#Interview# Interior design and what to expect from Momo Lau

#Interview# Interior design and what to expect from Momo Lau
Its 2017! A new year, and as it goes in Shanghai, new restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels and more. That means new exciting places with amazing (and also terrible) interior designs. But what can we actually expect in 2017? Meet interior designer Momo Lau, talented and funny.
Momo Lau
Graduated in Environmental Science in Nanjing Momo became curious on how nature and residential spaces can ‘work’ together as a functional space but with respect for the environmental footprint. This curiosity made her take a job in the Design Industry 8 years ago.
Project: Yunnan Restaurant
(Designed by Momo Lau & JIN STUDIO)
source: Momo Lau
There are three owners who come from Yunnan. By fate, they’ve gathered in Shanghai and have created a new vision for what they wanted to do.”
source: Momo Lau
There are well established notions of what a ‘Yunnan restaurant’ looks like, or what ambience it should have. We didn’t want to overlap in styling in any way to other Yunnan offerings in Shanghai, but at the same time we wanted to honor the diversity in colors and styles that the province has.
source: Momo Lau

What are the most important factors when designing the interior for a certain space? 

Design always aims to resolve a problem that might or might not exist. Interior design can be very functional, but it can also be very ‘personal’ and‘ artistic’. Depending on space, use, location, natural lighting, construction limitations, budget, etc – a creative concept can be adapted to fit within those requirements. What guides the design is always the understanding of both people and space and the relationship between those two is where good design is at.
source: Ammo restaurant Hong Kong
     “In retail or F&B for example, guests are diverse and the purpose of the space is wildly different, so the design strategy approaches from a different angle. for a commercial space like a restaurant, we need to think from the outside and slowly dig into the details inside. We try to think as ‘guests’ and craft a small story that the space is able to tell. How will they react to the facade? How will they appreciate the details in the door? Will they even have time to look at it? What’s the first thing people would see as they walk in? What’s something we can give them to talk about? What’s the one thing we want them to be mesmerized with? A lot of these questions, being asked with the guests in mind, allows us to design a memorable space.”

How do you get inspiration for your design? 

To me it always comes from order and structures in nature. Patterns in natural forests, strong lines in flat stones, etc. I think Interior Design is different from other areas in the creative industry because a central inspiration rarely happens.
“you can’t have a singular ‘piece’ that originates or represents your work. Art inspiration is very solid and directional for many artists but for interior design there is no simple hit. There are too many things to consider. It actually requires you to be very rational from early on. Whatever kind of space you will design, first of all you need to understand the space. Where does the light come from? How is the air flow inside of the space? can the wall be knocked off? After the foundation, you need to add personality to the space, make it alive. This part of inspiration mostly comes from what I have seen, what I have smelled and what I have touched.

What is good and bad interior design? 

There is no single answer to this question. It Depends on the space – If it’s a home, good design is the one that represents you as a person. If your living room is a representation of you (you’re active, so central living area is room for Yoga, or if you’re a gamer, it allows a swivel chair to align with a big rotating TV, or if the long board on the wall is reclaimed wood that fits with your view of nature, etc). For commercial intention, if the space can attract more people to come in, share their photos online, admire the elegant details of it, increase footprint and bring more profit – that’s good design.
What feeling this design gives you?
Bad design is when you walk into a place that doesn’t feel right. Whatever feels weird, it’s probably because of its design. First judgements are important, and they tell you whether the space is doing good for you or not.” 
What about this design?

Urban style is very popular in the latest few years, especially in Shanghai. Do you think the urban style has been too widespread and starts to become old-fashioned?

I don’t think style will become old fashion. A venue can become old-fashioned if the style isn’t presented well, but that style is very fitting for Shanghai. Concrete, exposed brick, decayed hints, etc. It’s a reminder of what’s underneath the space, and its history. It goes very well with certain lines of businesses, but it doesn’t work for everybody.” 
source: retail design blog

What do you believe will be the new trend for the upcoming 5 years in interior design? 

Trends in China are interesting. Several years ago the design market was a bit crazy. Marble floors and columns, crystal, gold light, mirrors, etc. All those material that could present luxury are everywhere. There is nothing wrong with the material itself, and nothing wrong with being luxury. It was just overwhelming. The bad consequence of this trend for some businesses is that they wanted to use the cheapest materials to present the most expensive value for whoever to visit. Showing off, is something they (most) like to do. That was a terrible trend.
source: 4replica
The trend nowadays is about functional and friendly spaces. Perhaps triggered by technological companies, co working spaces, cafes, etc. Now you can see nice functional spaces everywhere, but that speaks very different design languages. This is a good trend. A good balance between functional spaces with branded elements that keep distinction. Luxury still exists, but is no longer what pours through the walls of a commercial building.
source: Design-milk.com
I’m not qualified to predict the new trends for the upcoming 5 to 10 years, but I hope it’s environmental friendly and it considers the big generation gap. I wish we continue to show off but a better side of us. How healthy do we eat, live, work? How friendly is this space for the full family? Is that marble? I don’t care. That might define a different way of designing.
Project: English Centre
source: Momo Lau
This English Centre is a space for students to learn english. This is not just a space to provide the shelter to study, this is a place to study in a fun mood.
source: Momo Lau
“I worked with a central team from London to design the space according to the Chinese market, and to ensure the design language is consistent all over the China.
source: Momo Lau
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