Interview with Zhao Xiang Zhi, Director of Zhaoxiangzhi Design Studio, China

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Zhao Xiang Zhi

Zhao’s fondness in industrial design allows him to reach a state of immersion in the whole design process, creating new concepts with his vision.

Interview with the 2021 MUSE Design Awards Winner - Zhao Xiang Zhi

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

I have a lot of incredible achievements. From China to Germany, to France and to Italy, I have won almost all large awards in terms of industrial design. I have also broken the Guinness World Record for the youngest winner of A Design Awards. In fact, I suppose I am the youngest winner of all awards, but I have applied for only one of the world records.

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

I am fond of industrial design because, as I said before, I specialize in it. I feel that I am in a state of immersion in the whole design process, from doing general product research and competitive analysis to sketching, modeling, proofing or doing some experimental design.

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

During my time at school, I used my spare time to establish the DIST design studio and led DIST to win the Top 50 of the most innovative potential companies in the 2019 Youth Innovation Conference.

My design won several awards such as Red Dot Award, IAI Design Award, K Design Award, A Design Award, Paris DNA Design Award, European Design Award, Alibaba Design Able Person Award, China Power Equipment Association Award, Gemsand Jewelry Trade Association of China Design Talent Award, China Marine Creative Design Competition, Hebei Province Cultural and Creative Design Competition and many other domestic and foreign design awards.

I was selected as the future star by Shanghai International Design Week, and my designed works were invited to participate in the opening exhibition of Xiamen Red Dot Museum and the A Design Award Permanent Exhibition and other exhibitions.Many of my articles have been recorded in journals and yearbooks, and many of my designs have been granted patents.In 2020, I was selected into the "Cure the Future" design co-creation plan sponsored by the Red Dot Award from nearly 2500 contestants.

4What does “design” mean to you?

At present, I reckon that there are only two kinds of industrial design. One is the design with mass production as the goal, and the other is the experimental design with forward-looking as the primary premise.

In China, industrial design pays more attention to the design with mass production as the goal, because it is more suitable for the application in future work. Based on this, my strength is biased towards the former design. However, I hope that I can try more possibilities. So, in recent years, I have prepared some experimental designs, such as designs with small audiences (special target groups, such as babies or patients with a particular disease), empathetic designs, or cross-designs of new materials.

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

As for my future direction, in fact, I have also thought about it. I argue that I will make a more subdivided development in the future, because industrial design is an interdisciplinary discipline. Therefore, if you want to be at the top of the industry, you must focus on a certain direction, such as interaction, structure, appearance, or material.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

I think there is not a clear boundary in determining a good or bad industrial design because it depends on the consumers. The good design in the 60-year-old group may be a bad design for the younger group.

7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.

For fashion design, I am not limited to clothes, but also good at jewelry, and luxury tableware. As for the creation of works, I am prone to use the elements extracted Chinese style.

Meanwhile, I also focus on the environmental protection of production and materials. China had been a worldwide herald on aesthetics from the Tang Dynasty which started 1400 years ago to the Song Dynasty which began 700 years ago.

During that period, the style elements not only included the Chinese dragon, phoenix, and large area or red in general cognition but also included some shapes, textures, and colors which looked still fashionable even in the present perspective.

8Tell us about your design process.

My inspiration never comes from a sudden whim. I don’t believe that there is a design that can be made with a pat on the head. I deem that the inspiration of really good design is the product of constant thinking and experience.

A good design that may occur after continuous trial and error in the early stage is somewhat similar to the qualitative change caused by quantitative change, and since this product often appears only in an instant, many people regard it as a whim.

9Congratulations! 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?

I have taken part in a lot of competitions because I regard them as an ability test. Because judges of the competition are famous designers or well-known scholars in the industry, their measurements of design have a certain reference value. By doing so, you can roughly measure whether your design level has reached a higher level by taking part in such activities.

Besides, there are a great number of contestants in every competition. If your design can stand out from these contestants in multiple competitions, it can also prove your overwhelming strength.

10What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?

Industrial design is what I am interested in. Except for that, I am also glad to take part in robot contest, such as a VEX project. What’s more, I am doing a 5 km running exercise every day. I like this exercise very much. After a little tiredness for the first two kilometers, I could feel a kind of mental relaxation for the remaining three.

11What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?

In my point of view, I am the strongest of all my peers in terms of industry design. I believe that I have generated fundamental knowledge for industry design since I became interested in industry design five years ago. I enjoy having been immersed in industry design in the past five years.

Winning Entries

HYENA motorcycle for extreme environment| 2020

Interview with Zhao Xiang Zhi, Director of Zhaoxiangzhi Design Studio, China

HYENA is a special motorcycle applying to extreme environments, such as disaster rescue, material searching, ecological...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Morning Dew| 2020

Interview with Zhao Xiang Zhi, Director of Zhaoxiangzhi Design Studio, China

The design of “morning dew " ring focuses on the material, which is made of regenerated gold and silver by...
(read more at MUSE Design Awards)

Zhaoxiangzhi Design Studio

Zhaoxiangzhi Design Studio is an industrial design studio based in China.