Founders’ Letter | The Voice of Asian Designer Furniture

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September 30, 2020
Mavis Zhou
When I think of Living In Design’s origins, it didn’t really start with me.

Both Wilfrid and I may have founded this collaborative space, but it was the people I met along my travels amidst the porcelain capital of the world, Jingdezhen, that planted the seed in my mind. During this trip, I met a young woman named Emily. Like many women growing up in Asia, it was expected of her to find a run of the mill job before settling down. To say she went against the grain is an understatement. Her love for design drove her to leave her home at only 16, to open her own small studio creating elegant tableware.

It was not long after that I met, Qiang Zen, he had been a successful Marketing Director for some time. A job that would have kept him financially stable for life, but after having his first child, he decided to leave it all behind. He started his own furniture design studio, from a pure desire to build a beautiful home for his family with his bare hands.

I have met countless faces who recount a similar tale of unwavering dedication to such whims. I’ve been fortunate enough to have witnessed first-hand the incredibly stunning hand made pieces these creators have dreamed up. Each of them armed to the teeth with passion and love that is rarified. Living In Design is born out of their vision, and we exist to celebrate them.

Without these craftsmen, the world we are ‘living in’ would be just a bit more lacklustre.

My travels unmasked an abundance of unique furniture from around Asia. I was struck that I hadn’t seen anything of the likes make its way to Europe. It was clear to me that both I and the western world had been missing out. Being based in London, I know there is a wealth of great design and plenty of folks looking for unique home items that exude artisanal craftsmanship. It was a no brainer to now make space for Asia’s talents, delivering them to the doorstep of British homes.

This is our bridge, our way to support more creative Eastern designers by making their voices heard. They aren’t just anybody, and they aren’t nobodies, they are part of an obscure elite whose voices can often go unheard, until now of course. Our rarified collective of artists embrace the distinctive and fuse storytelling within their creations. Rich in history and culturally noteworthy, these pieces represent an amalgam of eastern sensibilities and modern avant-garde, with the kind of handiwork that calls out to be touched.

Take our Moonlake Table by 12h. This multifunctional coffee table encompasses intriguing dualities. Made with white marble nestled into a carbon steel hourglass base, with a touch it illuminates the tabletop. A thoughtfully multifunctional furnishing that is reminiscent of the moon’s effervescent nature reflected in calm waters. Jing’s reclaimed Ship Wood Collection too embodies metamorphosis as a way of life. This series of dining chairs and tables embrace the naturally occurring divots that have formed within the wood over its lifetime. As its centrepiece, the rivets found embedded in the wood that once made this a seaworthy timber. Breathing second life into an already storied existence.

Many of the Asian designers that we are championing have had works featured in magazines like AD and Forbes. They hold awards like the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize but are still largely unseen. With us, it’s simple, they can unleash their dreams unto the world by focusing on creating, while we handle the rest.

But it’s you, the visually hungry who complete the circle. Our buyers are those who love to be in control, revel in being a perfectionist and aren’t afraid to be painfully exact. We find a curious joy in those who will email us 20 times over finding the right fabric.

After all, we know the torture of wanting something seemingly unobtainable. This is the trove you seek.

We make owning functional and charismatic far-east furniture painless by offering a full-service format. It’s as straightforward as knowing what you want, and we’ll shield you from the undertakings of the logistical side of things, delivering your pieces straight to their new home.

It’s this beautiful ecosystem of artistic expression of both artist and lover of beguiling things, that has made Living in Design what it is. We ourselves have become a home for striking objects and homeware that transcend seasonal trends. A haven to continuously push boundaries of interior design and eclipse the status quo. Beautifully authentic and genuinely distinct. There’s not one piece within our collection that doesn’t have a story to tell, and that’s by design.

Mavis and Wilfrid, Co-Founders of Living In Design

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