Lee Chia-ying, Taiwan

Epicure - - STYLE BUZZ -

A de­signer and in­ven­tor rolled into one, Tai­wanese de­signer Lee Chia-ying, 37, is the brain­child be­hind quirky cre­ations such as Ran­dom (a pen­dant light with two strings that il­lu­mi­nates ran­dom orbs with each tug) and In Your Time (a clock that records one’s heart rate through a pulse sen­sor, and trans­lates it into hours and min­utes). In 2011, she founded stu­dio if, a multi-dis­ci­plinary out­fit spe­cial­is­ing in in­dus­trial de­sign, phys­i­cal in­ter­ac­tion de­sign, and new me­dia installation. She stud­ied mu­sic and com­puter sci­ence, but sub­se­quently en­rolled in Italy’s In­ter­ac­tion De­sign In­sti­tute Ivrea. Her pas­sion in home­wares was ig­nited af­ter her first job at the in­dus­trial de­sign cen­tre of a con­sumer elec­tron­ics com­pany.

Her pen­chant for sto­ry­telling is ap­par­ent from her whim­si­cal cre­ations. But more of­ten than not, her de­signs trig­ger ‘why didn’t I think of that’ re­ac­tions. Clever in­ven­tions in­clude Tik­tik­tik, a ta­ble lamp that al­lows its user to set the length of time the light is on – up to an hour – sim­ply by how far the chain is pulled, and Un­fold – a se­ries of wall stick­ers that in­cor­po­rate a radio, a lamp and a scent dif­fuser. Us­ing the con­cept of origami to cre­ate play­ful tran­si­tions be­tween forms, each sticker serves a func­tion when it’s opened up and folded back. For ex­am­ple, the Un­fold Radio sticker re­sem­bles a gramo­phone and the folded horn serves as both the switch and vol­ume con­trol for the radio – the fur­ther you open up the horn, the louder the vol­ume be­comes.

She has also col­lab­o­rated with the Na­tional Taiwan Mu­seum of Fine Arts and JUT Foun­da­tion for Arts and Ar­chi­tec­ture, cre­at­ing in­stal­la­tions such as the Ono­matopoeia Typewriter that’s crafted from ply­wood and acrylic, and the Voice Bub­ble Ma­chine that pro­duces soap bub­bles only when ac­ti­vated by loud voices. Com­mer­cially, she has de­signed for Stu­dio Italia De­sign and runs a small pro­duc­tion of her de­signs for stores and gal­leries in Europe, Taipei and Bei­jing.

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