Xiaohe Shen

Specialized in Jewelry Design.

Xiaohe Shen

About Xiaohe Shen

  • Winner of the A' Design Award.
  • Specialized in Jewelry Design.
  • Original Design.
  • Creative, Diligent and Innovative.
  • All Designs
  • Jewelry
The Garden Jewelry Collection

The Garden Jewelry Collection

Jewelry Design

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Interview with Xiaohe Shen

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 studied jewelry design and metal craft in my undergraduate and graduate school. And continue working in jewelry industry field after I graduated. For me, I like drawing and painting since I was a kid. I know I want to be a designer when I was very young, because I always feel the desire to create something beautiful for the world.
Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
I'm current working as an independent artist for my own jewelry. I'm hoping after years accumulation of work, I will have my studio soon in the future.
What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
I like simple, elegant and timeless design. And that's what I'm trying to achieve in my own work. Right now my favorite design the latest ring I made called The Arc Ring. It's a signet ring with 3ct green blue sapphire. The whole construction is built with curve. I think that ring has a very strong powerful character, but yet remain a modest feeling.
Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
When I design a jewelry, I focus the most in the balance of beauty and functionality and whether it’s technically achievable.
What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
It’s usually mixed with expectation, disappointment and satisfaction, those three feeling roll in a rotation. During the process of design, sometimes I would feel that I lost the judgement about the work I’m doing. When I see the working in progress piece, I frequently feel disappointed and worried. But all the doubles will be gone after seeing the finished piece. And would be replace by satisfaction.
What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
No matter the design need to be further revised or not, I always feel happy to see my designs be realized.
What makes a design successful?
I think a successful design shows designer’s good taste, his or her comprehensive thinking about user experience as well as the excellent craftsmanship.
When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
Disregard whether it's beautiful or not, I would consider first if it's easy to use.
From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
I think designer’s key responsibilities for society and environment is to make product that is suitable for society’s evolution trend and at the same time thinking about how to use resource more efficiently and wisely to produce the product.
How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
As the whole world is more and more replying on new technologies, design won't be isolated from this big trend. Before, we used to think design related mostly with art, in the future, I think design will become a subject that crossover science and art.
When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
It’s 2017 at Big Code Gallery in Soho, New York. I’m looking for to have the next one in later this year or early 2020.
Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
My inspiration usually comes from modern architecture and traditional Oriental art and crafts. I gain my creativity from reading and traveling constantly.
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 grew up in China, I had studied art in both of China and the United State, right now I’m living in New York City. Yes, I do think cultural heritage of China affects my designs. I like to combine modern structure with ancient eastern feeling in my design, and I appreciate the effect from both sides.
How do you work with companies?
In the company, I work as production designer. My job is to transfer design concept to reality through 3D modeling.
What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
I think if the company already have a big design heritage and they want to continue, it's better to choose the designer whose style is suitable for company's direction. But if the company is looking for some changes, then maybe looking for designer in different style, and give he/she more space for creating.
Can you talk a little about your design process?
I start with searching for the inspiration, and doing sketches, after I know which direction I will start 3D modeling the concept. And from that point, keep on refining the model until it become the balance in both of aesthetic side and functional side.
What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
My mac, Tom Dixon Fire Diffuser, JWDA table lamp, Modway Jive office chair, Muji Ultrasonic aroma diffuser
Can you describe a day in your life?
Wake up in the middle of morning, working from 10-6 on my full time job for company. Take some rest in the evening, listen to music or watch some TV show. Start to working on my own design ideals from around 10pm until 2am.
Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
As still a young designer, I would suggest younger designers to do more research and try to broaden they views at the beginning of their career. This will help them to determine which path they would like to follow up with.
From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
The positive part is that seeing the idea becomes reality make me feel so satisfied. And knowing my creativity can bring happiness to people is also an incomparable joy. The negative part is that designer can’t always do whatever they want. To make a project successful, there are so many aspects need to be considered.
Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
I work full time for company. So as for my own design, I usually use time after work or weekend. But when I want to design something, I won’t stop thinking even when I’m not sitting in front of computer or with my sketch book. The idea may come while I was waiting for the train or walking on the street.
How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
Depends on how complicate the item is. I tend to slow down this period. Because time can help me to see the imperfection of the design.
What was your most important job experience?
My current job for working as production designer in such big jewelry company.
Who are some of your clients?
So far my works are not really facing public, so my "clients" are mostly friends and family
What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
I like to work on customized design. Such as doing one of a kind design. Because usually with this kind of projects, customers tend to have more specific requests and preferences. As a designer, I will have much more close communication with customers. And in my experience, knowing better what do customers want, is very helpful for finding the right direction to develop the project. And working in a right direction is the key point to make the design achieve customers’ expectation.
What are your future plans? What is next for you?
So far I had made mostly fashion jewelry, this year I’m planing to make more fine jewelry with color stones. And will also preparing a better story for each design.
Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
Currently I’m working on some fine jewelry pieces that will have gem stones such as emerald, tourmaline, sapphire and tanzanite been applied on. The design will include ring, pendant and earring.
How can people contact you?
People can contact me through the contact page on my website: xiaoheshen.com , also can message me through my instagram account: xiaoheshen

