Interview with Caifu Li, Founder of GMZY Design, China

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Caifu Li

As the Founder of GMZY Design, Leo believes that good designs come with restrictions, where there are blank spaces to let thoughts stay and to communicate with oneself.

Interview with the 2020 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Caifu Li

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I am Leo Li, and I started GMZY Design office at 2010, and founded T10+ Design Alliance with other 9 like-minded designers in 2014. I follow the belief of “making others successful before achieving own success”, and provide clients with customized design services in the field of planning, architecture, landscape, indoor designing, exhibition, etc.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

This is my childhood dream. When I was learning painting, I knew that I would be involved in the art industry and engage in work related to art after growing up. I chose interior design as my major during university, and naturally became a designer. I think the current state of work is quite consistent with what I thought about this occupation in my childhood.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do

At the beginning of my career, I didn't define which field to work in, so I tried many things on design, including private houses, offices, rural inns, clubs, tearooms, restaurants, and so on. That is very meaningful to me. I pushed myself in many aspects and enjoyed the fun of design. At the same time, I have also unwittingly improved my comprehensive ability, and gradually explored my best and favorite side.

The current business of my office is quite stable, mainly in hotels and b&B, but occasionally taking over offices and residences.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Design conveys my attitude towards life. It's full of challenges, as well as philosophy of life, which changes some conventional ideas and state of conformism in people's life.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

I prefer home stays or renovation projects, because these kinds of projects usually give me opportunities to integrate architecture, interior, landscape and renovation as a whole unit. In this way, I combine various profession skills, from which I think about humanity, nature and regional culture in design.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

I believes that good design comes with restriction. There are blank spaces, letting thoughts to stay, to communicate with oneself, and to realize the dialogue between human and human, and between human and nature.

Secondly, a good design is the combination of humanity, nature, and art, much more than decoration.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

I emphasize on physical functions and spatial experience. Modern approaches are often used, while eastern spirits are highly recommended. They are modern, natural and humane.

8Tell us about your design process.

Step 1: Talk with the client, learning important points from them, such as their demands, budgets and so on.

Step 2: Put up with a scheme proposal, including the preliminary planning, positioning and characteristic of the project.

Step 3: Further discussion with the client, until making an agreement.

Step 4: Make detailed planning and layout.

Step 5: Discuss with vendors on materials and some specific technologies.

Step 6: Owner confirmation on the overall design scheme;

Step 7: Draw construction drawings and confirm the list of materials and furniture;

Step 8: Deliver the construction drawings.

Step 9: Service of supervising the construction process.

Step 10: Service of decoration.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

With the rapid development of the country, there are new things appearing at every moment, and at the same time, it is inevitable to make some things disappear, including some old buildings with historical memory and a strong sense of era. As designers, we need to transform and restore these buildings and give them a new life that meets modern people's aesthetics needs of life, which is also the requirement of our country for the protection of cultural heritage.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Muse Design Award is famous for its strict judging system and rigorous standards, attracting many international famous brands and design companies to participate every year. So, this award is a great recognition of my company and our team, and also an incentive to continue to improve the design.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2020 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

The project is located in Changshan, Quzhou city. It was originally a three-story brick-concrete office building in the 1990s. The plan is concave, 11 meters long from north to south, 20 meters wide and 5 meters deep. Because it needs to be converted into a B&B, the designer combs and plans the space as a whole. The biggest renovation of the building lies in the enclosure of the notch and the construction of the landscape balcony, which not only uses the space in the middle, but also gives the guest rooms on the second and third floors more views and leisure space. The first floor serves as a public area, with a sunken lounge area, kitchen, dining room, tea room and office area. The surroundings are connected by a landscape corridor, and the interior atmosphere is decorated by the construction of pools and miniature landscapes. The natural and original rural atmosphere balances the surrounding ecology and landscape and forms a scene by itself.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The biggest challenge is how to retain the main structure and characteristics of the original building, and transform the texture and shape of the building to become the landmark of the area, at the same time, expanding the space of the building and function, and make it more comfortable with more open vision.

13What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Sharing, experiencing, and brainstorming on design.

14What makes your country specifically, unique in the creative industry?

It is the continuation and accumulation of culture. Only the profound culture can burst out a steady stream of inspiration.

15Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

With the development of science and technology, people's living quality and their aesthetic vision improve, more and more scientific and technological elements will be implanted in the future design, which will simplify the space and make the design more rational and better integrate the state of nature and life.

16If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

To pay attention to the details of life, understand your living environment, and notice the beauty of life.

17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

High quality awards and their winning works.

18Who has inspired you in your life and why?

No particular one. There are different people who inspire me at different stages.

19What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

I think it is persistence and analysis in design. Only with persistence can there be subsequent results, and only with analysis can there be improvement.

Winning Entries

ShenShan Rural Inn | Villa of the First | 2020

ShenShan Rural Inn | Villa of the First | MUSE Design Awards

The project is located in Changshan, Quzhou city. It was originally a three-story brick-concrete office building in the 1990s. The plan...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

GMZY Design

GMZY Design provides all clients with customized design services in the field of planning, architecture, landscape, indoor designing, and many more.