Interview with Yung Fang Chen, SPU Design international, Taiwan

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Yung Fang Chen

Yung Fang believes interior design is a science, where you can turn aesthetics into objectives and making it predictable.

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Yung Fang Chen

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

I worked in production areas for several years before my first interior design. I have master degree of law and architecture, which help me a lot by design.

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

I believe good interior design makes people happy like other gorgeous manufacture products. On one special occasion I meet my working partner, who is an interior designer and then my design career has begun.

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

We located in Taiwan-Taichung, focusing on show rooms for estate and private resident design. Since lot of our customers are looking for a good retirement life and high-quality house designs, we specialize in human-friendly environment especially for the elderly. Our goal is not only to provide customers with quality interior decoration, but also to provide a full-age design.

4What does “design” mean to you?

Interior design is a science. We take art, psychology, physics, and physiology in consideration by design and turn aesthetics into objective and predictable. Before our design we build up an index about friendly environment by age and use general design as basis. Design is not a feeling about atmosphere but an empirical rule of thumb, which basis on science.

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

We use aesthetics, function, ergonomics, ventilation, friendliness, etc. as the basis for analysis of design works. Design is not just a special work, but a high-level product which can satisfy the most customers. We all hope our customers will have their house forever and generation to generation, but that would not be the reality. I hope that design is not only to the satisfaction of the current client, but also to the next owner of the house. In this way, such a design can be preserved in the most environmentally friendly way.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

In some works, in order to enrich the vision, the space is cut into small blocks, and the complexity of the space is formed. The complicated space makes people feel uncomfortable and inconvenient, even if it looks very beautiful.

To me, a good design should be spatial, ergonomic, suitable for the user’s age and physical state, and can improve the user’s mental state. I think designers have a social responsibility to make our world a better place.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

Taiwan is one of the most densely populated regions in the world. We often encounter the problem of limited planning space in cities. Furthermore, high urbanization has turned our cities into concrete jungles. How to make urban life close to nature is the main thing in our design.

We try to transform the mountains and forests of Taiwan into our designs, and integrate regional climate and customer preferences into the design.

8Tell us about your design process.

We use indicators to design customers’ houses, especially based on their age, living habits, preferences and physical conditions. Use the above factors to form the main elements of the design. Then, review which factor is not satisfied and correct it. Finally, we form the aesthetics by adjusting the details.

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

Taiwan is an island-shaped area. Unlike mainland countries, our climate is humid and highly culturally diverse. The last generation did not accept much western culture and maintained traditional customs- respect the gods, the mother earth, and the nature. The low birthrate has made the elders gradually become the majority ethnic group in society, and become a major member of maintaining social value. The elders have gone through the age of turning agriculture into industry. And they yearn for the natural beauty of the past agricultural era. They think that Taiwan is the beautiful island of Formosa, but today’s urban development gives up many good things in the past. Unlike young people who like new things, elders feel important to how to rediscover the spirit of life in our tradition, and they believe this spirit is the basis for maintaining social progress.

Our design is also based on this idea and creates new things on this basis.

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?

To be a winner is our greatest honor. We are very grateful to the organizer for accepting our work and appraising it highly. This award is of great significance to our team. It not only supports our design philosophy, but also makes our design visible to others. Thanks again to the organizer and judges for their support and encouragement.

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?

This work is typical, and it represents the main preferences of the elders. This work also represents our traditional spirit, and has been successful in commercial purposes as a show room. It not only shows the characteristics of the area in chromatics, ergonomics, spatial layout and atmosphere, but also solves the problems of future aging society.

12What was the biggest challenge with this project?

Elderly living in the city is a problem to be solved, especially for the elders who live in a small space in a tall building.

First, the house needs to be maintained for decades after completion. Second, it is necessary to keep a lot of storage in the space, and reserve space for assistive devices for the disabled.

Therefore, we chose a clear, simple and open design, and provided high-contrast-color for the elders. This can avoid the wrong recognition of space by the elders in gray and black colors or the same color system.

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

The award is to support our design philosophy and support us to go further in design.

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

First of all, it is the customer's satisfaction and design approval. Furthermore, it should be the designer's contribution to society through the designer's ideas. Third, I personally think that it may be the respect and preservation of traditional values.

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

Our architectural design is different from other areas, especially it has a special space grammar with regional characteristics. Therefore, the interior design should be designed differently for this particularity. In addition, the subtropical climate and traditional positive values make people like spacious and bright spaces.

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

Interior design is not only aesthetics, but also the sum of science. For me, interior design will face the problem of limited space in the future, especially in my country. How to provide comfort and convenience in a small space is the main problem.

Furthermore, how to be safe on high floors, especially to avoid fires, earthquakes and other disasters is important in cities. Also, the positive influence of indoor and outdoor plants on the interior space of high-rise buildings is important. In other words, interior designers are not only estheticians but also professional technicians, especially in life safety and health.

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

Interior designers understand that their responsibility and contribution to society is a way to support the sustainability of design.

The design is not just special. It must show regional characteristics and social value.

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

The work of the MUSE Design Awards' winners is great.

19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.

Being a designer is the best, and I don’t like driving. It makes me miss many small incidents that happen around me.

20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

People's dislike of small things makes me see where design is inconvenient. Discovering the behavior patterns of different ages is the basis of our design.

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

I hope my design is perfect, but in fact it doesn’t seem to be the case.

22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?

Thanks again to the organizers and judges for their support. Due to my bad English, I hope you can understand.

Winning Entries

LOHAS | 2021

LOHAS | MUSE Design Awards

This case takes "universal design" and physiology of the elderly as the design criteria. Considering that most of the retired populations are...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

SPU Design international

SPU Design international is an award-winning interior design studio based in Taiwan.