One Eye Cat Meets People

何丽娜的生活哲学。Create a life that feels good on the inside – Helena Albrechtsson

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Helena Albrechtsson 有一个很容易记的中文名叫何丽娜,我记得和以前的中国同事们都叫她何总。Helena是瑞典人,自小就喜欢新鲜的事物,8年前独自来到亚洲开始了她的探索之旅。现在她是上海一家德国设计公司巍德设计(WILDDESIGN)的总经理, 是我曾经的老板。下个月她就要携爱人与狗离开上海返回故乡定居结束这8年的漂泊生活,这算是老外版的‘逃离北上广’么?

我曾在上海巍德设计工作将近3年的时间,写这篇博文我十分的感触,让我想起了这3年里的点滴生活。巍德像似一个联合国大家庭,有一段时间我曾是其中唯一的中国籍设计师。我特别喜欢这里的每一个人,他们年轻,有才华,有着不同的经历,喜欢冒险,都聚集到上海给这个蓬勃发展的城市注入了新鲜的设计血液。Helena是个很开明的老板,和她可以谈天说地。她会鼓励你勇敢的提出建议,支持团队创新。我认为团队作业在此是我学到最宝贵的经验,好的创意绝可不是由一个人来完成的。天下无不散筵席,我已离开团队,Helena也将回国。在她回国之前,我想和大家伙分享一下她在上海的落脚点,看看北欧人是如何感性的把设计融入到生活的细节中的。她认为生活如设计,都不能只是停留在表面的美观,而是要考虑到用户,也就是我们自己的真实体验。

Helena Albrechtsson is definitely an explorer, she left home from Sweden for adventures in Asia 8 years ago, and currently working as the general manager of a German branding & industrial design agency called WILDDESIGN based in Shanghai. Next month she will return to Sweden, back to the her root with her fiance and dog, also with lots of stories to tell.

Writing this post is very special for me, as I have worked in WILDDESIGN for almost 3 years before. The company has an unique charm, down to earth with the explorer spirit. I had lots of good memories there and I have learnt so much from working with the multidisciplinary team coming from different cultural background. Helena is a very open-minded leader and she believes creating a good life is similar to creating a good design – not just looks good on the outside but create a good user experience for yourself that makes you feel good on the inside. This time I got invited to her sweet apartment in Shanghai to find out more about her private life.

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问答时刻:

1. 一天之中你最喜欢哪个时刻?
早餐!我尤其喜欢周末里的超级丰盛早餐:)

2. 你现在正在听的音乐/阅读的书/看的电影是什么?
音乐方面,在Spotify上有一系列的音乐选择。在家通常听爵士,跑步时就听动感的disco。最近手边没有在阅读很多书,倒是每周都在收听瑞典的几个Podcast.

3. 你通常从什么渠道获得新闻?
博客,Instagram,还有Podcast。从报纸获取越来越少。

4.儿时的梦想是什么?目前的梦想呢?
我小的时候想成为一名兽医或者空中小姐…哈哈。现在我的梦想是能够保持健康,开心,以及身边充满着有趣的能激发人灵感的人。

5.是什么促使你来到亚洲的?当时这是否是一个很难下的决定?
我一个朋友打电话给我告诉我在台湾有一个工作机会。我当时并不知道台湾是什么地方,但我之前刚去过香港,我想台湾应该和香港差不多吧,于是我就去了。我那时喜欢冒险,反而随着年纪的增长我的胆子变的越小。

6.你最记忆犹新的上海记忆是什么?
是一段混合的记忆,包括当年疯狂单身派对到大清早的岁月,到每天的日常生活,以及与不同的人接触,例如与办公室楼下弄堂口买乌龟的大爷侃大山。

7.你最喜欢的城市是哪里?
我想我有三个喜欢的城市:一是纽约,因为她的艺术,设计与时尚;二是斯德哥尔摩,因为她的北欧风情,体现在大自然与设计上;三是上海,因为这里所遇到的所有很棒的人,以及这里疯狂繁忙的气息。

