Kevin Chu

Professional in Futuristic Design.

About Kevin Chu

  • Winner of 9 A' Design Awards.
  • Winner of Futuristic Design Award.
  • Specialized in Futuristic Design.
  • 9 Featured Original Designs.
  • Highly Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Lighting
  • Interior
  • Sustainable Product
  • Futuristic
  • Furniture
  • Art
GUILIN  Environment Cleansing Lamp

GUILIN Environment Cleansing Lamp

Lighting Design

AIRnemone  Interactive Exhibition Pavilion

AIRnemone Interactive Exhibition Pavilion

Interior Design

SPINE  Environment Cleansing Lighting System

SPINE Environment Cleansing Lighting System

Lighting Design

TWISTY  Solar Power Generator and Shading System

TWISTY Solar Power Generator and Shading System

Sustainable Product Design

ECO 1 Environmentally Conscious Interior

ECO 1 Environmentally Conscious Interior

Interior Design

Foglia Environment Cleansing Floorlamp

Foglia Environment Cleansing Floorlamp

Lighting Design

Vertical + Horizontal Farm Tower Farming and Crop distribution tower

Vertical + Horizontal Farm Tower Farming and Crop distribution tower

Futuristic Design

ShangKan  I-Phone Charging Dock and Speaker, Candle Holder, Clock

ShangKan I-Phone Charging Dock and Speaker, Candle Holder, Clock

Furniture Design

Giulia Shelf Storage Shelf

Giulia Shelf Storage Shelf

Art Design


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Interview with Kevin Chu

Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
I have always wanted to be a designer ever since i was 10 years old. I like looking at things in general but reinterpretthem in my own way. I studied architecture in Architectural Association then London University and am a qualified RIBA Architect.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I started COC in 2016 but previously we have been known as Fablab Design. We have offices in Italy and Hong Kong as we work extensively in Asia and Europe. We are one of the few firms in Hong Kong that focuses on contemporary environmental designs and i am always trying to push my partners(we don't have corporate hierarchy and anyone contributes equally to the company) to come up with ground breaking elements and technology; my wife being a great muse to a lot of the designs eventhrough she is not in the design buisiness.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
My most favorite design is when a design can utilize Art, Science and Technology in unity with a strong consideration of Biosynthesis with Nature Elements. I believe this is a very hard criteria to achieve but i think we have done it this time with our new lamps!
What was the first thing you designed for a company?
I did a competition when i was 21 for Alessi. It was a stool and a table lamp. It was selected as the winning award but never made into production.
What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
I love the concept of upcycle material such as recycle cardboards, styrofoams, reclaimed fabrics etc etc. I like using materials that are not usually associated with traditional construction industry. I also love using nature into my design such as plants and any organic lifeforms. I am also a huge proponent of sustainable energy and smart home technology. I love to fuse very archaic and basic material with ultra high tech solutions.
When do you feel the most creative?
When i am diving or adventuring in nature. Also when i go to art galleries and see modern art and sculptures. I avoid as much as possible to see other designs as i rather keep my inspiration more original.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
Aesthetic(and there is no shame to this!), Sustainability, Material and Technology
What makes a design successful?
when you supersede yours and a client's expectation and create something that can be though provoking and head turning
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
surprise and innovation(it could be dramatic or discreet but it has to be innovative in context)
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
we are here to enrich society and also to work in harmony with nature. We should give society more creative/cultural vibrancy as we are in the business of creating things.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
for sure we are thinking far more in unity with nature and more considerate in our impact on our planet. I believe the global conglomeration domination is dying out and small unique entrepreneurs will become the norm. One thing we have to start to consider is stop thinking buying fast design or fast fashion is the norm as the cost always comes to us in once way or another such as work force unemployment or pollutions.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
My last exhibition was in Shanghai, China in 2017 and hopefully my next one will be with A Design Award in Como.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
As i said before visiting nature and going to museums helps a lot. Sometimes even visiting the skip helps too sometimes.
How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
