“Global design firm IDEO is seeking a Senior Communication Designer to help shape its rapidly growing Shanghai branch. The ideal candidate would be comfortable working in a multi-disciplinary setting since he or she will be working with people from a variety of backgrounds”. More via Creative Hunt.
Born in Xinjiang, but originally from Jiangsu Province, Jia Li is an interior and product designer based in Beijing. He completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Art at Jiangsu University, and went on to study in the UK at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design. Here we discuss with him how he started out as a designer, the relationship between architecture, interiors and social responsibility, as well as current projects.
Independent fashion designer, Ziye Wang, graduated from both ESMOD Beijing and ESMOD Paris in 2010 and 2011 respectively. After winning a number of awards for her graduate collection and exhibiting as part of Chic Young Blood last year, Ziye Wang eventually set up her own label. We visited her studio in Beijing to discuss more about her journey to date.
Jonah Kessel is an interactive art director, visual journalist and nomadically curious photographer. He offers visual communications solutions across a wide array of platforms including videography, photography, mixed media production, print, web and interactive design. Motivated to “Imagine. Create. Inspire” and to use his passion for visual storytelling to bring about positive change, Jonah has continuously pushed the boundaries of visual journalism and what it can become. Continue reading.
Launched in 2009 by Nathan Zhang, brandnü is an ethical trade network that works in partnership with China’s socially-conscious designers and artists to help re-design rural livelihoods by offering support, resources and better access to urban markets. Nathan has been working with fashion designers Sarah Yun and Zhang Na on an upcycled fashion project since 2011 and recently sent in photos of their latest collaboration.
Founded by Charlene Wang, Tranquil Tuesdays is a Beijing-based, design-infused social enterprise that markets and sells Chinese tea to an international audience, and collaborates with designer artists to produce original teaware. The young business also demonstrates a commitment towards women’s empowerment via training and hiring underprivileged women; Charlene believes that, just as the flavours and aromas of tea slowly develop and reveal their inherent qualities as you let it steep, with the proper training, support, and encouragement any woman can live up to her full potential and work in a job that showcases her innate talents. I recently caught up with Charlene to find out more.
Tell us more about how Tranquil Tuesdays transpired. I’ve always been compelled by global poverty issues, especially those that affect women. I actually used to work for the US Foreign Service, which included serving time in Bangladesh as a human rights officer. It was here that I came to the conclusion that the NGO model may not necessarily work well enough to address the root cause of a problem; I believe that social enterprises are a better way to address specific issues. And this is what Tranquil Tuesdays is fundamentally about - empowering women and providing them with more skills to lead an improved life.
How and why does design play an important part of your brand? From a young age, I’ve always appreciated design; it was only natural that it would play a key role in my brand. I wanted to establish a modern, Chinese company, but one that was also steeped in tradition. When I was first starting out, therefore, I spent a lot of time studying ancient Chinese motifs and visiting apothecaries in Hong Kong for inspiration. This helped shape our visual identity from the logo to the photography and packaging. I feel that life is too short to have bad design in your life!
We also work with designer artists based in Jingdezhen (the ancient porcelain-crafting capital of China for the past 1000 years or so) on teaware that has been exclusively designed for Tranquil Tuesdays. We currently have 3 teaware collections available, each individually designed by Ke Zhongxiang, Zhang Min and Zhu Xuan. All three ceramicists studied at Jingdezhen Ceramics Academy and have now established studios in the area.
What does the future hold for Tranquil Tuesdays? I am planning to release 2 new teaware collections: one inspired by Song Dynasty designs, the other by a trip to Dunhuang. I also want to focus on our tea packaging a bit more.