Interview With Bai Fan From China

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Bai Fan

Bai Fan is the founder and designer of WANGJIANXI and made waves with a unique toy design titled Beltman. Read about his thoughts here!

Interview with the 2022 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Bai Fan

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
I’m Bai Fan, the founder of the lifestyle brand WANGJIANXI. I’m a designer, but I prefer to call myself “a person who lives in stories”. I like to collect fragments of others’ lives, and then translate those valuable experiences, memories and moments in life into visual works with great expressiveness.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
Born into an artists’ family, I soaked up inspirations of various art genres in the process of growth. The impressions they left in my mind are like attractive commodities in “showcases”, and we are shoppers reflected on the grass windows. I hope to collect the inner worlds of different people into my “showcase”.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I’ve accumulated rich large-scale commercial activity planning and visual design experiences across more than a decade of my career, and established good cooperative relations with many world-renowned brands. I’m committed to renewing conventional visual narratives with thoughtful design language, and connecting commercial aesthetics and creative culture to make them reality. To better align brand value to content value, I founded my own brand – WANGJIANXI, with an aim to create a unique spiritual homeland full of fantastic, fancy, and childlike ideas.
4What does “design” mean to you?

Design is a tool to tell stories.

There is no such thing as a perfect design. There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes. Design has different meanings for different people. Design plays a role in people’s lives, and it is meaningful only when it is connected with people. One can only pursue what he or she thinks perfect, and it may be something new for others.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
I once saw a toy – an exhausted Ultraman sitting on the ground to rest while smoking after he strips off half a monster’s clothes. The plot depicted by the toy attracted me immediately. In films, the Ultraman and the monster represent justice and evil, respectively. However, the toy deviates from our mindset about Ultraman movies, and brings us to a fresh plot that may be closer to reality. I like such designs that reflect the true side of our hearts.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
Designs that show attitudes, designs that reflect social phenomena, and designs that convey spiritual pursuits.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
I like to ponder over social phenomena and dig into human nature deep inside, and then depict them with design language in a euphemistic, metaphorical manner. In terms of details, I pursue delicate contrast and pay attention to expressing feelings and telling stories with my design works. I also like to create characters that are both good and evil in my works, set up “naughty tricks” or create unexpected twists.
8Tell us about your design process.
The process of conception starts with interactions with the world. I pay attention to prominent social problems and often chat with ordinary people to record their big dreams. Based on such interactions, I determine the start point and finishing line of my creation, and constantly make explorations and experiments in the process. Just like GPS leads us to our destinations via different routes, “all-digital R&D” makes the creation process more fault-tolerant and enables me to enjoy different views along the journey of design.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
The country’s social, economic, and cultural environments all exert influence on my design conception, which is mainly manifested in my thinking of society inspired by everyday life.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2022 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
It is of great significance for me to win this prize with international influence. It enables me to display my works and my thoughts on design worldwide, and connects my work with the world.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
The real world is undergoing profound changes. The wrestle between centralization and de-centralization caused by the concept of metaverse, in fact, focuses on the theme “control”. Regulation and competition, simplicity and complexity, influence each other, and are mutually transferable. Human society has always pursued a kind of “control” that combines balance and opposition. The winning work, which covers toys, collectibles, decorations, etc., combines simplicity and exquisiteness and integrates deconstructionism and constructionism, featuring meticulously designed details and expressing rich emotions and stories.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The structure of the work itself demands extreme refinement. The work seeks to achieve sustainable design. The major challenge of the design lies in ensuring refinement while achieving a balance in energy efficiency.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
The award represents a recognition of my work’s design concept and quality. It inspires me to pursue ceaseless breakthroughs and innovations.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
The implementation of design concept is a process to transform abstract concept into reality. Design has imperceptibly become a pillar supporting people’s spiritual world. My love for design urges me to stick to the path of creation and look for the bright spots in my heart.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
China now has a complete industrial system, which is conducive to turning design concepts into reality.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Nowadays, artificial intelligence replaces humans to complete basic creation and even some creative thinking. The continuous development of science and technology will push designers’ core capacity to the limits. In this context, design will transform, upgrade and become more spiritual, shifting towards a “soul-oriented” direction. I expect the day when man and machine are deeply integrated and co-exist will arrive soon.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Design is not only a flash of ideas, but a process requiring long-time accumulation of skills.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
I think Muse. World is a great platform to obtain the latest news about design. It can provide an objective standard for you to analyze and evaluate your own works. In addition, designers should pay attention information in other fields because design is a combination of diverse, comprehensive ideas.
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My father is an artist. More than just art creation, his works help protect and inherit traditional culture. His style and aesthetics provided an inspiration for me, and his spirit and experience also inspired me to shape my own theory. Thus, I created a visual system totally different from traditional art.
20Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I would like to express my thanks to professional judges for their recognition and support.

Winning Entries

Beltman | 2022


The real world is undergoing profound changes, and Metaverse brings central and decentralized games. It revolves around the concept of “control.” Inspired by that, the design combines simplicity and exquisiteness and integrates deconstructionism and constructionism, featuring meticulously designed details and expressing rich emotions and stories. It can use for collectibles, toys, decorations, etc. Featuring the idea of sustainable design, it is entirely digital R&D, a simplified design, hollowing out the internal structure to significantly reduce the material consumption and product weight.
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Bai Fan

Bai Fan is the founder and designer of WANGJIANXI and made waves with a unique toy design titled Beltman.

Fresh from the land of the rising sun, read about our recent interview with Kazutoshi Kawakami here!