A Bavarian and a South Tyrolean guy met in Shanghai, and they gradually fell in love because of the common passion for motorbike so they ran away together for a big adventure back to Europe… Oh no no no, that’s not the real story, just my fantasy, I always joke about it with them, hahaha.
So here comes the real story: In my design firm, I was working with Matthias the Bavarian guy from Germany and Chris the South Tyrolean guy from Italy. After few years living in Shanghai, they thought their adventure in China had to come to an end, so they came up with a creative idea for going back home – a journey to the west from China to Europe by motorbike.
Before they left, I visited their motorbike workshop couple times, it was super exciting to see how they did the modifications to the bikes. Think big, get your hands dirty, do prototype for testing, make modifications, get real connections to the process, and make things happen… and also most importantly have fun! That’s how they prepared it. It’s going to be a trip of the lifetime, and I am so happy I can be a very small part of it by documenting it.
Matthias and Chris are on the road already since end of July 2014, and now stuck in Uzbekistan temporarily because one of the bike needs some repair. They are waiting for some parts sending from Taobao in China. The famous Taobao… well, I used to joke with them that they should get a sponsorship from Taobao before, haha you see Alibaba just listed its shares on the New York Stock Exchange few days ago, a good chance to propose them to enter Europe:D maybe…hahaha
Helena Albrechtsson is definitely an explorer, she left home from Sweden for adventures in Asia 8 years ago, and currently working as the general manager of a German branding & industrial design agency called WILDDESIGN based in Shanghai. Next month she will return to Sweden, back to the her root with her fiance and dog, also with lots of stories to tell.
Writing this post is very special for me, as I have worked in WILDDESIGN for almost 3 years before. The company has an unique charm, down to earth with the explorer spirit. I had lots of good memories there and I have learnt so much from working with the multidisciplinary team coming from different cultural background. Helena is a very open-minded leader and she believes creating a good life is similar to creating a good design – not just looks good on the outside but create a good user experience for yourself that makes you feel good on the inside. This time I got invited to her sweet apartment in Shanghai to find out more about her private life.
“I am a simple man” – this is what I overheard in Dryden Wells’s conversation to a student in his ceramic class, I think it has perfectly described his character in general.
Moving from America to China, only for one thing – ceramic art & design. Now Dryden is a professional ceramic artist based in Shanghai. He found himself in the realm of tactile, and his artwork follows his simplicity driven character in a sculptural and experimental way. Meanwhile, Dryden is also teaching at The Pottery Workshop on a regular basis sharing his great passion for ceramic to his students and guide them to find their own creative style.
By experiencing the class myself, I found it also very helpful for stress relief. The process of shaping clay by hands reflects your current mood, it allows you to slow down and gradually find out your hidden emotion. Clay is such an interesting medium which is flexible but easy to fall apart without enough care, it can become any form you want with enough patient and focus. I guess it is the same philosophy when it comes to dealing with life…
The following photos are showing Dryden’s recently installation artwork making.
Adrian Fu is a fashion/portrait photographer and running a photography studio called Air Studio based in Taipei. Last year I got the chance to visit the studio and luckily ran into a celebrity shoot. Adrian has a HR management education background, but he always has a photography dream. After he graduated from university, he went to assist a fashion photographer for 3 years before he became a solo photographer, and started his own studio working along with a lot of excellent photographers in Taipei. I could really feel the strong energy coming from the photography dream that day, and it got my blood up by hearing the flash light recharging beeping sound.
Meng’s Handmade Paper Studio is located in the Artist Village Taipei (台北宝藏岩国际艺术村). I remember I was visiting the village in a very bad weather condition and all the shop was closed, just when I was about to leave I saw a studio with lights on through the window and it looked so cozy. So I knocked on the door to ask for a hot tea. Mia Lee, the paper artist welcomed me and introduced me to all her paper world, it was such a nice surprise on a bad rainy day. Mia was once a design student and she knew that she always had a interest in paper making, so she went overseas to learn the skills in a paper factory and brought it back to Taiwan. Now she set up this fun studio to create all kinds of custom-made paper products/gifts and also run workshops to teach others.
Sometimes I have the craving to run away from home to somewhere totally fresh alone and get overwhelmed by different culture and lifestyle.This time I escaped from Shanghai to a remote area in west Yunnan province. I targeted at a well designed museum which I have read about before at several architecture blogs, I thought it would be interesting to see it in person.
The Gaoligong Museum of Handcraft Paper (云南高黎贡手工造纸博物馆), designed by a well-known Chinese architect Hua Li, located at the foot of Gaoligong Mountain, is next to a local village called LongShang Zhai. The village has a long history in traditional paper making, this type of fine and organic handcraft paper is perfect for Chinese traditional painting and calligraphy, also often use for tea packaging.
Living in an old lane house in French concession of Shanghai is one of my dream. The old apartment has a lot of story to tell, and living in it makes you become part of the story.
Yi Tseng, the Brand Marketing Director at Clarks shoes China, is living in one of those full-of-story apartment that I am dreaming of since 3 years ago when she jumped from Nike Taiwan to Shanghai. Yi described the place really makes her feel like home. This time I feel delighted that I got invited to her apartment to document her personal space.
Earlier this year I have made my way to Taipei visiting a very good friend of mine. As an ordinary mainland Chinese girl, Taipei was just a city name in the Taiwanese TV shows I watched when I was growing up, but this time it really came alive and amazed me in so many level, especially the local people. I was luckily introduced to a lot of creative people through my friend, they are all so open-mined and welcomed my visit. Andrew Chen, a celebrity fashion stylist/designer in Taipei, is one of the people I met from the trip. His design was worm by many A-list celebrities in Asia, such as A-Mei, S.H.E, Elva Hsiao… Now he is sharing some experience/thoughts and his personal space on One Eye Cat with us.