Interview with Tzuhsiang Lin for Nest Lamp

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Tzuhsiang Lin

Tzuhsiang Lin, a New York-based product designer and current graduate student at Pratt Institute, specializes in product, furniture, and accessory design. His profound passion for design fuels a personal journey marked by keen observations of life and the world.

Interview With The 2023 MUSE Design Awards Winner – Tzuhsiang Lin

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
My name is Tzuhsiang Lin and I am a product designer based in New York and currently pursuing my graduate studies at Pratt Institute. My focus areas include product design, furniture design, and accessory design.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

My passion for design runs deep and I view it as a profound personal journey. It's a journey rooted in keen observations of life and the world around me, a journey that involves a rigorous process of self-reflection and an examination of the objects that populate our existence, all while bearing in mind the weight of social responsibility.

What truly fuels my passion is the profound satisfaction and genuine enthusiasm I experience when I witness the emotions stirred in people by a design creation. It's a powerful connection that transcends mere aesthetics. It's the joy and wonder that light up their faces when they encounter a design that required hundreds or even thousands of hours of painstaking effort to bring to life.

This process of creation, from inception to realization, is a labor of love. It's a testament to the dedication and craftsmanship that go into making every detail just right. And when I see that emotional connection, it reaffirms my belief in the transformative power of design – the ability to touch hearts, evoke emotions, and enhance our quality of life.

3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
I am currently a master's student, actively engaged in my thesis and project proposal. My design direction draws inspiration from my observations of life and the things around me, which I integrate into my design work. My aspiration is to become a furniture designer upon graduation.
4What does “design” mean to you?

Design to me is a meticulous and deliberate process that emerges from the depths of personal observations about life and our ever-evolving surroundings.

For as long as I can remember, I've had an innate curiosity about the world. I find myself constantly attuned to the subtleties of our environment, whether it's the graceful curve of a bridge's arch, the interplay of light and shadow in a bustling urban alley, or the ergonomic elegance of a well-designed chair. It's this keen awareness, this unquenchable thirst for understanding, that propels me down the path of design.

Every object, every space, and every interaction becomes a source of inspiration. I find beauty in the mundane, elegance in simplicity, and stories in the everyday. These observations aren't passive; they're the seeds of creativity, germinating in my mind, waiting to be nurtured and brought to life through the design process.

But design is not a solitary pursuit. It's a dialogue between the self and the world, a constant conversation with the objects and spaces that surround us. It's about interpreting the needs and desires of individuals, communities, and society as a whole. It's about addressing real-world problems, no matter how big or small, with innovative solutions that improve lives.

In this journey of design, I've come to see that it carries a profound sense of responsibility. As designers, we have the privilege and duty to shape the world we live in. This responsibility extends beyond aesthetics; it encompasses functionality, sustainability, and inclusivity. It's about considering the long-term impact of our creations on the environment and the well-being of those who interact with them.

I believe that design should be more than just visually appealing; it should be a force for positive change. It should be a means of connecting people, fostering empathy, and enhancing the human experience. It should be a catalyst for progress, pushing boundaries, and challenging conventions.

This, to me, is the essence of design—a thoughtful, deliberate, and transformative process that draws from personal observations, engages with the world, and carries the weight of responsibility. It's a journey of endless exploration, a quest to uncover the hidden potential in every object and space, and a commitment to leaving a lasting, positive imprint on our shared world.

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

Exploring the concept of what constitutes good design is truly intriguing. It's important to acknowledge that the definition of good design can vary significantly from person to person. In my view, a design is truly exceptional when it has the power to elicit an emotional response within me.

You see, for me, design is not merely about aesthetics or functionality; it's a deeply personal and often visceral experience. It's about that moment when I encounter a design and it resonates with me on a profound level. It's the sensation of being moved, inspired, or even transformed by a well-crafted creation.

Good design, in my eyes, is akin to a captivating story. It has the ability to communicate, to convey a message or an idea that goes beyond the surface. It tells a narrative that captivates not only my senses but also my emotions.

It's the chair that not only provides comfort but also cradles you in a sense of security, making you feel like you're in the warm embrace of a loved one. It's the building that doesn't just stand as a structure but speaks to the culture and history of a place, inviting you to explore its stories. It's the user interface of a digital app that doesn't just guide you through tasks but also intuitively understands your needs, making you feel heard and valued.

In essence, the designs I cherish are those that bridge the gap between the functional and the emotional. They demonstrate a deep understanding of human needs, desires, and experiences, and they translate that understanding into tangible, impactful creations.

So, to me, good design is a design that doesn't merely catch my eye, but it also captures my heart and soul. It's a design that has the power to make me smile, reflect, or even shed a tear. It's a design that, in its own unique way, enriches my life and makes the world a more beautiful, meaningful place.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

I believe that good design goes beyond mere practicality and feasibility; it also serves as a canvas to display the unique style and identity of the designer or brand. In my view, a truly good design has the ability to evoke emotions, even if those emotions resonate with only a small group of individuals.

