From the presentation of over 100 objects worldwide, we show 13 by Chinese designers
Product design with natural stone was a major theme at Xiamen Stone Fair 2023 (June 05 – 08). In Hall A1, there was the show “Stone Infinite“ with over 100 objects from all over the world, which offered a worldwide overall picture on the state of the art. Particularly noteworthy was the quality of the objects that came from China and were shown: they were real product design, i.e. objects for everyday use that can also be produced in larger quantities.
The curator of the show was FEMO Wong (Femo is the family name), who has his own design studio in Shenzhen, and he is not only a successful designer but also a passionate collector of design objects. At the show, he displayed a small selection of his collection.
Via email, he explained to us what the core ideas of product design are for him: “Those objects must have a modern design that can be industrialized and mass-produced, must have practical functions, must be minimalist, and highlight the processing technology of stone itself.“
In this way, he vehemently rejects overblown ideas, as well as the design attempts of some sculptors who want to peel their object out of a solid block. The reason for Femo Wong’s rejection is that such objects are usually much too heavy and thus not functional, and as a consequence, they cannot be sold.
To give an overview of the state of affairs in China, Femo Wong has kindly provided us with renderings of some objects from there. They were on display as part of “Stone Infinite.“
Femo runs a design studio in Shenzhen, an industrial city across the river from Kong Kong. He has won numerous awards worldwide for his furnishings. He works not only with natural stone, but with all other materials. In the fall of 2023, he will be the curator of the major design show at the CIFF fair in Shanghai. In 2024, he plans to attend IMM Cologne in Cologne and Salone del Mobile in Milan.
His collection of design objects from around the world includes 900 chairs, as well as more than 2,000 tables, lamps, etc. “My goal is to collect 10,000 pieces of chairs and build the largest chair design museum in the world,“ he writes to us. The Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany, is his model.
Stone Infinite is an initiative of the Xiamen Design Fair, with which it wants to attract designers as visitors and open up new markets for natural stone. The show was held for the 5th time in 2023.
For first two editions from 2018, Peter Becker of Stone-Ideas.com had created the concept in cooperation with Christabel Zhang and Marsha Tsai of the fair. From the beginning, the focus was on functional and international objects: at that time, 5 designers from all over the world and 5 more from China were invited each year to show their objects in Xiamen and present their concepts at the fair’s congress. We have linked below to our first report from then.
This time there was an innovation: in the run-up to the show, Femo Wong and the fair had invited Chinese designers to submit new product ideas for natural stone design. The best were selected, produced by exhibiting companies, and exhibited as prototypes.
Stone Infinite (Chinese)
“Pavlof“ floor lamp. Designer: Benwu Studio (China). Brand: Mamamoon (China). Year: 2017. Dimensions: L: 310 × W: 310 × H: 1720 mm. Description: The naked lamp post stands upright on a marble base, where light and landscape reach a stillness of nature. Inspired by the observation of the Pavlof Volcano, a famous and still active double-caldera volcano in Alaska, USA – lava shoots up into the air, sometimes in plumes of ash that slowly drift across the North Pacific Ocean, and the divine power of nature is revealed in this intense movement. The marble base figuratively absorbs the silhouette of the volcano’s mountain range. In contrast, the dynamics of the volcano’s eruption as it rises into the air and falls is expressed by the dynamic bends of the fiber-optic light columns.
“Enterprise“ lamp. Designer: Hongchao Wang (China). Brand: Benwu Edition (China). Year: 2023. Dimensions: Ø 294 × Ø 440 mm. Description: The Enterprise from Star Trek initially inspired the lamp, the ethereal glow of a ship traveling through space. The light that passes through the stone perfectly replicates this intriguing, pervasive light.
“Constant“ side table. Designer: Frank Chou (China). Brand: Frank Chou Collection (China). Year: 2018. Dimensions: L: 470 × W: 260 × H: 550 mm. Description: Constant Side Table has flashy sense of fashion because of the material collocation and unique structure design, practical and aesthetic. The structure is just its shape, leaving only a series of rounds and lines as a configuration element with a sense of constructivism. In addition, it also applies to flat packaging and easy transportation.
“Dafang“ floor lamp. Designer: LEEDARSON (China). Brand: LEEDARSON (China). Year: 2018. Dimensions: L: 490 × W: 580 × H: 650 mm. Description: Ancient Chinese philosophers perceived all things in heaven and earth with “heaven is round and earth is square“. LEEDARSON draws on oriental philosophies to illuminate the spiritual light of “Da Fang“ from the inside out. The waving of the wings extends the center axis to shine, and the moment the light is lit, the beauty of the tension and relaxation is illuminated.
