Ben Wu is one of the most high-profile interior designers in China: as the founder of Hong Kong based W. DESIGN (Hong Kong) and W+S DECO GROUP, he has spearheaded interiors for the departure lounge at Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport, JW Marriott Beijing and the Portman House Jian Ye Li historic redevelopment project in Shanghai.
What is your most treasured attribute?
Who are your art, architecture and design idols?
Shitao [a landscape painter of the early Qing Dynasty] and Zhang Daqian, Peter Zumthor, Alexander McQueen.
What was the first piece of art you bought?
A work by Zhang Quan, a contemporary Chinese artist.
Who is your favourite artist? Ma Yuan, an artist of the Song Dynasty.
What do you collect?
Contemporary ink works and installation art.
What is your favourite design brand?
Baxter, the Italian furniture brand.
Where is the best design in the world?
The karst landform of Cappadocia in Turkey is among the most magnificent and unique creations of nature. My favourite work of architecture is the Caplutta Sogn Benedetg (Saint Benedict chapel) in Graubünden, Switzerland, which was designed by Peter Zumthor.
What is the most challenging project you have undertaken?
Furnishings for the ‘Ming shi guo ji’ real estate project in Dalian in Liaoning Province, in 2003. The client had a budget of only 500 yuan per square metre and I had to maintain a level of quality and aesthetic appeal within those limits, which was really tricky.
And most exciting?
The Portman Holdings project in Shanghai. [American architect] John Portman is a great master and someone I greatly admire, and I was very honoured to be able to collaborate with John Portman & Associates, his architectural firm. This was also the first time a client required us to adopt expressions of the East in our designs.
What is your favourite material?
Natural materials such as copper, leather and stone.
Why do you incorporate birds, animals, trees and planet, into many of your works?
I would love everyone to pay more attention to the relationship between man and nature. How to live with every being on earth with limited resources is something we should all think about.
What is your greatest achievement?
I have two adorable daughters.
Read more at wdesign.hk. With thanks to the China Design Centre
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