Designer Zhu Libiao (G-BILL) founded YiYan Space Design and is now its design director. This is the story about him and interior design.
Q: It’s been 10 years since you founded YiYan Space Design. Can you tell us how exactly you became an interior designer?
A: I like to draw ever since I was a kid. Back in college, I already knew what I wanted to do with my career.
I first started out as an intern for interior design, then I become a sale, and then I was a drafter. After that I did renderings, then I was officially an interior designer. Finally, I founded my own design company: YiYan Space Design. It was not smooth all the way. I got challenges as well as temptations, but I followed my heart after all. Project after project, I find fulfillment in interior design.
Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: My concept for design: Believing in the power of design, and elevating a space with design.
How can you elevate a space with design? In my opinion, there are seldom absolute rights and wrongs, yeses and nos, but only a fine balance. All successes come from the unity of the right time, place, and people. This is also true for interior design. It is a fine mechanism for success, I think it’s also the core of YiYan Space Design: matching.
“Matching” is to fine-tune a balance. It is closely connected with nature, history, time, and human behaviors. You can only realize the values of any space by fine-tuning the balance, this would require designers to observe if the space match with human behaviors, to the maximum extent. Choosing the most appropriate scheme will help elevate a space. The power of design is in that.
Q: How did you know about BuildMost?
A: I have heard about BuildMost platform before. But I knew BuildMost more officially from my partner in YiYan Space Design. I reckoned BuildMost is a platform with a lot of potentials after some getting-to-know.
We uploaded some of our design works to BuildMost. We expect to exchange ideas with peer designers on BuildMost in the future. We are also exploring design opportunities on BuildMost platform.
Q: Can you share one of your design works that is most representative?
A: I want to share our project “Whisky, Cocktail, Coffee (Marble Arch)”. It went much farther than I ever imagined. A lot of people knew YiYan Space Design and me through this project. This project embodies the meaning of “persistence”, which is a quality that I very much value.
Q: Why “persistence” is so important for you?
A: I knew two of the project owners, one from my last project, and another from a project five years back. Looking back, some of the larger projects that YiYan Space Design did are the results of word-of-mouth. They knew us through our design works. If we don’t persist in what we do, we wouldn’t be where we are now.
I still remembered that an agent for elevators had made appointments to meet me for months, we finally met and had a deal. There is another agent for tile products. We kept communication for two years. Finally, I have a huge project to cooperate with him, but then I found out he is no longer in the tile business.
“Persistence” is not that easy to achieve, I have always been proud of being persistent. If I would give any suggestions it would be if you keep doing what you do, persistence would reward you.
Q: Project “Whiskey, Cocktail, Coffee” is an award-winning project. Could you share how you did it?
A: This is a challenging project, in terms of both the design and the landing.
Firstly, we went a long way to persuade 6 shareholders of the project that this project would be the first cellar-style whiskey club in Foshan, China.
Then we had to turn our concept into a design by considering the commercial “matching” value, the psychological needs of young people being retro, personalized, cultural, and artsy, and the requirements for cooling, ventilation, fire protection, and sanitation.
When the design is out, we would have to persuade the construction team to land the project successfully, perfect every detail, strictly within the budget.
Soft lights with vintage bricks give out a retro look
YiYan Space Design丨Cellar of “Whiskey, Cocktail, Coffee”
Steel structure and wood structure form a vault, a nice vintage look without sacrificing ventilation
YiYan Space Design丨Atrium of “Whiskey, Cocktail, Coffee”
People enter the club and are shocked by what they see for many of them haven’t quite seen any whiskey club like this one in the whole Foshan area, not even
Canton. The retro bricks on the wall, the climbing rattan, and even the moss in the stone cracks are all planted one by one by hand. There is no way you can tell how
special this is from the outside. All those details together are the stories of the project “Whiskey, Cocktail, Coffee”. This is how we did this project.
Stained glass, leather-luggage wine cabinet, and walnut leather sofa are elegant and classic.
Q: After all these projects, do you have any special techniques to share with us, as to how to communicate with clients?
My first thought upon hearing this question is that science of success: secrets to making deals. Communication is important, but I think there are things more important than communication techniques: professionalism, truthfulness, and trustworthiness. I leave the rest for the world to decide.
Q: Your expectation for the future？
A: I want to come up with more designs, good ones. To bring it to Foshan and to China. Then we would be part of the design of Foshan, and the design of China.
BuildMost is an O2O Global Platform to Find Building Materials, Products, Furnishings, Equipment, and Design Services.