Book List of the Week

The Books That Inspire Four Designers from China and Hong Kong

September 8, 2014

Intertwined Chairs from Freeman Lau’s “Chairplay” series, 2008

Four designers from China and Hong—each from a different area of design—are highlighted this week. They include product and graphic designer Freeman Lau, interior designer Ed Ng, fashion designer Guo Pei, and architect Rocco Yim. Also see our list of 15 Books on China and Design.

Freeman Lau's Book List

When I was growing up in Hong Kong, books played a vital role in providing a glimpse of what life was like in mainland China. Back then, China was still a closed country and we had no photographs or visual reference points as to what life was like there. History books, for example, were composed of monotonous prose, which made history classes extremely boring. It was through publications like the Wuxia novels (traditional Chinese fiction centered on the martial arts) that we imagined the mountains of China, the scenery, and how people dwelled there.

Ed Ng's Book List

The books on my list are an extension of my design philosophies and beliefs. As designers, we create beautiful pieces that inspire and move us, and these books are the platform for which we can express these thoughts, whether it is through psychology or lateral or creative thinking.

Guo Pei's Book List

Ever since my childhood, I have loved reading books. Reading even just one book makes me feel as if I have been on a journey of a thousand miles.

When I was growing up in China in the 1980s, however, books were really scarce. There were very few titles available on the market and books from abroad were unheard of. Low living standards also meant that published material was mostly unaffordable for the masses. Some publications were even priced as high as $100-200!

Rocco Yim's Book List

I love reading books. But I read them for relaxation, for fun, and for stimulating the mind, in that order—which is why I hardly ever take on serious subject matter in books. I value unpredictability, creative uniqueness, and beauty in writing, and I rarely “read” books on design and architecture.

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