Interview with Yan Chen from China

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Yan Chen

Yan Chen is an esteemed expert in architectural creative design. She earned her bachelor's degree from the prestigious Chongqing University of Architecture and a master's from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. Her education has honed her professional skills and fueled her passion for creative design.

Interview With The 2023 TITAN Innovation Awards Winner – Yan Chen

1Please provide us with a brief bio of yourself.

My name is Yan Chen and I am an outstanding architectural creative design expert in the industry. I am proud to have a bachelor's degree in architecture from Chongqing University of Architecture, a famous architectural university, and a master's degree from Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom. I have mastered solid professional skills and cultivated a passion for creative design.

After my graduation, I had the honor to participate in the national-level project of the National Grand Theater of China and served as the team leader of the decoration design. Later, as the main architect, I joined OCT Group and was responsible for the design of the Beijing Happy Valley Project. I served as an executive at Wanda Group at the ninth level. I have presided over many large-scale projects including Wanda Xishuangbanna International Tourist Resort, and was invited to serve as the vice president of Dongguan Hengtai Technology Group.

These experiences have provided me with valuable opportunities to cooperate with well-known multinational companies and work side by side with top talents in the industry on various major projects.

2What inspired you to pursue innovation in your field?

Influenced by my family, my parents in my family were engaged in the construction industry. They guided and supported me in choosing the architectural design industry, and have been firmly supporting and encouraging me since I entered the industry; I was lucky from the day I stepped into the university. I feel very happy to study and engage in this industry.

Every project is completed, I can gain satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment, which makes me love this career more and more. I am also very lucky! After graduation, I caught up with the 20 years of China's reform and opening-up, vigorous construction, and rapid urbanization. I personally participated in and presided over many major projects. Together with men, I enjoy equal employment and recognized abilities. What I do is meaningful and valuable to society and respected, and I am happy to dedicate my knowledge and experience.

The process of each project is difficult, but the results are full of gains; my understanding and pursuit of design as a profession is driven by passion, goals, and the desire to have a meaningful impact. The creative field allows me to transform my interests, skills, and imagination into tangible forms of expression. It provides me with the opportunity to solve problems, exchange ideas, and arouse emotions through visual means. Let me choose to become creative with my sincere love for a fulfilling and purposeful career. Creating the design world and contributing to design brings me happiness, and I am grateful for the path I chose.

3Please tell us more about your organization.
I previously worked at OCT Group, the foremost theme park corporation in China, where I was involved in innovatively designing the Happy Valley range of products, enhancing the travel experience for Chinese families. Additionally, I have also worked for Wanda Group, the top developer and operator of commercial complexes in China, I contributed to their cutting-edge commercial creative design products, which are recognized as leaders in the industry.
4What does “innovation” mean to you?
For me, innovative design means meeting customer needs and using a combination of creativity, research, aesthetics, function and emotion. This is a comprehensive coordination of all aspects and a paradise for creators. It not only creates spatial imagination, but also expresses more activities, scenes, and lifestyles.
5Can you briefly describe your innovation and its impact?
My passion lies in innovative design due to its pivotal role in continually setting fashion trends, challenging conventional experiences, and providing customers with fresh ideas and experiences, as well as unique sensations. This approach infuses products with dynamism and an enduring essence, particularly in architectural and scenic design, where it's essential to align with the customer's needs or ethos. While trends may be fleeting, innovative designs that leave a lasting impression on customers endure through time.
6How did you come up with the idea that led to your award-winning innovation?
An effective design prioritizes the requirements of the customer, seamlessly integrating both form and function. It should connect emotionally, fostering a feeling of comfort and belonging, while fulfilling its purpose with elegance and efficiency.
7What challenges did you face during the innovation process, and how did you overcome them?

My design process essentially combines the project investment budget, combined with market research, and customized products for target customers. It cooperates with various professional sectors throughout the process, first of all, to gain an in-depth understanding of the customer's vision and needs.

On this basis, we create scenes, theme culture and theme stories, and creative theme IP, so that customers can envision the final space boiling and moving. Continuous feedback loops and on-site visits ensure that the design develops organically, combining our expertise with customer preferences. This iterative approach ensures that the final product is both innovative and personalized.

