Interview with Dan Deng from China

Interview with Jialiang Guo from United States
October 3, 2023
Sonia Bourruel | London Design Awards
Interview with Sonia Bourruel from United Kingdom
October 3, 2023

Dan Deng

Dan Deng, a magna cum laude graduate in Interior Design and Space Planning from South China University of Technology, brings over a decade of high-end luxury interior design experience, collaborating with hotels globally, from Europe to Southeast Asia.

Interview With The 2023 London Design Awards Winner – Dan Deng

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

My name is Dan Deng and I currently hold a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and Space Planning, magna cum laude, from South China University of Technology, I have more than ten years’ experience working in the high-end luxury market across multiple interior sectors, working with multiple hotel brands with projects across the globe ranging from Europe to Southeast Asia.

I would say that I have a keen insight into new design trends and I am skilled in blending artistic diversity within my designs. This forward and fresh approach toward the design process allows me to explore many unique possibilities and solutions.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
I chose a career in design due to my father's influential role in an architectural institute, which greatly shaped my path.
3Tell us more about your agency/company, job profile, and what you do.

The matter of design is no more than designing, we focus on design itself to resolve project issues. The matter of design is not limited to designing, we attend to go beyond designing to promote project value with strategies.

Established in Shenzhen in 2018, Nothing But Design had studios set up in Hong Kong and Beijing. The scope of services covers architecture, hospitality, restaurant, club house, office, integrated residence, selected private residence.

Our team members have worked with international and domestic top design companies, with hands on interior design experience in different regions and brands, not only within China, but also in Southeast Asia and other continents. We are familiar with various hotel design specifications and standards, proficient in integrating operational needs into design, fully exploring the logic behind brand strategies and positioning, and have keen insight into the current situation and development trend of the industry.

We have hands on experience in managing large-scale projects and also the ability to provide optimisation solutions steadfastly. Our team is experienced in designing for high-end international brand hotel such as, Marriott, InterContinental, Hilton, MGM, Accor, One & Only, Chedi, Capella. We also focus on the exploration and research of mid-end and boutique hotels that are based in China and Hong Kong S.A.R., and of course, we are trying to expand our influence worldwide to provide international design services.

4What does “design” mean to you?
Design to me means survival and ideals.
5What’s your favourite kind of design and why?
My favourite design type is hotel interior design because it encompasses a wide range of elements. After working on hotel designs, other projects like commercial spaces and private residences feels effortless.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
A harmonious and understanding team that understands what the clients envision.
7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?
The inspiration for my idea came from the urban culture and contemporary design elements found in the project's location.
8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?
We have extracted traditional Chinese cultural concepts and integrated modern design techniques.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
This translation recites traditional Chinese culture and cultural heritage have had a significant impact on me.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the London Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Thank you for the recognition from the London Design Awards! This honour is truly extraordinary and a validation of our team's hard work. Winning this award inspires us to continue pursuing innovation and excellence, creating unique spatial experiences for our clients.

We are grateful for the trust and support of our clients; without them, this achievement would not have been possible. The teamwork and professional talent within our team have been indispensable, and we will continue to work together, striving for more outstanding designs.

Once again, thank you to the London Design Awards; this recognition will motivate us to keep progressing and creating even better interior design works!

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

In the design of this restaurant, we have strived to create a unique, comfortable, and impressive dining environment. We paid great attention to details, pursued innovative design elements and ensured the functionality and practicality of the interior space.

Through meticulous planning, close collaboration with the client, innovative design thinking, and teamwork, we successfully overcame these challenges, creating a unique, comfortable, and inviting interior environment for the restaurant. Challenges have propelled our growth and inspired us to continuously pursue excellence in design.

12How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?
Winning this award will enhance my reputation and visibility, attracting more projects and collaboration opportunities, driving me to continuously learn and innovate!
13What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?
I enjoy signing projects, designing them, and seeing them successfully completed.
14What sets your design apart from others in the same category?
By incorporating unique design concepts, emphasising user experience, utilising innovative materials and technology, paying attention to meticulous detailing, providing targeted solutions, collaborating closely with clients, and effective promotion. This is how I was able to have my designs stand out among similar projects, gaining more recognition and opportunities.
15Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

In the next 5-10 years, the design industry will move towards sustainability, digitisation and intelligence, customisation, health and well-being, and diverse cross-disciplinary development.

Designers will focus on environmental protection, technological applications, personalisation, humanisation, and cross-cultural integration, creating innovative, sustainable, and inclusive design works. These trends will bring new opportunities and challenges to the design industry.

16What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?

To become an award-winning designer, here are some suggestions:

- Continuously learn and improve your skills.

- Expand your horizons and draw inspiration from various sources.

- Love design and maintain your passion for it.

- Dare to innovate and break through traditional boundaries.

- Communicate and collaborate effectively with clients.

- Pay attention to details and prioritise quality.

- Persevere and stay persistent in your efforts.

- Participate in design competitions and exhibitions.

- Collaborate with other designers.

- Establish a personal design brand to showcase your work and style.

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

Here are the recommended resources to improve skills in the design industry:

- Online courses and educational platforms.

- Design books and magazines.

- Design blogs and websites.

- Design communities and forums.

- Participate in design competitions and challenges.

- Practical projects and internships.

- Observe and learn from outstanding works.

- Drawing and handicrafts.

- Use design software and tools.

- Accept feedback and self-evaluate.

18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
Our design fees are very affordable, it’s not that high haha
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
There is this very famous contemporary writer in China that goes by the name of Yu Hua and he has a work called ‘To Live’. He is the person who has had the greatest influence and inspires me to do better.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I believe I am still exploring on the path to success. However, I would like to share a Chinese proverb with everyone: "Learning knows no bounds."
21Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
I sincerely hope that the London Design Awards will continue to thrive, gain international recognition and attract more designers to participate. May it become widely renowned globally and inspire even greater participation from the design community!

Winning Entries

Chuanhuo · National Trend Cultural Theme Restaurant | 2023


NBDx Chuanhuo, have jointly created a boutique hot pot restaurant under the theme of national trend culture … (Read more at London Design Awards)

Honeymoon Maison Maternity Care Center | 2023

Honeymoon Maison Maternity Care Center | Shenzhen Nothing But Design Co., Ltd. and Guangdong Leyue Health Consulting Co., LTD

Natural warmth and moisture, as well as the creation of five senses represent the creative core of this project. The … (Read more at London Design Awards)

Dan Deng

Dan Deng, a magna cum laude graduate in Interior Design and Space Planning from South China University of Technology, brings over a decade of high-end luxury interior design experience, collaborating with hotels globally, from Europe to Southeast Asia.

Read more about this interview with Jon Olsen from the United States, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 London Design Awards.