Design On A Mission
Designer Bryan Leung highlights Taiwan’s manufacturing capabilities with the launch of his luxury brand Lajos
Taiwanese luxury homewares brand LAJOS made its debut at Maison & Objet 2018 with Vessel, an oil diffuser whose form is informed by ancient Chinese vases. Made of natural volcanic stone and hand-polished stainless steel, the piece also highlights Taiwanese manufacturing prowess distinguished by experimentation and smaller production runs, and sustained quality. The launch of Vessel follows on from LAJOS’ success with Memento, a set of stainless steel and titanium stationery objects and household tools that has won top honors at the Golden Pin Design Award in Taiwan, and the A’ Design Award in Italy. Portfolio spoke with Mr. Leung to talk about Taiwan’s contemporary design culture.
Tell us more about the concept behind Vessel.
We designed Vessel to be used in an office or perhaps a reading room or home library. With its see-through center, it’s designed to blend into a space, unlike traditional diffusers, that are typically very jarring, aesthetically. The shape is inspired by the traditional forms of ancient Chinese vases, and in fact, the fragrance that the diffuser emits when in use resembles the relaxing scent of a vase full of flowers.
What led you to study design?
I’m attracted to the way in which design can distill an emotional connection into an object. Though design wasn’t that popular in Taiwan at the time I was studying it, I was drawn to the strategic and psychological aspects of the field. I was driven to build a company that enabled me to help people, and I felt that design gave me the power to achieve that goal. I also simply love to create.
What led you to set up your studio?
Many design companies in Taiwan are run in a similar way; they focus on simply landing a job with a client and don’t focus on the psychology behind the work. That’s a problem because then the client won’t understand what the goals of the partnership are. That’s why I founded LAJOS; I’m interested in ensuring we are delivering clients what they need as well as what they want. Taiwan doesn’t really have any leading luxury lifestyle brands. We have multinational companies like Giant and HTC, but they are mainly in the technology sector. But what Taiwan does have is a professional, well-developed manufacturing sector. What we hope to do through LAJOS is build a global luxury lifestyle brand that takes advantage of Taiwan’s unique manufacturing ecosystem.
What kind of products epitomize the LAJOS name?
LAJOS aims to help people to live their best lives by creating beautiful versions of everyday products. We really want people to enjoy their lives and we believe their experiences with the objects around them matters. I want to create products that take people on a journey in the same way that diners experience a tasting menu at a Michelin starred restaurant. We also hope to move into private design, where we create personalized objects for an individual client. This service is rare in Taiwan right now, but we believe there is a lot of potential because of the sophisticated manufacturing sector.
What does being a Taiwanese designer mean to you?
Designers in Taiwan are lucky in that they have easy access to a wide variety of manufacturing processes, and the owners of these businesses are open to experimentation, whether there is a monetary benefit in it for them or not. This combined with Taiwan’s increasingly multicultural society with its mixture of cultural influences–indigenous Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese, and now influences from Southeast Asian nations–creates a unique set of ingredients that LAJOS can draw from.