8Congratulations! How does winning this award affect your future goals and aspirations?

My design style advocates the primacy of experience, embracing and accepting fresh trends, a sense of science and technology, innovation, the combination of multicultural elements, and celebrating cultural IP innovation. I draw inspiration from the palette of natural materials, emphasizing the level of impact and touch, in order to create a space that is both innovative and unlimited experience.

I got rid of the trend of clichés and tended to blend classic elements with modern technology. This is a playful and experimental dance of contrast-the juxtaposition of primitive and exquisite, classic and modern, creating a narrative that is both bold and practical.

9Who or what has been your biggest source of support throughout your innovation journey?

Yes it is! The source of my design is Chinese culture! It is broad and profound, and all kinds of history, characters, legends, regional cultures and symbols have given me a unique source of design creativity. The inheritance and excavation of our country's culture can not only enrich my design but also emphasize its unique cultural charm.

In contrast, Western practices tend to focus on innovation and western style, as well as scientific and technological innovation. By integrating the advantages of east and west cultures, I can create a technological space that is both eternal and avant-garde and innovative.

10How do you think your innovation will shape the future of your industry?

We have gone through many rounds of repeated scrutiny, repeated revisions, and comprehensive selection of this project plan, because it breaks through the common techniques and thinking of space design, boldly adopts internationally leading technologies and methods, and combines ancient Chinese culture. It is indeed unique in the world. The space is conceptualized to be able to adapt and develop.

From ordinary spaces to popular science entertainment venues, its transformative nature enables it to provide countless technological entertainment experiences in a single space.

Our goal is not just aesthetic, novelty and beauty, but it is also to collect insights to continuously improve the customer experience. The project embodies innovation, functionality and adaptability, making it a suitable entry for the TITAN Innovation Awards.

11What advice would you give to aspiring innovators looking to make a difference?

Continuous development-design will never stand still. It reflects the national and regional culture, experiences the spirit of the times, and ensures that we, as architectural creative designers, continue to learn and develop.

The power of change-in different markets, well-designed spaces can enhance, stimulate and change the user experience.

Collaboration-cooperation with different owners, builders, and other design companies can achieve the perfect integration of ideas and perspectives.

12How did you manage to stay motivated and focused during the innovation process?

The future of architectural interior space design lies in sustainable, adaptive and inclusive spaces. As we become more aware of our environmental footprint, sustainable development and technological innovation, cultural innovation will dominate.

The space will also become more culturally rich, accommodating diverse functions and mirroring our lively way of life. It will simultaneously showcase various cultures and facilitate popular science education, lending dynamism to the design and ensuring an engaging experience for every visitor.

13What are the key skills or qualities that you believe contribute to successful innovation?
In my early days as a designer, I often criticized my decisions afterwards, fearing that they did not conform to fashion trends. Over time, I realized the power of authenticity and how a space that truly reflects its residents resonates deeper than trend-driven design.
14Where do you see the evolution of innovation in your industry going over the next 5-10 years?
Creativity is not limited to the field of artists. In fact, anyone can experience a moment of extraordinary inspiration at any given time, becoming a fertile ground for creativity to flourish.
15What message would you like to convey to others who may be inspired by your achievements?
Design comes from life. We embrace life with a happy and positive attitude, discover culture, discover beauty, and then use our pens to express and record. Every architectural space has a story waiting to be told; our job is to weave this story beautifully. Be loyal to your vision, continue to develop, and always prioritize the needs and wishes of customers.

The Waterfront Science Experience Hall | 2023

The Waterfront Science Experience Hall | Yan Chen

The overall shape of the traditional Chinese wishful shape, full of the whole embroidery source of the river waterfront project in the follow-up …
(Read more at TITAN Innovation Awards)

Yan Chen

Yan Chen is an esteemed expert in architectural creative design. She earned her bachelor's degree from the prestigious Chongqing University of Architecture and a master's from Anglia Ruskin University in the UK. Her education has honed her professional skills and fueled her passion for creative design.

Read more about this interview with Gabriel Jones from the United States, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 TITAN Innovation Awards.