It's important to recognize that what makes a design exceptional can be highly subjective. Many individuals may perceive a design as fantastic simply because it effectively addresses a specific problem or because they have a personal affinity for it. This connection often arises when the design and the designer share similar life experiences and journeys with the people who are drawn to it. This shared connection and resonance can deeply move individuals, making them feel a profound connection with the design and the designer.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

My designs are fundamentally rooted in my life experiences and the things I hold dear. My primary aspiration is that my designs resonate with me on a deep, personal level before they have the capacity to move others. As I emphasized earlier, I firmly believe that truly good design possesses the ability to elicit emotional responses.

Regarding the style or defining attributes of my designs, I've received feedback from numerous friends who can readily identify my work when they encounter it. Nevertheless, I'm in a process of exploration and development, continuously refining and evolving my personal style.

8Tell us about your design process.

It begins with the discovery of inspiration drawn from my personal life experiences. From there, I embark on the journey of design development, a structured process that encompasses various crucial stages, including research, sketching, prototype creation, and ultimately, the finalization of the design.

This process adheres to the foundational principles of design, where thorough research helps to identify key insights and problem areas. Sketching allows me to explore creative possibilities and generate initial concepts. Prototyping brings these concepts to life in tangible forms, enabling me to test functionality and aesthetics. Finally, through iterations and refinement, the design is honed to its ultimate form, ready to meet the needs and expectations of its intended audience.

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

Absolutely. Being an international student in the United States has provided me with the profound opportunity to explore and continually reflect on how my own cultural background exerts various influences on design. Beyond language, there exist subtle disparities in design preferences, or, to be more precise, in the emphasis placed on particular details.

I believe that my unique cultural heritage and diverse upbringing equip me with a distinctive perspective in the realm of design. This perspective centers on understanding how design can evoke emotions and engage individuals in meaningful ways, underscoring the profound impact design has on people's experiences and perceptions.

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?
This is truly fantastic news for me, as it validates and appreciates the considerable time and effort I've dedicated to my work! My decision to participate in this competition was primarily driven by my deep admiration for the previous award-winning designs. Moreover, given my current location in New York, it felt almost obligatory for me to partake in this esteemed event.
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 project aims to explore the fusion of craftsmanship with contemporary home decor. It seeks to convey people's sentiments about ancient Eastern silk through a blend of traditional craftsmanship and innovative aesthetics.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The most significant challenge lies in the conceptualization of the design and the manufacturing process. This particular piece is intricately crafted by wrapping several metal wires together, akin to the threads of ancient Eastern silk. In this process, each winding resembles a thread, and in ancient Eastern culture, silk holds numerous connotations, including representing melancholy, as its pronunciation in Chinese is almost identical.
13How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
The most significant benefit would come in the form of increased exposure opportunities. This would allow a wider audience to view my designs and cement an increased confidence in creating products.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

First and foremost, a thriving design space should be characterized by diversity and inclusivity. A healthy design environment should wholeheartedly welcome diverse expressions and a variety of perspectives.

Equally important is mutual respect. I firmly believe that people should honor each other's differing viewpoints and interpretations of design, as this fosters the creation of design products with expanded horizons and possibilities.

Lastly, there's the element of mutual learning. It's a gratifying experience to encounter products designed by various designers and to have the opportunity to learn from one another.

15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
As a designer from another country pursuing studies in the United States, I believe the most distinguishing aspect lies in the unique background and character shaped by my own culture. I have observed that many designers from my home country are recognized for their efficiency and adeptness at swiftly identifying crucial factors. This often leads to the creation of products that are highly competitive in terms of pricing and innovative capabilities.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
There is a growing emphasis on the advancement of green design, with a notable focus on electronic product development. This emphasis is particularly evident in the realm of portable and wearable electronic products.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Believe in your ability to accomplish tasks and to steadfastly maintain your design perspective.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Take the time to examine the award-winning entries from design competitions and explore various rendering or computer modeling techniques accessible through Google.
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
In my life, there have been many people who have inspired me, and I believe that everyone around me has something worth learning from. What I find particularly fascinating about design is that it allows me to witness the diverse interpretations that people have when they look at things. The process of observing these varying perspectives is, in itself, an inspiring journey for me.
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Patience and attentive observation to feel the world around us.

Winning Entry

Nest Lamp | 2023

Nest Lamp | Tzuhsiang Lin

Nest Lamp draws its inspiration from the natural nests found in the wild. It takes the form …
(Read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Tzuhsiang Lin

Tzuhsiang Lin, a New York-based product designer and current graduate student at Pratt Institute, specializes in product, furniture, and accessory design. His profound passion for design fuels a personal journey marked by keen observations of life and the world.

Read Tzuhsiang Lin’s interview for the 2023 MUSE Design Awards here!