I don't actually consider a specific style for myself although i can say i only do modern design. One of the things i always explore is movement and combinations as since i inspire a lot from nature, and nature is never static, this has become something very consistent with my way of thinking. I also get bored easily so this reflects part of my personality.
Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
I live between Italy and Hong Kong and it has both a profound influence to all my designs. I always like to take cultural elements, not just aesthetically, into my design and reinterpret or update them.
How do you work with companies?
i usually ask my clients for their brief and ideas, as well as some of their concerns and wishes. Then i put it into my cerebral mixer and concort something unique, innovative and original.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
If you know the work of the chosen designer, let him/her have as much creative freedom as possible after you have set the brief. We work then best when we are allowed to indulge as much as possible into our creative think tank.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
Get client brief, take a walk or dive in nature, look through products or designs in google related to brief, look for elements that missing in all these and create the new concept
Can you describe a day in your life?
I wake up at 6:30am, do sport, then work on projects, then take a break with sport, then work more. I really don't have a set schedule but all my activities are somehow intertwine with my process of work.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
is hard to give advice as the design market is always changing. I know it is important to commercialized your work but try to stay true to your design vision. We are in a highly competitive industry but if you always "follow the trend" or do "what everyone wants you to do" sooner or later you will loose your grounding in the design industry. Be persistent and learned from failures. Always stay original.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
like any industry the commercialism aspect is the worst part as this really robs creativity sometimes. Every industry want to have "sells figures" and usually this promotes only "famous established designers" or "sellable designs that the market want". Most companies/clients, especially the bigger ones, are usually very prone experimentation or risk taking. But what we can do as designers is to make something of our own, launch it on crowd funding platforms and proof to the world that our designs could be viable and marketable options if the campaign is successful.
What skills are most important for a designer?
try to go to factories and manufacturers and learn as much as possible on the dirt of design. This will improve vastly your knowledge in anything your create. If you can draw try to sketch as much as possible. Look around your everyday life and make everything your inspiration. Even food!!
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I suggest wake up very early and start your day. Don't go to bed too late and make your work cycle normal. Rest is really important. Also multi-tasking is vital. Always give your self a harsh time limit. I always do this with partners. If we have a job that need to be finishes on Friday, our deadline is usually Tuesday as we know the last days will be issues we need to fix.
What was your most important job experience?
To work from the beginning of nothing, create something by hand and on site with workers, then finally even be part of the logistic process until the final launch of the design. You learn and interact so much more like this then just to allocate task to someone else.
Who are some of your clients?
Alessi, Sony, Luca Boffi, Boffi Cucine, IDEAT Magazine, Design 360 Magazine, Siemens, LG Korea, Diamantini & Domeniconi, Unvanart Shanghai, Daikin Japan
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
As long as the work allows me maximum creative leeway i will dive into it with all my passion. I love to create and think outside of the box
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
We are launching the world first environment cleansing furniture collections and i am forming a new venture that design specifically these types of ideas. We are always taking on highly creative and challenging jobs and we are like sponges when it comes to new ideas!
Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
I work with designers, artist around the world through online communication and we brainstorm each of our ideas and see which one suits best with any upcoming brief. We always merge somehow ideas from all of us into the final concept.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
all i can say is that we are creating the world cleanest environment to live in with a range of revolutionary products that will also be highly sustainable.
How can people contact you?
please write to kevinchu@coc.design or visit my website at www.coc.design

