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Nelson Chen

Nelson Chen is a London-based industrial designer with a furniture and architecture design background. Adept at understanding abstract concepts, Nelson often takes abstract ideas and feelings and turns them into beautiful yet rational designs.

Low sofa set with "Wo Ta" unit on the side.
Back view of users using the low sofa set.

How can we reinterpret modern East-Asian furniture?

Ready-made modern East-Asian furniture are hard to find, yet ironically East-Asian style interior designs are quite popular even outside of East-Asia. These interior designs promote spaces and functionality that are quite unique to East-Asia such as the wò tà and washitsu room. However, these spaces are usually achieved through built-in elements or made-to-order furniture, excluding a large majority of people who can’t afford buying a home or investing in high-end furniture. Jiedi Sofa and Wota Bench are two designs aimed to address this problem.

Two "Wo Ta" unit forming window front seating.

Inspired by the concept of Oku, the Wota Bench aims to create unique East-Asian spaces like the wò tà and the washitsu room. The design is proportioned to function individually as a shoe bench or in number to form a bay window seating, Wo Ta, or a Washitsu room. The modularity of this design allows users to create layering of spaces via storage platforms, which are usually only done through interior renovations rather than furniture setups.

Users playing cards on low sofa set.

Inspired by the concept of Movement Space, the Jiedi Sofa exists as a hybrid between a sofa and a day bed. By removing the back and sides of the sofa, the design hopes to accommodate a wider range of usage, such as napping, snacking and gaming. No longer having directionality and permanence, the sofa is free to be placed and moved as needed by the user.

East-Asian Hybrid Modernity
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Nelson Chen

Nelson Chen is a London-based industrial designer with a furniture and architecture design background. Adept at understanding abstract concepts, Nelson often takes abstract ideas and feelings and turns them into beautiful yet rational designs.

Back view of users using the low sofa set.

How can we reinterpret modern East-Asian furniture?

Ready-made modern East-Asian furniture are hard to find, yet ironically East-Asian style interior designs are quite popular even outside of East-Asia. These interior designs promote spaces and functionality that are quite unique to East-Asia such as the wò tà and washitsu room. However, these spaces are usually achieved through built-in elements or made-to-order furniture, excluding a large majority of people who can’t afford buying a home or investing in high-end furniture. Jiedi Sofa and Wota Bench are two designs aimed to address this problem.