shao fan: contemporary chinese furniture
shao fan: contemporary chinese furniture shao fan: contemporary chinese furniture
jan 09, 2012

shao fan: contemporary chinese furniture

shao fan: contemporary chinese furniture ‘project no. 1 of 2004 chair’ acrylic, catalpa image courtesy of shao fan




chinese painter, sculptor and designer shao fan was born in 1964 into a family of artists. he is the son of parents who were painters and professors at the chinese central academy of fine arts in beijing. ai weiwei and shao fan, close friends, both claim to have first done reconstructive furniture. their sculptural work combine traditional chinese furniture techniques with modern day design practices. both were the first chinese artists to explore the boundaries between visual art and design.

‘steel chair’ steel image courtesy of shao fan



shao fan studied wood carving and porcelain at the art and craft research institute in beijing, his series of chairs are re-appropriated pieces derived from classical ming style furniture, merged with a contemporary aesthetic of clean, geometric lines. some of which integrate heavy, black, angular shapes which in a way mimic chinese ideograms – ‘it is the fundamental harmony and equality between humanity and nature’ that are aspired here.

‘work no. 4 of year 2005’ acrylic, catalpa image courtesy of shao fan




shao fan’s work can be found in the collections of such international cultural institutions as the V&A victoria and albert museum (UK), the tomioka museum (japan), the metropolitan museum (USA), and the peabody museum (USA) among others.


shao fan discussed his work as part of the conferences at business of design week 2011 in hong kong.

‘ming ladder’ chicken wing wood image courtesy of shao fan


‘stool’ catalpa image courtesy of shao fan


‘king chair’ elm, catalpa image courtesy of shao fan


‘moon’ elm, catalpa, MDF image courtesy of shao fan


painter, sculptor and designer shao fan portrait © designboom


BODW is asia’s leading annual event on design, innovation and branding is organized by the hong kong design centre (HKDC) since 2002. bringing the best of the global design world to hong kong, the week-long event encourages businesses to unleash the power of design by focusing on the vital relationship and complex interplay between design and business.

  • The interplay between shades and lights give these contemporary furniture items a great depth, some look as if they are floating in the air. It’s very rare to achieve such a close encounter between visual arts and furniture design. Magnificient work.

    Gérard Steiner

    Gérard says:
  • Such a beautiful work ! Wow! So nice to see traditional chinese furniture elements with this very modern, innovative and such an artistic work

    Iwona Klasicki says:
  • Beautiful!

    Li Rui says:

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