Artist in res­i­dence

Dou­ble whammy Feng has or­gan­ised two very dif­fer­ent studio set­ups: one geared for work, one def­i­nitely for play

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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.fengzhude­

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.

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