Born to be an artist of interior design

As a precocious artist, Wang Changxing was expected to follow in the footsteps of his famous painter father. The 30-year-old decided against that to become an interior designer. 

As a precocious artist, Wang Changxing was expected to follow in the footsteps of his famous painter father and become an artist. The 30-year-old decided against that to become an interior designer. It’s fair to say his career path has run quite smoothly since making that choice.

A Ph.D. from the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University, Dual MDs from Politecnico de Milano in Italy and a visiting scholar at Parson the New School for Design in New York reveal that Wang had the best of what education could offer.

It looked at one stage as if Wang was about to carve out a career as an architect. He didn’t because he believed his creativity would have been restricted and being an interior designer gave him “more freedom to pour out all my imagination and creativity in designing the space.”

Wang’s Nong Studio in an old warehouse along the Suzhou Creek reveal a real sense of historical place. Wang compliments that with some carefully selected furniture and a huge shelf that displays his collection.

Q and A

Your father is a famous painter and you began painting at the age of 6. But why you choose architecture?

Yes, I started painting as a small kid. But it was too difficult for a naughty boy to sit for hours in front of the table. But I could play blocks for hours at that time. It appears that I liked building houses early as a child.

Why did you decide to focus on interior design?

As an architect you have many limits and requirements from a customer, including the size of the building or the material to be used. But interior design is different. It leaves me much space to fully express my idea, concept and style in design.

What is your advantage in interior design?

As I studied architecture, I am much clearer about the inner structure and the relationship between spaces.

Who is your favorite architect?

A person always grows, and for me, I have different idols during different periods. For example, I admired Tadao Ando, the world-famous Japanese architect, at university, but now it is Oscar Niemeyer, the Brazilian architect, who is known as “Picasso in the architecture area.”

You have renovated several old architectural jobs in the city. What’s the biggest challenge in these projects?

For example, the old building with an Art Deco style on Wukang Road, its interior structure was almost rotten. The first priority was to reinforce the building and then solve the leaking and the pipe problems. In fact, the inside structure, such as the columns and beams, couldn’t be removed because of historical protection, so I had to find a good solution to make them appear natural and in harmony with my designs.

It is said that you are quite picky in selecting your clients, is that true?

Ha ha. I don’t work with clients who don’t share a similar value as mine. Sure, people are not the same, but if you choose me, it means you are accepting my design style. Recently, I could have earned big money by turning a residential apartment into a nightclub. I couldn’t convince myself to do it. I would feel shamed if people knew the apartment was designed by me.

You said that you have travelled to 56 countries around the world, what does travel mean to you?

Design is a job that would make you “pour out” everything in your own mind, but one can’t always be giving out without absorbing it in. So travelling for me is a process to absorb new things, new ideas and even a new atmosphere.

You furthered your study in Milan and New York. Is there any difference in the practice from designers between the places?

The Western designers consider more about the function of the interior space and they treat their design as a whole. For example, the furniture, the carpet, the greenery, the tableware, the tea set, the lights and the artworks as a whole in their designs.

Why did you name your studio as “Nong Studio”?

Nong, in Shanghai dialect, has two meanings. One means you, and the other means play. I don’t want to treat design as something serious, for me, it means fun and joy.

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