With their work among the finalists of this year's VIVID Awards, I met Yan of YanDesign Studio who is not new to accolades, having had their work acquired into illustrious collections such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum. After spending 24 years working as a designer of car interiors for global automotive brands, in the USA, Italy, China and Australia, Yan Huang established her studio in 2015 "to design things I love, utilise my skills in styling, product development and to create beautiful things that are desirable, well crafted and highly functional." Thanks to a BA in Industrial Design and a BA in Fine Art, Yan has a very well trained eye for both functionality and beauty, and her range of items easily identify with both Design and Sculpture. "I call the things I design functional sculptures... Minimalist with flair."
With an eclectic range on offer, YanDesign shows a distinct sculptural take on any of their originally designed furniture, lighting and homeware objects. Indeed their range is a mixture of one-offs and limited edition bespoke pieces, for example, the Embrace Chair, a "limited edition of 8 functional sculptures".
Tell us why you opt for limited editions:
"I don’t want the limitation and constraint of mass production to affect my design. They are the labor of love, involving hundreds of hours of design and surface refinement, sculpturing, casting and finishing. I’m lucky to have automotive sculptor Mark O’Reilly to work with. He makes it possible for my vision to come true."
Do you connect with other designers?
"Because I use different materials and finishes, I work with craft people in different fields to build my designs. But I always build full size models myself first, to achieve the right size, proportion and usability. I’m also closely connected with many talented designers here in Australia; we exchange ideas and share our contacts and suppliers. It’s important to support each other."
What is it that sparks creating something new?
"I pay close attention to daily living and design new things for solving problems. I’m always sketching new ideas, whether walking in a park or visiting an art gallery, I’m the happiest person when I create. I draw my inspiration from nature; it has the perfect solution to every challenge and it continues to evolve with the changing environment. Also I like experimenting with different materials... at the moment I’m playing with steel mesh, I’m intrigued by the layering effect, it’s soft to work with yet firm to hold its shape. I plan to launch a group of mesh lighting later in the year... stay tuned."
What in your opinion defines 'good design'?
"Line and surface... material and finishes are important in my design. Form and function are one, good design must be stylish and highly functional, desirable and intuitive to use.
I’m interested in objects that break boundaries in category and conventions. Why can’t a piece of furniture be a sculpture as well? I want to create objects that engage the user and enable positive experiences."
With all of their collections made to order, the YanDesign team offer their creativity to also create custom solutions to meet specific needs for both residential and commercial projects. You can visit and see more of their design online at yandesign.com.au.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from: Interior Design For Profit is now available online.