Let’s return to the forest,
Return to the free land of thought,
And return to nature itself.
This is a concept of luxury redefined
The motivation of Suyuan comes from a sense of responsibility. Before the age of 30, we pursue a design that looks good; after the age of 30, we want to do something really valuable to people. The design of Suyuan is ahead of the public’s aesthetics, but I believe that as long as we adhere to the high standard of aesthetic output, it will surely bring far-reaching impact on the design itself and people’s aesthetics in the future. Suyuan insists on an aesthetic exploration that emphasizes the inner spirit of Chinese culture, rather than an external style. This requires the continuous perfection of our inner self-cultivation and the gradual perfection of our external presentation.
----by Wu Wei
Wu Wei was Design Director of Founder Group. In 2011, he established Suyuan Brand in Beijing Caochangdi Art District, committing to furniture and other durable objects as the carrier to inherit the beautiful, meaningful and eternal design.
- Red Spot Design Award Winner
- Invited Project Tutor, Royal College of Art, UK
- Top Ten Outstanding Youth in China’s Design Industry in 2013
- Outstanding Youth Leaders of China-US Youth Leaders Forum in 2013
- One of 25 craftsmen in CCTV’s Handicraft column in 2014
- Swedish Wood Furniture Project Designer in 2015
- Invited Speech Designer for the Open Course of Peking University Hall in 2016
Wu Wei knows wood. He is the founder of Suyuan which is a highly acclaimed independent furniture brand. He is also a versatile, enthusiastic carpenter and award-winning designer.
Wu Weis’s design works have a strong traditional impression and combine classical technology with contemporary aesthetics. In order to pay tribute to the master craftsman, his works presented to the contemporary audience are a re-integration of classical elements of the design, showing a quiet, comfortable and simple style. He uses furniture to tell a story. The origin of his design works is his wit, flexibility and Chinese traditional elements.
Like many woodworkers, Wu Wei respects the characteristics of wood and calls it “emotional and living material”, so it is especially worth making by hand. In fact, Suyuan is one of the few independent brands that still retain a large number of pure manual processing links in their furniture products. “Handcrafting reflects the spirit of the designer most directly,” he said.
When dealing with wood, Wu Wei describes his idea as “thinking with hands and feeling with heart”. You will find that he conveys his concept as “Wuwei (letting things take their own course which is a Taoist concept of human conduct”. “Wuwei” means a state of being, that is, our actions are in harmony with the nature of the universe. It may not be a coincidence that the name of this talented designer has the same pronunciation as the concept of inaction.
FT: What do you appreciate most about traditional Chinese architectures and their design elements? And what inspiration do they bring to your design?
Wu Wei: What inspires me is that the Chinese artistic conception, not concrete architectures and their design elements. This kind of artistic conception makes me slow down in the fast-paced age so that I can meditate to think my life; let me know the art in the leisure time and experience the existence value under the situation of “nothing”, relaxing myself. And all these feelings can be penetrated into product design to create meaningful and lasting beauty which is concise and special in details. In a word, the Chinese artistic conception can be expressed by design.