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How I collect: Liu Shan

The Chinese collector discusses his approach to acquiring art, and the essential elements of the modern scholar’s studio

With 20 years of collecting experience under his belt, Liu Shan has developed a deeply personal approach to acquiring art. ‘When I collect a piece, I inevitably think of its place in my space,’ he explains. ‘Will it be in conflict with other works in the collection?’

For Liu, that space is his studio, which he has filled with a carefully curated selection of works from Asia and the West. ‘The concept behind the décor is the mix and match of Eastern and Western cultures,’ Liu says.

Liu explains that, for him, this delicate balance begins with classical Chinese furniture. ‘Ming dynasty pieces such as desks and painting tables should form the key elements of a modern study,’ he notes. ‘Scholar’s rocks are also essential elements. The rock is a micro representation of mountains, through which scholars can see the wider world.’

Ultimately, though, it is the combination of ancient pieces with new that results in a truly contemporary space. ‘There should be a sense of modernity in the design of a living space,’ the collector says. Above all, though, ‘The modern scholar’s studio should be user-oriented. From the perspective of interior design, that means a space that is rich but not cluttered, simple but not plain.’