Ask any designer (or anyone for that matter) and they will tell you that inspiration strikes in the least likely of places. For contemporary Chinese furniture designer, Frank Chou, he counts video games as his seemingly unlikely method for creative spark and relaxation.
Not only did we learn this when we sat down with Chou at this year’s Maison & Objet show, the bi-annual show in Paris filled to the brim with designs from the world’s best to up and coming names, he also shared the journey of being a young designer and committing to his focus. Chou was one of the six recipients of the Maison & Objet Rising Star awards, a prestigious nod given to the brightest talent in that year’s selected country (2019 centered around Chinese designers). Ready to learn more about Chou, his process, and why you might just want think about picking up that game controller? Keep reading.
Tell us more about your early interest in design and what led you to pursue it?
"Personally, for me, I am interested in all creative areas. It's not only about design. I am really interested in music, moves, computer games — it’s all interconnected. I’ve always been interested in changing something and to use this change to connect with people. I entered in this particular industry and I feel I am very lucky because here I found myself and the energy that I put into it."
Was there ever a moment you ever thought about channeling that energy into something else or was it always furniture design for you?
"Well, I’m just starting out and still young. First we really just want to survive, and in this industry it really helps to practice and keep asking what exactly is real design? What is real inspiration and what is the meaning behind this? And, of course one way is to take it step by step and welcome more opportunity. Who knows, maybe one day I will produce music or movies?"
As you mentioned, you are a new studio and relatively new designer. In those early days, when you are first starting out, what do you feel are the things that can make or break your business?
"The real important thing is to remember that life is sometimes not easy. Believing this and knowing to put your entire heart into what you do. In the beginning, you are really just learning to survive. It’s not only about the financial issues, it’s also about family and the uncertain future. It’s about how using your judgement and testing yourself. When those testing moments come, you will find that point and drive from inside."
You have won one of the Rising Star awards here at Maison & Objet. Can you share more what the experience here and the mentorship program has been like?
"We are very lucky and humbled to have this opportunity. We have to have clear minds to work even harder to continue this momentum. Only after that, can someone really take something away from you. As a designer, the award is just the beginning. But, what is shown here and how its shown and everything you put behind your skills, in the end, that’s what matters. We have to continue this."
You talk a lot of about clearing space in your mind and also working really hard for the things you want in life — do you have any methods or practices you use to apply these principles?
"I love music and to watch movies. But, one of the interesting things I do, is I like to really play computer games. I find myself really relaxed and able to clear my mind when I do this."