The Chinese architect and designer duo join the Archiproducts Design Awards jury for the first time
Neri & Hu Design and Research Office, the studio founded in Shanghai in 2004 by architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, will be on the Archiproducts Design Awards jury for the first time this year. They join over 50 of the most influential architecture firms, designers, creative directors, editors, and photographers in the world.
Promoters of a new Asian aesthetic in total sync with international trends, Neri&Hu, on the ADA 2021 jury, is currently one of the top-rated Chinese architecture and interior design studios on the global scene.
“We see design as a holistic discipline. We draw on the Renaissance conception of the ‘artist’ with a multidisciplinary approach to art and design.”
Both Neri and Hu have decidedly international and cosmopolitan backgrounds. Lyndon Neri was born in the Philippines and grew up in the US, Rossana Hu is originally from Taiwan and also studied in the US. They are a couple in life and work.
Based in Shanghai with a second studio in London, the duo debuts this year on the 2021 Archiproducts Design Awards jury. They have a portfolio of projects ranging from architecture to interior design, graphics, exhibition design, product design and numerous collaborations with furniture brands in China and around the world.
Their office has Asian roots with an international outlook, bringing together East and West in a new way.
Ph. © Dirk Weiblen
Neri&Hu’s openness to different worlds and cultures is confirmed by Design Republic, the concept store in Shanghai they founded in 2006 to showcase products designed by young international talents.
In perfect balance between architecture and product design, Neri&Hu’s credo is total design that highlights and enhances every project component. Their sober design results from the exclusive selection of materials and forms that seek coherence between all parts of a project, whether architecture or design.
‘Contemporary design must define the uniqueness of our time, place and culture’.
Referring to context and respect for historical memory, Neri&Hu believe that contemporary design cannot ignore the epoch in which we live. A final product must necessarily reflect the needs and urgencies of our society.
Studio Neri&Hu on the ADA 2021 jury
We asked Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, members of the 2021 ADA jury, about their expectations for this year’s entries and also about their personal vision of the near future in design, a sector that is changing rapidly, not least of all because of the global pandemic.
Here is what they told us.
What do you expect from the nominations for the 2021 Archiproducts Design Awards, and what features should the winning products have?
We look for fresh ideas and forms, something that defines the specificity of our era.
What role do you think a Design Award should play today?
Design is never neutral. In this job, you have to take sides. Good designers have to start from an ethical choice to balance everything with full awareness and social responsibility for what they create. This concept obviously applies to design contests since the products submitted should also express positive messages. To be part of a positive renewal, you have to think outside the box!
How should contemporary design evolve to meet the needs of the community?
Personally, I see design as a holistic discipline. We go back to a Renaissance conception with a multidisciplinary approach to design. We believe that design is not a mere tool for creating functional or beautiful things. It is, above all, a means to cultural and social regeneration. The world is changing so rapidly that we are often amazed by what we see; to keep up with the times today, you have to have the courage to break rules, activate curiosity..ask questions that have not been asked and find new answers.
In the post-pandemic era, how can design define a ‘new normal’?
Design may not have a grand scheme for defining a new normal…we might consider it a lens through which we can see our world with new eyes … from environmental issues to society … with a more ‘creative’ point of view.
How do you think the pandemic has affected design?
The current problem of infectious diseases like Covid-19 can become a problem in the product design sector precisely because there has never been regulation in this sense, like in the health sector.
From now on, in residential, commercial and contract projects, people may be looking for ‘safer’ materials for tables, counters, surfaces and handles. If we are destined to live with this virus ‘forever’, we should start by codifying new rules to be included in the official regulations for the construction world. This is already happening with the classifications of fireproof materials in fire codes.
Das Haus Interiors on Stage 2015 © IMM Cologne
Aranya Art Center_photographed by Pedro Pegenaute
Aranya Art Center, sketches by Neri&Hu
The Arena Papi restaurant_photographed by Simone Bossi
Sulwhasoo Flagship Store_photographed by Pedro Pegenaute
The Arena Papi restaurant_photographed by Simone Bossi
The Waterhouse at South Bund_photographed by Pedro Pegenaute
New Shanghai Theatre_photographed by Pedro Pegenaute
Junshan Cultural Center_photographed by Pedro Pegenaute
No.31_photographed-by-Chen Hao 1
The Waterhouse at South Bund_photographed by Derryck Menere
Suzhou Chapel_photographed by Pedro Pegenaute
Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat_ photo by Pedro Pegenaute
The Walled – Tsingpu Yangzhou Retreat, sketches by Neri&Hu