A Finn, 'Hungry in Shanghai'
Who is She?
Mona Weber is an entrepreneur, interior designer and the founder of several brands and companies. Born in Finland, Mona grew up in Helsinki and did an exchange year in America, exposing her to a new way of life, design and creative thinking. She founded her first design company ‘COCO’ straight after completing her degree in business administration in 2001. In 2004 she moved to Switzerland, where she completed degrees in Design and Product Management.
Since then Mona has launched several businesses including, DaMoDa and GTD Services, offering everything from design and production to trend research and lifestyle services. Her passion for design, heavily influenced by her Scandinavian roots has made Mona a sought-after name in Europe. In 2018 she moved to Shanghai and the fast pace of the city is a perfect place to jump-start a creative process while absorbing all the metropolis has to offer, leading to her latest project.
Please share with us some of your works, and name the one you are most proud of.
I have worked on various interior and retail design projects for different companies such as the Interio brand. Designing whole retail concepts and products from scratch has been the most challenging and rewarding experience in my life so far. Designing ceramics, cutlery and glass products has allowed me to travel all over the world while visiting factories, and working with manufacturers on my designs has been very exciting and helped shape and alter my views on design, especially what is possible with new materials.
I have a love for ceramic design because the material gives so much and it’s possible to experiment while creating small batches in an inexpensive way. Creating daily essentials like cutlery also makes you think about the function as well as design. It’s always exciting creating something completely new, you feel proud when you can hold the finished product in your hands that started as just an idea and a sketch.
Are you currently involved with any project?
My current project is a newly launched dining guide called “Hungry in Shanghai.” The restaurant scene in Shanghai is very inspiring but can be also a little overwhelming and challenging. I saw there was a need for a stylish guide that would fit into today’s social media-focused world, one that would help people discover not only great food but also the mesmerizing and beautiful interiors the different restaurants, bars and cafes they have here in the city. The guide also helps readers uncover some of the hidden gems that aren’t so easy to find.
I selected 40 different restaurants, cafes and bars from Shanghai, including some of the popular classics and a few undiscovered treasures to be featured in the newest addition to the “Hungry In” series.
What’s your design style?
My Scandinavia roots show through in everything I design, so there is always a focus on simplicity, minimalism and functionality. My designs also include Swiss precision that’s influenced by many different cultures. Clear lines, light colors and inspiration from Finnish nature.
Where are you most creative?
When I travel I realize there is so much more than I can imagine, and it pushes me forward, to try new things and take on new challenges — including looking for the new trends. Both historical and modern things give me inspiration and I find mixing the two always leads to new and interesting results. I learned from a young how to read changes in trends and see developments that could lead to new ideas.
What does your home mean to you?
Home for me is where ever I find inspiration, feel comfortable and where I can express myself. Design is a process and you always need a space to be able to freely explore ideas and create.
What do you collect?
Designing interior products, I developed a passion for ceramics. Ceramic is a very interesting material as it opens up endless possibilities for the design. I don’t think a person can ever have enough ceramic. When I see new forms and colors, I just have to have it and I enjoy my morning breakfast and coffee out what ever is my current favorite.
Where would you like to go most in Shanghai?
I like exploring and experiencing the diversity of the city. It’s a mix of modern architecture and historical design. There is so much to explore, and it’s exciting to live in such a lively city — there’s amazing speed and development of new concepts and designs here.
What will be the next big design trend?
The past is still inspiring the interior design trends, especially the 1970s. The 1970s night disco club in combination with the luxury, velvet and volumes from the 1980s. I think the big new trends are based on recycling materials, alternative technologies and a well-balanced approach between nature and technology.