2013.12.18 Wed, by
New Design Outfit: Studio LL

Studio LL is the exciting collaboration between Fai Lai, a vintage furniture purveyor and interior designer, and Tony Law, a well-known Chinese photographer. They launched Studio LL at Beijing Design Week in the home and studio space of their mutual friend Nahain Li, also an industrial designer. The newly launched collection is called “Du Pin”; literally translated this means “unique products” but it is also a homophone for “drugs”. They were looking to create a simple concept for an accessible execution of reclaimed and re-purposed pieces.

Stephany Zoo: How did you two meet and come up with the ideas for starting a collaborative studio?

Studio LL: We met almost 10 years ago in Beijing and became friends because we are both from Hong Kong and like the same music. In the past few years, Fai has become addicted to furniture collecting and study, especially post-1949 furniture from China. As a result of this addiction, he began to feel sad that these objects and designs would soon disappear forever. He therefore thought of the concept of modifying and re-interpreting old furniture and objects to create something new. While at Goldsmiths, Tony began creating objects and installations. We decided to collaborate to turn the concepts into real objects, and this experiment is called Studio LL.

Stephany Zoo: What are some of the challenges of a photographer and an interior designer working together?

Studio LL: Our professional background doesn’t matter as much as personality. We have known each other for almost 10 years, so any problems we should know already. On the contrary, it can be advantageous because we can see the same thing, but from different angles.

Stephany Zoo: Tell me a bit about your creative process in working together. What synergies do you have now that you’re collaborating on projects?

Studio LL: Because we have only just started, our creative process is not very systematic yet; it is more impulsive. Hopefully in the future it can be improved. Basically, we have an idea, then we search for the factory, and ride our motorbikes there. Beijing is big and the traffic very serious, but it is possible to make anything here. I think we work well together because of our personalities and similar taste. When working alone, it is easy to make a wrong decision, but when there are two people, one can correct the other.

Stephany Zoo: How was your experience with Beijing Design Week? What do you think you gained most from participating (in terms of press coverage, local awareness and so forth)?

Studio LL: It was really good experience to participate in an event where everyone is so energetic and motivated to do their best. And I think every year is more successful. Other than this, we had quite good media exposure (this interview for example) and useful feedback for the future.