Interview with Chia Hui Lu From Egret Cultural & Educational Foundation, Taiwan

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Chia Hui Lu

Chia Hui Lu is a music director, composer, and a renowned concert pianist. She has been performing at various major concert halls worldwide for over thirty years, and that's incredible!

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Chia Hui Lu

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

I am a passionate artist and a pioneer in Taiwan’s cross art scene. I am a composer, a music director, and a classical concert pianist. As the Chairwoman of the Egret Foundation, I continue on our organization’s 28 year tradition in promoting music and culture.

Over the years, I’ve published two piano albums: “Enchanted” and “Amore”. In the cross arts field, I was the Executive Music Director for “Sayion I” and “Sayion II”, where I composed and arranged music for the interactive new media theater productions. In the production, our team incorporated 720-degree VR and 3D motion-capture systems.

I was the curator of “Impression of Taiwan” for the Art Taipei Expo. XR Obsession is another production that I debuted at the Expo that combined a live piano performance of music and dance in an extended reality 4DViews volumetric capture new media experience. 

As the producer and art director of “Amore”, a classical repertoire, we worked with paintings by Paul Chiang, transforming it into animated 3D visuals. More recently, I curated the Sacred Garden as a partner of the international Ars Electronica Festival 2021.

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

Art has always been my calling and my full attention has always been drawn to it. I feel that art is a powerful form of communication that influences our perception, values, and opinions. It can even tell us a story simply without the use of words.

I’m constantly amazed by new projects today with out-of-the-box concepts and unique avant-garde works. I can’t help but be inspired by these experiences along with their respective cultural uniqueness, and find myself learning from them to improve the status quo. And through collaboration with other artists and experts, we can continue to push the boundaries of the art world.

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

I have been performing as a classical pianist in major concert halls all over the world for over 30 years, alongside teaching as a professor at the National Taiwan University of Arts.

I was promoted chairwoman of the Egret Foundation in 2019, and I proudly accept the responsibilities to lead my team in promoting music and art at an international scale. Today, I continue to wear the mantle as chairwoman while simultaneously juggling my other passions as a performer, designer, composer, and producer.

4What does “design” mean to you?

To me, my concept of “design” means a process that begins with a special inspirational moment that leads to the extraction of the traditional to create something that is aspiringly new.

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

My favorite kind of design is abstract because with abstract, there are no rules nor limits. Everyone may have a different point of view. I notice my style has changed over time, but one thing that has never changed is my focus and courage to move out of my comfort zone to challenge myself to create something completely different from my previous works. I believe I am well rounded, yet unpredictable. And all of my creations have stemmed from my root, Music. As a musician I can naturally visualize everything through sound. Through music, I hope to touch people’s hearts and to trigger their inner voice. And perhaps my music may be able to have a place in their mind.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A good design to me, is one that really speaks out to you and makes you contemplate for a long time. And maybe one that even touches your soul.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

My design style is more unique, complex, diverse, and dramatic. I like to tell a story filled with hidden meanings.

8Tell us about your design process.

I get inspiration for many of my works from, believe or not, my dreams when I am sleeping! And it is through these dreams that is the muse that enables me to compose my music. I create my music first as they are my most expressive form of art, and then visualize the communication behind its notes and melodies.

After that, I gather all of the visuals that best represent what my music is expressing. From here, the invisible sound becomes visible. There are no set rules in my design process and sometimes I have to do the reverse where I have to create music for different production themes. It really depends each and every time, but I discovered that in all of my works, I just have to follow my heart and instincts. And that has always worked the best for me.

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

My country is the soil of my mind that is rich in creativity, and it has a great influence on me and my design process. To me, Taiwan is an island with an abundance of precious resources and was heavily influenced by early explorers and settlers from the Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. Every one of my works is ingrained with Taiwan’s DNA. One of my award-winning works, “Butterfly Orchid”, came to me in a dream after I visited the Tainan Orchid Garden Expositions. And wouldn’t you know it, Taiwan happens to be the Kingdom of Butterflies and Orchids.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2021 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

We truly are humbled and honored to receive the MUSE Creative Awards. The recognition that our organization has received from such a world-renowned and prestigious organization fills us with great pride and achievement. Since our win, it has boosted our confidence in our ability to create works with international appeal. The awards have undoubtedly fueled our drive to create even more meaningful art in the future.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2021 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

Over the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of our projects were unfortunately delayed and even terminated altogether. This crisis gave us ample time to take a deep breath, contemplate, reflect, and review our past works. The isolation from each other has indirectly pushed us to find another way for our works to be seen and recognized. We are glad to have entered our projects into the MUSE Design Awards. Here are our 4 projects that won awards.

