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From Yuhang Rong Design Library

Updated: Dec 16, 2019

Last April, Salone Satellite awarded me with a design residency at the Rong Design Library in China. After months of organizing and trying to align schedules, I finally set foot in the middle kingdom (fun fact: the word China translated literally from mandarin, means middle kingdom) in November. It's been a week since I've been back in Milan, and before I forget the incredible experience that I had, I decided to document it and share it to all of you.


The Village

Rong Design Library is set in a village called QinShan, a small town two hours away from Hangzhou. It is a rapidly developing rural area filled with rice fields and lush mountains, and tranquil lakes. Fruits and vegetables are grown from the backyards of the villagers. Everything is extremely fresh.



Rong Design Library

This is the external facade of the Rong Design Library. The library was originally an old theater that was about to collapse. The structure which consists of an old wooden frame

and a mud wall was preserved during restoration.

In 2017, PINWU Design Studio and Yuhang Government in Hangzhou, China, took the initiative to restore the Dong Wu theater and transform it into a library which would house an archive of handicraft materials from all over China. Each month, they host guest designers to deconstruct the materials and use traditional Chinese handicraft and techniques to create contemporary design.

Zhang Lei and Jovana’s home

On my third day in the village, I received an invitation from Zhang Lei to have tea at their home. Zhang Lei, together with his wife Jovana, is one of the founders of PINWU studio. Their home is an old Chinese farm house that was restored. It is furnished with furniture designed by their studio over the years.

In the photo you can see my assistant Dali, Irene who is another resident designer like me, and Jovana. This photo was taken a week before Jovana gave birth to a beautiful baby boy named Mango.


The Process

During the month long design residency, I was introduced to Chinese traditional handicrafts and materials. I also had the opportunity to visit differ