Eastern European and Asian designers make their way into the Central European market in the Global Lifestyles hall at IMM Cologne. Global Lifestyles offers an entry point for global furniture manufacturers like Chinese company U-Like, which released several tables and chairs at the fair. U-Like is working against China’s reputation for cheap production through its dedication to quality control. The brand inspects every order before loading, uses durable materials and registers ten to thirty original designs with EUIPO each year. U-Like designer Li Bin spoke with ArchiExpo e-Magazine about his new pieces and China on the global design stage.
ArchiExpo e-Magazine: What designs of yours can we see for the first time at the U-Like booth in Cologne?
Li Bin: We chose to promote a new series of table and chair sets. The chairs feature Hessian fabric which is comfortable and brings visually beautiful lines that enrich the new product. There are 10 new dining chairs and 4-5 sets of dining tables in this series, all of which have their own artistic beauty.
ArchiExpo e-Magazine: What materials did you use?
Li Bin: The backrest of the dining chair is made of Hessian and leather. The smooth leather in combination with the textured Hessian creates a soft-rough look. For the legs, I chose anthracite gray for some models and wooden transfer for other models. This type of leg looks like real wood but is made of metal making the models more affordable without affecting the aesthetic. For the table, I used tabletop tiles and the process of affixing veneer, a combination which is in alignment with contemporary style.
ArchiExpo e-Magazine: Where do you source the materials from?
Li Bin: All the materials are manufactured by the U-Like factory. Every process is strictly controlled and strives to be refined. This is our production advantage and a source of inspiration for our designers.
ArchiExpo e-Magazine: Do you think China can become known internationally for a new contemporary aesthetic?
Li Bin: I am totally convinced it can! Regarding China, furniture design is constantly developing and progressing as the global economy accelerates and people’s consumption levels increase. The demand for furniture is also growing, and single-function furniture can no longer satisfy contemporary consumers. There is a greater desire for new aesthetics and diverse and personalized usages, which has inspired Chinese designers. It is necessary to consider a holistic perspective and to broaden the horizon by integrating Chinese design with global design. Only in this way can the traditional design concepts collide with a new look. I firmly believe that China’s new modern style can be internationally recognized.