XR Obsession – An extended reality live performance that integrates augmented, virtual, and mixed realities to mesmerize the audience (XR = AR + VR + MR). It is a performing, conceptual, kinetic, digital, video, and performance art. It vividly traverses Taiwan’s colorful history, art, and natural beauty through time and space. The beautiful ancient landscape paintings of Houei-Kuen Chen are brought to life. Dynamic volumetric capture fuses with 3D animation. The live performance blends together perfectly with AR/VR realms and is projected onto a large LED wall for all to experience and enjoy a new and exciting XR experience. The legendary tales and phenomenal scenery borne from Taiwan comes alive with music and art blending together beautifully. The goal of this piece is to promote Taiwan through a fun, educational, and meaningful interaction.

Amore – The production elegantly unite all seven of the human emotions of Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Fear, Love, Hate, and Affection, and fuse them together with the five Eastern Elements of Gold, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth to create a dramatically diverse program of Western Classical music and performing arts that achieves a mutual interdependence of the Yin-Yang balance. The animation intertwines, interacting in a marriage with its soul mate, music.

Butterfly Orchid – It is a fantasy about being trapped by love, transforming for love, and the final ultimate sacrifice for devoted love. An avant-garde production that is created to elevate the artistry of performing art. Paul Chiang’s paintings create a solid foundation from which 3D animation techniques catalyzes the art to life. Through a combination of intense piano music, multimedia technology, contemporary and abstract moving arts, diverse styles are revealed to present a dramatic performance that is a banquet for the senses.

Impression of Taiwan – This exhibit could have not been made possible without the Egret Foundation and the numerous collaborative artists! The exhibit features ceramic art, creative and cultural products, publications, new media interactive theatre presentations and musical visual performances. It is an exhibit to showcase Taiwan’s natural beauty and grand history. It’s absolutely creative and very Taiwan!

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

The collaboration with artists from different fields is always a challenge. With many projects, the beginning is smooth with everyone on the same page. As individual tasks are completed in parallel towards the goal, you realize that each artist’s perception of the end goal changes. As if we are all from different planets. This is amusing, but a reality. Knowing how to communicate with each artist is an art form in itself. Finding the right way of communication is the key to bringing the team together to get them on the same page and to steer them in the right direction.

13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?

Winning awards has always given us a great sense of honor, and it is a sign that we have created an exceptional artwork that is meaningful. An award is also proof that we are capable of producing art at a level recognized on a global scale. We are hopeful that it will open doors to new possibilities for us to create more innovative art in the future.

14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

I would say some of my favorite things about our industry will have to be the new technologies that are constantly enabling new forms of art, the innovative nature of our industry always keeps us on our toes, and the fireworks in the audience’s eyes when they see your work is fantastic.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

Taiwanese culture is one of the most unique cultures in South East Asia, as it has strong influences from the Indigenous, Eastern, and Western cultures, as well as the essence from the land and sea. Taiwan also plays a very important part in the global technology supply chain, so having access to advanced technologies at our doorstep helps create designs that are truly cutting edge.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

We should see advancements in design to continue at an incredibly speedy pace with advanced technologies as we all live in the digital age. Artificial intelligence, for one, is becoming a very important part of our lives, but we must better understand the limitations of it as well as other future technologies. Only then can we do our best to work with it to create new innovative designs.

17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?

Don’t be afraid to create something that is new and unique and stay true to yourself!

18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Stay curious and have an open heart. Never stop learning and constantly observe your surroundings as you never know when you may find important keys that can unlock your creative success. Humbly learn everything you can from nature, history, and experts.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

Trying to outdo yourself is much harder and lonelier than I had ever imagined. True artists will always believe in themselves despite countless obstacles and criticisms thrown at them.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

I am forever grateful of my parents for being my true heroes and role models, their status and achievements are untouchable.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

Always remain curious. Be bold and be fearless!

Winning Entries

Amore |

Interview with Chia Hui Lui From Egret Cultural & Educational Foundation, Taiwan

AMORE is an avant-garde production created to elevate the artistry of performing...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Impression of Taiwan | 2021

Interview with Chia Hui Lui From Egret Cultural & Educational Foundation, Taiwan

The exhibit is the result of a collaborative effort...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Butterfly Orchid | 2021

Interview with Chia Hui Lui From Egret Cultural & Educational Foundation, Taiwan

Butterfly Orchid is an avant-garde
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

XR Obsession | 2021

Interview with Chia Hui Lu From Egret Cultural & Educational Foundation, Taiwan

XR Obsession is an extended reality live...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Chia Hui Lu

Chia Hui Lu is a music director, composer, and a renowned concert pianist. She has been performing at various major concert halls worldwide for over forty years, and that's incredible!