8.如果你可以从家乡带一件东西来上海,你会想到什么?(可以是食物,文化,音乐甚至是人)
接近大自然,森林。

9.作为一个国际设计公司的管理者,在你眼中什么是好设计?
通常我会说好的用户体验,但当我为自己家购买东西的时候,我都比较感性。我喜欢的设计有着好的材质或者细节。

10. 你认为在一个设计项目中最重要的环节是什么?
去了解清楚设计的brief, 搞清楚你为什么设计。

11.工作中哪个部分给你带来最大的成就感?
拥有像Roger那样的客户,给你信任与自由,同时也很多的乐子。

12.有何建议给年轻设计师们?
注意细节的同时不要忘了整体与你的设计目的,工作时尝试面带微笑,然后时不时来个咖啡休息时间:)

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INTERVIEW:

1. What is the best moment of the day for you?
Breakfast! I looove long excessive breakfasts preferably in the weekend:)

2. What is your current album or book or movie?
For music it’s a mix from Spotify. A lot of jazz at home, upbeat disco when running. Unfortunately too few books but listen to a few Swedish podcast on a weekly basis.

3. Where do you get your news from?
Blogs, instagram and podcasts. less and less newspapers actually

4. What was your childhood dream? What about now?
I wanted to be a veterinarian or a flight attendant…:) now I wanna stay healthy, happy and surround myself with inspiring people

5. What made you to move to Asia and is it a hard decision for you at the time?
My friend called me and said she had a job for me in Taiwan. I hardly knew what Taiwan was, haha. but I had been in HK the year before and though it couldn’t be too different:) I was not hard for me at all to leave, i loved adventures at that time. The older i get the more coward i get.

6. What is your most memorable Shanghai moment?
It’s a mix from of my wild and crazy single party years being out clubbing to early morning to the daily life and connection to the people like chatting with the “turtle man” in the little alley next to our office.

7. Tell us about your favorite city…
I think I have 3 favorites: NYC for the art, design and style. Stockholm for the Scandinavian beauty both in nature and design. Shanghai for the amazing people you meet here and the crazy buzz.

8. If you could bring one thing from your hometown to Shanghai, what would that be? (Could be food, culture, music or even people…)
The nature (forrest) and closeness to it

9. As an international design agency manager, what is a good design in your eyes?
Generally I would say the user experience but when I buy things for my home it’s also an emotional connection. I like design with either high quality material or where there has been attention to details.

10. What do you think of the most important part in a design project?
To understand the design brief and why you are designing.

11. Which part of your job has given you the most satisfaction?
Having clients like Roger where you are given trust and freedom while having lots of fun

12. Do you have any advice for the young designers?
Pay attention to details without loosing the overview understanding in why you design something and try to smile while working and take “Fika” breaks:)

 

One Eye Cat Meets People

The realm of tactile – a ceramic story with Dryden Wells

“I am a simple man” – this is what I overheard in Dryden Wells’s conversation to a student in his ceramic class, I think it has perfectly described his character in general.

Moving from America to China, only for one thing – ceramic art & design. Now Dryden is a professional ceramic artist based in Shanghai. He found himself in the realm of tactile, and his artwork follows his simplicity driven character in a sculptural and experimental way. Meanwhile, Dryden is also teaching at The Pottery Workshop on a regular basis sharing his great passion for ceramic to his students and guide them to find their own creative style.

By experiencing the class myself, I found it also very helpful for stress relief. The process of shaping clay by hands reflects your current mood, it allows you to slow down and gradually find out your hidden emotion. Clay is such an interesting medium which is flexible but easy to fall apart without enough care, it can become any form you want with enough patient and focus.  I guess it is the same philosophy when it comes to dealing with life…

The following photos are showing Dryden’s recently installation artwork making.

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Q: What was your childhood dream? What about now?
A: I remember being young and the feeling of “not wanting to grow older.” Wanting to enjoy my youth and that time of life. As life went on, I realized, whatever it is that I did in life, I wanted to be working with my hands. I spent a lot of my adolescence working with my dad and younger brother, painting houses. As a teacher, my father had summers off and would use this time along with any other free time, to pick-up extra jobs for supplemental income. The three of us working together continued on for years until I eventually left for Graduate School in Texas at the age of 25. In retrospect, I have always seen this part of my youth as critical to why I now work with clay. Whether painting a house, building a table or working with clay, I realized early on that I need to be doing something tactile, something that I could stand back from at the end of the day and appreciate. Working with clay and working with my hands continues to be the driving force in my life, but as years go on, my appreciation for family and the desire to someday have one of my own, only seems to grow stronger.