Designer of the Day Interview with Xiaohe Shen

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?
I studied jewelry design for 6 years in both my undergraduate school in Shanghai Institute of Visual Art and graduate school Rochester Institute of Technology. I started to work on a high jewelry studio in New York's diamond district as quality analyst, and then I transfer to be technical designer for high jewelry brands called Temple St Clair, after that I also worked for some other jewelry manufacture company and fashion jewelry company as designer, then I started to work as production designer for Tiffany from 2018 until now.
How did you become a designer?
I know I want to be a designer since I was a kid, I always feel I have some kind of passion of creating beautiful things. All my school choice and work choice were just following my feeling.
What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?
For all my works, I'm always pursuing simple, elegant and timeless design, and I think my jewelries are unisex, they don't have very strong male or female character. There are three features/collection I'm focusing on and would like to continue developing more in the future. First is Arc. This collection will be fine jewelry, made with 18K gold and gem. Design feature including using of negative space, and curved shape. The second is Keystone. This collection will be mostly silver with 14K gold, with modern and industry feeling. The last one is Fluid. This collection will apply some semi precious stones on, and the design will have some organic shapes.
Which emotions do you feel when designing?
I think there are high point and low point on every design phase. It's always exciting when the idea came up, that's high point, but when dive in to developing and polishing the idea, there will be a lot of self questioning and self-denial - that's the low point. Same process happens again when transferring a concept to a workable model, especially when there are technical difficulties involved. But after go through everything, and when I have the final product on my hand, it feels like everything is worth, that's satisfaction.
What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?
There are two aspects I think that impact me as a designer, one is my interesting in geometry. I think it's a beneficial if a designer or an artist have some kind of interesting or talent in mathematic and geometry. Learning from masterpieces of painting, sculpture, architecture and industry design in the history, a lot of them are highly related to mathematic, I believe the fundamentals of all beauties of art can be found in math. Another aspect is comprehension ability. No matter it's working with clients or with other design team, be able to quickly and accurately understanding people's idea and reading other people's concept helped me do my work efficiently, and makes me enjoy what I am doing.
What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?
After graduate from school, I started to work as a quality analyst in a small high jewelry studio in diamond district. This job gave me a chance to closely oversee fine jewelry manufacturing process, as well as those super valuable jewelry pieces. However I want to do creative and design related work. And I think 3D modeling is a big trend manufacturing. So I taught myself how to use those software and 3D modeling, then I got the job as technical designer in Temple St. Clair. After that, I switched several jobs and until now, I'm working in Tiffany as production designer. Eventually I want to be an independent designer and artist, who can make a live with creating and selling they own work. For all those years I never stopped making my own design. With the improvement of my skill set and the gaining of knowledge in jewelry industry, now I'm much more confident in touching precious materials. That's what I'm working on, and want to extend in future.
What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?
Everyone's experience and opportunity is different. But I think it's always better to be bold to try things and make mistakes at the beginning of something than at the middle of something.
You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?
Looking at master's work, improve aesthetic stand, keep on polishing the skillset and know when to give up, especially when you feel and know the work you are doing doesn't make you happy.
What is your day to day look like?
Wake up in the middle of morning, take a sip of coffee while reading WWD, then start working from 10-6 on my full time job for company. Get some relax in the evening, listen to music or watch some fun TV show. Start to working on my own design ideals from around 10pm until 2am.
How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?
I always keep my style, which I hope is timeless. But I still follow up the trend closely, but mainly about fashion, for personal interests. I don't really watching jewelry trend.
How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?
A good design represent designer's concept wisely and even humorous. It must be a good balance of four parts: artistic aspect, craftsmanship, user experience and reasonable cost.
How do you decide if your design is ready?
Jewelry is not heavily functionality related design, it's more close to a wearing sculpture. Sometimes the design need to be revised due to the limitation of manufacturing. I would keep on rebuilding until at some point, I know that's the best circumstance I can achieve. During my design process, I try to keep my feeling of the original inspiration in mind, to avoid over-iterations.
What is your biggest design work?
There are several projects I worked on or be part of that I consider them as the most imposing to me. One is my thesis project in my graduate school called Dreamland. In that project I did a lot of contemporary paintings and wire sculptures. That was the first time I felt that I literally working as an artist, and I was able to boldly express my art concept. The result turned out to be quite nice, when everything was set up in the gallery, the space looked exquisite, and that atmosphere was what I wanted to express through my work. The other important work is the project I was participated in, the T1 collection of Tiffany. I was the production CAD designer for those T1 bracelets. Working on product modeling and mechanism development. It was a very important learning experience, and also it's a big satisfaction to see a project I was working on become such a big success on the market.
Who is your favourite designer?
Leoh Ming Pei and Martin Margiela. I like Leoh Ming Pei is because his remarkable works. His works to me are great examples of combining local culture to modern western architecture. I like Martin Margiela's design style, and how creative he was in brand marketing, how he keeps the experimental feeling of his design. I also appreciate his definition of cloth as cloth be divided to men's and women's, they should be just cloth.
Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?
My lifestyle is like most New Yorkers, being busy but also enjoy small things in life. I grew up in a south east capital city of China, so I feel very comfortable to be in somewhere with convenient public transportation, late night restaurants and grocery store. Besides, New York is one of the most dynamic cities in the world. All the exhibitions, shows, new brands and new stores from the whole world are happening in this city, they are tremendous resources of inspiration for a designer.
Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?
My working style is very straight forward, my goal of work is always making good design and product, no matter for the company I'm working for or for my own design. For my own design, I could work alone and just make my own decision. When work with other designer and clients, listening and communication is also a very important part. I don't think I'm difficult on that part. The most difficult part is how to evaluate the work amount I think, especially when working with people who is not very professional.
What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?
As a designer who is still building her brand, I think the best I can do for society is making good design. I think making a bad design into reality is wasting resource. So what I can do at this stage is not to waste resource.
What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?
First of all, having an award from such a big competition is definitely a good mark in my career and on my CV. And also, win this award also means to me that my design is somehow been approved by public, this is a huge satisfaction for a designer.

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