From Concept to Space: Combining Oriental design with modern aesthetics

Ben Wu, a space designer from Shanghai, China, believes that the significance of design lies in its contemporaneity. Contemporaneity means questioning the existing standards and generating some new understandings. Not only is it different from traditional Chinese elements, but also from traditional western elements, and it creates a brand-new language and a brand-new aesthetic with contemporary characteristics.

He believes that only by deeply understanding one's own nation's cultural characteristics and historical mission of the culture can one generate insight, understanding and aesthetics when seeking inspiration from tradition, and embody one's unique creativity in his works.

A view of Ben Wu's design. /CGTN Photo

A view of Ben Wu's design. /CGTN Photo

Wu has absorbed the idea of traditional Chinese landscape painting, which depicts a scenery that you may gaze or even wander and live in. Compared to Western paintings which use focus perspective to depict real size, Chinese paintings have added the dimension of time into the expression of space.

For example, in the concept of the classical Chinese garden design, the garden constructs a miniature universe. Walking through different traffic lines, one can feel different environments that are formed by different layers of space and time.

A view of one of Ben Wu's designs. /CGTN Photo

A view of one of Ben Wu's designs. /CGTN Photo

Wu introduced the Oriental aesthetics concept of "partition" into his design and even made further interpretations. To reflect the element of uncertainty emphasized in Oriental garden design, he uses partition to break the space but in the same time retain a structural connection between the broken space.

In the 1990s, modern design in China basically follows the Western trends. With the development of Chinese society, people start to think about expressing themselves. They hope to reflect their own spiritual values in space, and the expression that reflects Oriental thought become a trend.

Wu said that great design is soul-touching. China is undergoing rapid social development and it is important to keep up with the ever-changing trends. Traditional culture is like a good mirror, reflecting the past and present into the future. Traditional wisdom continually inspires people towards new ways of expression.

Editor: Wu Yan

Copy editor: Moosa Abbas

Cover image designer: Du Chenxin

Executive producer: Zhang Xiaohe

Producer: Si Nan

Supervisor: Zhang Shilei