Q: What makes you to go back to graduate school studying ceramic design after being an Art teacher in elementary school?
A: After finishing my undergraduate degrees, I decided to teach elementary school art at a great school in an amazing school district…very supportive of the arts. I was very happy in this position. However, the opportunity to go to grad. school for Ceramics, an opportunity that had also been offered to me the year prior, was presented to me again during the Winter of that first year of teaching. My parents, while very supportive of my teaching career, encouraged me to quit my job and go back to grad. school to study Ceramics. They knew ceramics was my passion and being that I was not married, had no children and no financial debt, that then, that moment in my life, was a perfect time to do it. They told me, if after going back to school I was not happy and wanted to return to teaching, there would always be kids to teach…it would always be something I could return to if that is what I truly wanted. I feel very very fortunate to have such wise, loving and supportive parents.

Q: Is ceramic design popular in the States? Is there a big difference between the field in the States and China?
A: I don’t think Ceramic Design is nearly as popular in the States as it is in Europe. . There are many university Ceramic programs across the United States, however, very few of them teach “ceramic deign.” Most all are geared towards the fine arts or craft.

Q: Please share with us some details about your current project and where did you get the inspiration from?
A: As a variation of previous work, the chair or table leg form has recently become an important part of my creative process and vocabulary. The original old wooden forms that I have either been given to me, found or bought, not only are references of home and family for me, but also have markings that speak to their own individual histories. In this specific series of works, I use molds of the chair / table legs to slip-cast new forms in porcelain. Because of the softness of the porcelain when being taken from the mold, I am able to alter and stack the forms, blurring the original identity of the each object, taking something that is associated with being rigid and hard, and making it appear soft and flexible.

Q: Does ceramic design follow trends? Do you follow certain trend?
A: I think like any other creative industry, there are definitely trends in ceramics, often easy to identify. I never intentionally follow trends, however, this does not mean that I am not influenced by them. I, like most people, am a product of my environment, and as an artist, create work influenced by and in response to it. Working in the arts, specifically in the ceramics industry, I get to see a lot of exciting new work, ideas and techniques. I never intentionally follow trends but there are times when I realize aspects of them have appeared in my work.

Q: Please share your recent book or music…
A: I am currently reading, “What the Buddha Taught”(non-fiction). Previously, I read, “The Sex Lives of Cannibals”(fiction) and “Sex at Dawn”(non-fiction). I don’t have special interest in books about sex, just happened to be the way it worked out. I will say though, I prefer nonfiction over fiction. In regards to music, I have been trying out a new album by “Dawn of Midi.”

Q: If you could bring one thing from your hometown St. Louis, Missouri to Shanghai, what would that be? (Could be food, culture, music or even people…)
A: No question about it, I would bring my family. But if I were also able to get to bring a second thing, I would bring Cardinals Baseball (Hometown baseball team)

Links for more in other medias:
http://www.ceramicsnow.org/tagged/Dryden_Wells_Ceramics
http://www.dailyartmuse.com/2010/08/11/dryden-wells-ceramic-multiples-imply-movement/

One Eye Cat Meets People

The photography dream – Adrian Fu

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Adrian Fu is a fashion/portrait photographer and running a photography studio called Air Studio based in Taipei. Last year I got the chance to visit the studio and luckily ran into a celebrity shoot. Adrian has a HR management education background, but he always has a photography dream. After he graduated from university, he went to assist a fashion photographer for 3 years before he became a solo photographer, and started his own studio working along with a lot of excellent photographers in Taipei. I could really feel the strong energy coming from the photography dream that day, and it got my blood up by hearing the flash light recharging beeping sound.

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Adrian’s words from above:
The most thing I enjoy in the day is.. vacant my self and sleep, haha.

Below is  a photo of me trying to look into my dream…

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