products and humans is one of her sources of inspiration.

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you discovered that you wanted to work in the lighting industry? Was it an easy path to pursue?

First, I studied in China then continued with a master’s degree in Hochschule Düsseldorf under New Craft and Object Design. During my study, I had the possibility to try design in different fields like jewellery and furniture. Prior to conceptualising the ‘Ecliptic’ lamp, I attended an exhibition in Berlin about visual light which became the starting point of this lamp idea.

Compared to my previous study, I was now free to test and try which ‘Ecliptic’ came out as a result. In the beginning, it was a struggle as the entire making process was different from everything I made before. Thanks to my professor for his advice and encouragement, this helped me to achieve this work.

Your winning projected ‘Ecliptic’ is inspired by Kenneth Snelson’s linear sculptures. How did this idea come about?

Ecliptic starts as a model that contains three wooden sticks. While discussing my profession, he advised me to have a look at Kenneth Snelson’s works. Those linear sculptures inspired me a lot which initiate my vision of transforming lines into three-dimensional works.

During the model-making process, I kept asking myself, ‘Why not keep both, two, and three-dimensionalities at the time?” This was an important step while testing the wood sticks started to rotate and lines became alive when the angles changed.

What were the biggest influences in your life that shaped your Lighting artistic vision?

My stay in Germany influences me a lot, especially my ways of thinking. Düsseldorf is a cultural and artistic city; I have the opportunity to visit many exhibitions and meet designers. Every year, I visit Imm Cologne, Dutch Design Week, and Munich Jewelry Week, which allow me to be up to date with the latest information or trades. Participating in exhibitions and competitions also pushes me forward – Design comes from life and hope appears in the design.

What does winning the LIT Design Awards mean to you, and how has it helped your career?

The LIT Lighting Design Award is my first award in the lamp industry. It has a special meaning for me. It means a starting point and also a strong support. The bonus from this award is a fund for my future development, though I still need more time to create the new series. Ecliptic is a table lamp at the moment, I hope I could continue and finish it as a series which might combine table lamps and suspended lamps together.

What do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities in the Lighting world today?

There are different lamp designs in the market nowadays which basically follow trends, most recently we are back to “Classic”. Energy saving is also a popular topic, where technologies like sound-activated and remote control are involved. Lamps are considered to be multifunctional. However, the sustainability of generating new ideas is still a challenge for designers. Personally, the lamp design could be more playful. The functions and appearances are important, but there is also a need for fun.

What are you working on now? What is in the pipeline for you?

I am currently working for a furniture company which includes furniture design, brand building, and online network platforms. Due to Coronavirus, the online platform becomes the main source to gather opinions from users. I am also looking for a new opportunity relating to decorative lamps and home displays. It’s now time for me to gather more experience, either in Lighting or other Design fields, always happy to try.