Interview with He Xiaojun from China

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He Xiaojun

He Xiaojun, originally an oil painter from Sichuan, China, navigated an unconventional path into design without formal education. His journey led him to found Chengdu Tony Design Co Ltd, a testament to his adaptability and passion for design, marking a pivotal chapter in his career.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
I'm He Xiaojun, from a quaint county in Sichuan, China, and my journey in design unfolded in Chengdu. Although I majored in oil painting and did not receive a formal education in design, life's unexpected turns guided me toward the design profession. This unexpected journey has become a cherished part of my life and work.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
In the late '90s and early 2000s, making a living as an oil painter in China was really tough. I had to give up my painting dreams due to financial pressures. So, I started teaching myself design and took on commercial projects to pay my bills. This experience gradually shaped me into a designer.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I am the founder of Chengdu Tony Design Co., Ltd, and my company primarily focuses on commercial space design, especially in the areas of retail spaces for the home furnishings and building materials industry, as well as exhibition space design. Currently, my main responsibilities include overall design management and guiding designers in layout and creativity.
4What does “design” mean to you?
Design means communication, and in commercial design, it requires a two-way communication with both the client and consumers to achieve a higher level of consensus in order to create the most suitable design.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
Designing commercial spaces offers a unique sense of fulfillment for me, largely because of the larger scale and impact of these projects. It's incredibly rewarding to see a vast space transform and come to life through my designs.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
Good design involves two aspects: a moderate fusion of art and commerce, and innovation.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
I believe my style is somewhat interdisciplinary or eclectic, presenting an overall sense of value and comfort that meets the needs of the Chinese people.
8Tell us about your design process.
Keep it simple! Think thoroughly and then take action.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
The influence is significant, as seen in traditional Chinese painting or garden design, which emphasizes having "mountains and rivers in one's mind" and the idea that strokes are imbued with a sense of spirituality.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
It means that as long as you face things earnestly, you will be acknowledged.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
This work is designed for a well-known panel manufacturer in Chengdu, showcasing various patterns and colors. Panel patterns play an increasingly important role in the fields of home spaces and product design. As my design projects mainly focus on retail space design for home building materials, the impact of this particular project is expected to be extensive.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The building for this project has an older brick-and-concrete structure, which means many walls and doorways cannot be easily modified. Additionally, there are limitations on the ceiling height. Innovating within these constraints poses a considerable
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
I will continue doing what I excel at and approach each project with diligence.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
Communication between people and space, spatial creativity, and the application of decorative materials.
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
Because the Chinese design industry is situated within the broader context of reform, openness, and globalization. It is presenting particularly exciting and boundless possibilities.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
In the post-pandemic era, design will place greater emphasis on expressing substance and human care.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Draw inspiration from the excellent designs of predecessors.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
There aren't many specific resources, it's crucial to rely on firsthand experiences and observe physical spaces.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else
My cat once pooped on my car.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My wife, because her delicious cooking makes me feel the need for a beautiful space to match.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Working in the same industry as long as possible.

Winning Entries

Hometown T.O.P Chongqing Flagship Store
| 2023


Hometown is a furniture company which speicialzed in Kitchen, custom furniture and internal doors. Our team is in charge of …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)

ShineGer Decor Universe Chengdu Flagship Store |


The client in this case, ShineGer, is a company specializing in the production of veneer panels. In the current market …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)

He Xiaojun

He Xiaojun, originally an oil painter from Sichuan, China, navigated an unconventional path into design without formal education. His journey led him to found Chengdu Tony Design Co Ltd, a testament to his adaptability and passion for design, marking a pivotal chapter in his career.

Read more about this interview with Tao Chen from China, the Silver Winner of the 2023 MUSE Design Awards.