“Ring“ portable lamp. Designer: Msol Studio (China). Brand: Msol (China). Year: 2022. Dimensions: Ø: 260 x H: 210. Description: Adhering to minimalist design thinking, the use of simple geometric forms of rings and columns to form the appearance of the product, natural stone and the product’s casual simplicity of the shape of the echo of the top of the leather and metal dots design balances the overall visual effect, so that the lamps and lanterns with a sense of fashion and inclusiveness.
“Half“ side table. Designer: Femo Wong (China). Brand: FEMO WONG (China). Year: 2022. Dimensions: L: 360 × W: 360 × H: 500 mm. Description: This side table is the result of the designer’s thorough understanding of the stone process. The raw material stone is turned into a cylinder by rope sawing and then cut by zigzag to form two equal parts opposite each other. While achieving zero waste of materials, it reflects the processing characteristics of the stone and the heaviness of stone distinguished from other materials. This design can be easily integrated into all kinds of environments, revealing the design core of simplicity and sustainability.
“Pisa“ side table. Designer: Femo Wong (China). Brand: FEMO WONG (China). Year: 2023. Dimensions: L: 320 × W: 472× H: 544 mm. Description: Named after the city’s famous building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the cylindrical table with its sloping edges achieves a striking visual effect through clever control of the center of gravity. The horizontal table top is CNC engraved to achieve its functionality while retaining visual integrity.
“Structural Clue“ side table. Designer: Peng Zeng (China) & Shiya Huang (China). Brand: BUZAO (China). Year: 2020. Dimensions: L: 360 × W: 380 × H: 380 mm. Description: The Structural Clue will re-state the marble and stainless steel within the BUZAO material system, about the cutting process that stands out from the difference in material personality, “distant similarity“ will be the only clue to reveal how the product departs from the concept of reality to build a digital landscape. The high popularity of CNC cutting technology carries the freedom of graphic combination of marble waterjet parquet and the vision of stainless steel to outline any precise shape. The basic pixel unit here serves as the overarching symbol of the sampling metaphor, depicting a narrative landscape of contextual colonization in the Internet age.
“Iceland“ coffee table. Designer: Xiaoyu Gu (China), Jialin Tan (China), Lisha Wan (China). Brand: Concept Design. Year: 2023. Dimensions: L: 1100 × W: 1100 × H: 350 mm. Description: The art of ice and snow is the beauty of ablation. The inspiration for this coffee table design is based on the fact that global temperatures are rising and icebergs are melting at an accelerating rate. The designer intends to present the image of floating icebergs in a minimalist and modern way through the combination of triangular white marble interlocking and glass tabletop.
“W“ side table. Designer: Peixin Li (China). Brand: AMY furniture (China). Year: 2023. Dimensions: L: 500 × W: 500 × H: 305 mm. Description: The sculpture coffee table designed by designer Peixin Li was initially considered to make the hard marble more visually approachable through lines and surfaces. The design adopts an up-and-down stretching sense, stretching the marble naturally into a W-feeling shape to form an organically changing W figure, which can be seen in different W shapes from different perspectives.
“Heng” candlestick. Designer: Jin Hui (China). Brand: Atelier Und (China). Year: 2021. Dimensions: L: L: 300 × W: 50（mm), M: : 180 × W: 50（mm), S: L: 110 × W: 40 (mm). Description: The process of burning a candle is the process of time passing, a process that is discovered because it upsets the balance. The candlestick is a candle utensil and a vessel that can see time.
“Sanctuary”. Designer: Liu Xiao (China). Brand: THESHAW (China). Year: 2018. Dimensions: L: 150 × W: 150 × H: 430 mm. Description: Inspired by Étienne-Louis Boullée’s design for Newton’s Memorial Hall in 1783, the circular dome with its starry cut-outs symbolizes the immortality of Newton’s spirit for posterity, but it was only a draft and never built. Liu Xiao regrets the work of this visionary and wants to use this light as an inspiration to present what he considers a spiritual place. The light source is reflected by the mirrored metal and projected all around to create an illusionary halo, which is a redesign of the light source in addition to the exterior design.
“Stack“ side table. Designer: Frank Chou (China). Brand: Frank Chou Collection (China). Year: 2018. Dimensions: L: 320 × W: 320 × H: 550 mm. Description: The Stack Side Table is composed of irregular geometric blocks, with rectangles stacked on top of each other in different directions, showing a sense of volume like an “architectural concept.“ The side table is made of natural marble, full of installation art, simple, generous, flexible, and calm.
(11.09.2023, USA: 09.11.2023)