Design brief by

Chelsia Lau

About Chelsia Lau

Chelsia was among the Top 40 World’s Excellent Females in 2011 by New York Times and U+ Weekly, 25 of Hong Kong’s Most Inspiring and Influential Women by the South China Morning Post in 2012, World’s Outstanding Chinese Designer in 2006, and One of the top ten secret people who will change your world by AutoWeek magazine. She graduated from Lee Wai Lee Technical Institute in Hong Kong, and studied at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

Prior to her Chief Designer role at Strategic Concepts Group, Chelsia led the design team that localised Ford products in China from 2008-2011, including the redesign one of Ford's bestsellers, The Fiesta. She also led the design of Ford Explorer in 2006, and was instrumental in designing the Ford EcoSport in 2004, a small-size SUV for South America, which subsequently won the Brazilian Automotive Press Best Sport Utility award.

Design Brief by Chelsia Lau

Introduction and Background

‘In the global context of urbanization, societal changes and intensified concerns over sustainability, we are shifting from an era of excess to embracing ‘Less is More’. From acquiring ‘disposable’ furniture to appreciating essential, quality living. As people realise the freedom that simplicity and efficiency give us, design should visually communicate this ‘lightness’ ... this sense of being nimble.

‘The piece we create shouldn’t just provide delight as a functional object, but embody the possibility that thoughtful design can create a deep, emotional bond with the user and become a vital part of their life. It should lend itself to personalisation, different configurations, ambience and moods. Guiding principles:

  • Dialogue between positive and negative space. light and shadow,
  • Yin & Yang
  • Visual lightness: purity, speed, rhythm, fluidity
  • Mystery, layering, clever/surprise factors
  • Ingenuity, purposeful, precision and superb craftsmanship
  • Timeless elegance, poetic beauty
Furniture Typology | Key Features | Materials

A special chair that draws me in. I can relax in it and enjoy calm, distilled moments. When I’m feeling lethargic, it refreshes me with its energy. It compels me to read and pursue inspiration; whether I’m reading art, philosophy, history, or even something trivial, it helps me to think, to reflect, to contemplate.

It creates a space I can get lost and daydream in. It has to be very comfortable. It enhances my sense of well-being and ease. It creates memories ... of an afternoon alive with possibility ... of happy times with family and friends around me. Whether I’m having a sunny or stormy day, it remains constant. It should be timeless. As the years pass, it will remain fresh. It will be passed down as an heirloom. It’s no longer an object, it has a soul and reflects my personality.

What I imagine is the very antithesis of a sofa or day-bed (these forms induce laziness and loafing - habits that are physically and spiritually unhealthy). Consider, as historical reference, the opium couch. It was intended to be a platform for inspired thought, conversation and enjoyment. What might a ‘new breed’ of opium couch look like?

Use genuine materials that age beautifully. Natural materials are charming, personal, sustainable, warm.

Design Teams