Artist in residence
Double whammy Feng has organised two very different studio setups: one geared for work, one definitely for play
Feng Zhu’s studio setup is more about peace and relaxation than reminders of work.
I’ve had a lot of studios over the years. Most of them looked like standard creative environments, filled with PCs, Macs, Wacom tablets, movie posters and so on. When I was younger I preferred this type of setup. It made me feel part of the industry.
Back then, I wanted to be surrounded by work stuff. It somehow validated the fact I was working in the business. These days however, I prefer my studio environment to be more relaxing. The studio still needs to cater to my work needs, but I also need a place to get away from the daily demands.
So I’ve separated my working environment into two locations. The first is my “hardcore” work area. This consists of two 30-inch screens, a Wacom, a laptop and subdued lighting. When here, I can work undisturbed for hours at a time. I always recommend investing in good-quality screens. If you’re going to spend up to 12 hours a day in front of them, get the best. A lot of this equipment is expendable. If I need to upgrade or get rid of kit, I can access them easily – nothing is built in or hidden.
The second area is my “play” studio. I can still work here, but it’s limited to just emails and document writing. I purposely removed the Wacom to prevent myself from drawing. I don’t even have Photoshop installed on my second PC. To create a sense of calm, I custom built this area to hide all wires. Even the PC is hidden behind the shelf. My second PC is used mostly for gaming. I invested in a beefy one, with quad SLI GTX 980s graphic cards, four Samsung 1T SSDs and 32GB of RAM. This PC also outputs to a television, to which various gaming consoles are connected. There’s a time and a place for work, and this room isn’t that place. Feng is the founder of the FZD School of Design, in Singapore, and he recently founded a film production studio, FZD Films, in Beijing. Find out more at www.fengzhudesign.com.
In my work studio is podcasting equipment for my Design Cinema series. Although lately I haven’t had time to record new episodes. I love listening to movie soundtracks while relaxing in my studio. My favourite is Blade Runner, of course. I don’t collect too many toys or figures, but I absolutely love this Alien design. I’ve owned this sculpt for many years now. These aren’t all the books in my collection, but they’re the ones I loved when I was a student. They hold a special place in my heart.
I love to travel and bring back little souvenirs. In my studio there are vases from the Maldives, jars from Rome, sculptures from Lake Como, toy cats from Japan, a metal pig from Bali… the list goes on.