Extended Interview with Kevin Chu

Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
I studied in London and qualified as an Architect. My previous universities were Architectural Association and London University Bartlett School of Architecture where i graduated with distinction.
What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
I always have this "unsatisfactory emotion" that things around us can be more creative, have better aesthetic or provides "functional surprises" to users and i always believe the greatest inspiration is mother nature. This is why i believe as a designer we can make these changes to all elements around us.
Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
I have always wanted to be a designer/artist as far as i can remember.
What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
I have tackled architecture, interior design, product design, custom artwork, installation art design and i actually just prefer to focus on more creative and art related contemporary projects, whichever field does not matter.
What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
There is no specific rules to this but i think "free your mind" is the answer. In the real world there are many constraints be it financial, political etc etc but in order to truly be creative you have to fight or cleverly work around these issues and never betray your goal. Also inspiration is all around us so just observe and finally avoid looking at design magazine or books as this will just hamper your creativity. Get inspiration first hand on not on some preexisting design.
What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
Good designer creates Harmonious Design, great designer creates Polarizing Design. Good designer's creations are Contemporary, great designer's creations are Visionary.
What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
Again this is not an easy subject to analyze but the design, apart from serving the principle function of the brief, should also introduce elements of surprise . It should be functional and innovative at the same time.
What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
If we live in a society where everything is just created for functionality then it will be very boring. Good design brings 'fun' to everyday objects and make people questions on what each object can be. This in turn will attracts consumer/company to invest on good design in order to bring a much higher value to everyday products.
What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
I will always design for any client who is a visionary and who is willing to work 'with' a designer.
What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
A building about advance ECO agricultural technology as well as workshop on all things environmental be it energy, furniture, lifestyle etc etc.
What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
Be Yourself as much as you can. Stay true to your principle no matter how hard it is. I am not going to say 'work hard' as this is a silly advice as everyone works hard anyway!
Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
Mother nature, i do like many architects or designers but mother nature is my main muse.
What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
I love the Magis Spun chair by Thomas Heatherwick as it is a furniture that is beyond functionality and so much fun. Latest architecture masterpiece i love is Stefano Boeri's Vertical Forest Building. Finally someone is able to introduce good elements of nature into the disgusting skyscraper that is always glass,concrete and steel, no matter how 'organic or parametric' they look. Designers who 'mimic' nature are always less successful then designers who work 'with' nature. I am sure a few parametric masters will hate me for this comment!
What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
I don't think my greatest design will ever come as each design is my greatest within the confines of that situation. Some of my design might be more receptive and praised upon by the public but i do not consider them my greatest creation based solely of awards or recognitions.
How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
Thinking outside the box more and look around in the details of life for inspirations.
How do you define design, what is design for you?
Design is to provide innovations and aesthetic beauty to a everyday functionality.
Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
My family especially my wife who has been through many difficult times with me. Also the rare opportunity of a few clients who are willing to share my vision and probably also my stubbornness!!
What helped you to become a great designer?
By always being unsatisfied with myself and keeping looking around like a Obsessive Compulsive Idiot.
What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
Our society are always limiting our creativity with rules such as sale figures, innovation rejection, timing, financial limitation etc etc and it has extremely hard to convince and work around these limitations.
How do you think designers should present their work?
Clear and focused on your brief and always know that your client is not you and does not understand your vision. Present your vision like you are to a 3 year old and keep your themes simple.
What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
We are working on a new building that is exploring the next generation in ECO technology and agriculture. We are also working on a new concept related to Virtual Reality as we believe this will be the next revolution. We are also conceiving some 'fun' furniture piece that harks back to traditional Chinese culture but with a big modern twist.
What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
Just to always be challenged with creativity and innovation while also bringing back traditional elements of my own culture and upbringing.
What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
i hope you cannot expect anything repetitive from me. Then i have succeeded
How does design help create a better society?
Just like art it can bring many creative individuals' visions to the world thus making our world a much more fun and dynamic place to live in. Vibrancy in life is a key and any successful society in our history has always thrived in this.
What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
All my current projects are exciting to me as otherwise i would not have taken them on. It is important as a design we also need to feel inspired be it large or small scale projects.
Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
I think boundary pushing projects that work with nature as well as focusing on environmental concerns always strike a cord with my passion.
What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
I think our industry needs to embrace more Upstart creativity and focus less on just a few superstar designers. We should also focus more on smaller projects rather then monumental urban planning. Clients should also embrace innovation more and embrace more risk. I also think crowdfunding will really help kick off some true innovation in design, and not just small products. Imaging crowd funding entire vertical farming hubs/eco energy in an entire city where buildings can benefit the society rather then just developers.
Where do you think the design field is headed next?
Environmental Innovation and Virtual Reality spaces. Also large scale architectural 3D printing will become the norm for buildlings. I also see more and more 'normal individuals' can become designers as there are so many APPS that can help.
How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
It all depend on the scale and scope of the project, it could be a few days to a few years.
When you have a new design project, where do you start?
Go for a hike in the forest or go diving if i can. Need to copy some stuff from mother nature you know!
Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
It is really both and it can be mutually beneficial. Although it is also always good as a designer to avoid following or repeating the trend
What is the role of technology when you design?
Highly important, working with inventors or scientist can really help implement great projects. As a designer we should always know what is the latest tech trend while also not forgetting some traditional elements.
What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
3D max, Autocad, Photoshop, Illustrator and always hand sketches and some 3D printed models.
What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
Color is important as i don't agree with the White, Black and Grey is the only way to design. Material are practically the umbilical cord of a design but i think Restraint and simplicity is a key to great design.
What do you wish people to ask about your design?
As long people appreciate my design questions is entirely up to them. If they don't ask i wont feel offended.
Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
Someone who has their own thinking but share my ideology of innovation. Someone who is always inspired and positive.
Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
Actually movies and documentary have more effect on my design. Of course as books, and a bit cliche, the fountainhead is a good motivation read for us designers but a film that really inspired me was 1988 Japanese Animation Akira!
How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
Just always questioning everything and coming up with silly ideas!
Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
I like to go to another planet and see what is on offer. If there are aliens it might blow my mind!!!
How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
Yes it is very hard. You have to be constantly in competition and hope to win in order to get the appropriate promotion in the industry.
What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
Fav Color: Red, Fav Place:Too many, Fav Time: Summer, Fav Thing: Adventures in Nature, Fav Brand: Quite a few but i like lots of brands in Kickstarter and Indiegogo.
Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
While presenting a speech in Beijing with lots of camera crew my pants dropped accidentally!
What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
If i have a New Idea that someone can share with me, then it is a great day
When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
Pretty much so as i am always drawing and destroying things around me.
What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
There wont be any designer left as everyone is a great designer with augmented reality and cybernetic implants. We will all be great multi-talented cyborgs!!
Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
If you want to know more about me, please drop me a line on kevinchu@coc.desgin

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