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Michael Tsang

New York, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

  • Final Board (Draft)

    Arts & Culture


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  • Mid - Review Summary


    As I have not yet made and tested my prototype yet, this is what the critics said:

    -The majority of people were unsure about how durable and strong the structure is.

    -They wish the wood color / texture would resemble traditional Chinese furniture.

    -Reference the traditional Chinese furniture joinery for strength/stability.

    -Make the prototype immediately to find out about any problems that may arise.

    -Don’t design without knowing how the structure is assembled.

    -Rethink the proportion of the chair to suit modern consumers.

    -Research the standard price and size of ikea furniture and other popular furniture brands.

    -Include more design possibilities for consumers so they can further customize the furniture at home, e.g. add or take out components.

    -A critic said my system idea is very western- Is that what the Chinese people need?

    -Other methods (aside from wood stain and plastic laminate) for placing color on the furniture

    -Improve the comfort of the chair by finding a balance between the system and the end product- the system should be as good as the product.

    -Corn based lamination -> to be researched

    -Rethink some of my design options- make a connection between the modern and traditional style?

    -Make the design options unified so it reads like one brand.

    My next step is to build my prototype ASAP and complete all the above mentioned suggestions.

    Happy Spring Break!!

  • Midballmid_132_

    My mission is to renew the appreciation of traditional Chinese furniture by introducing it with a modern twist into the contemporary home of the growing middle class Chinese in urban China.

    Presentation boards The color of my chair is really off, please click the chair model image for the right color.

    System scenario

    1/4 scale chair model

    Bamboo plywood 1 Bamboo plywood 2

  • Mid review board.

    Arts & Culture



    I am in the process of making changes for my board after today's silent review.

    Thesis board

    System scenario

  • Storyboard_177_

    My mission is to promote cultural awareness through home furniture design for urban dwellers in China.

    As China continues to modernize, the urbanization of its demographic and the emergence of a middle-class are in rapid process. The associated demand in city residential and interior furnishing are also surging. However according to research, more people now prefer western-style furniture over the traditional due partly to the influence of the media such as television, advertisment, etc, that provides exposure to the western world. The phenomenon of this is a decline in the appreciation for Chinese culture and history. The ubiquitous influence of contemporary design has been flooding the market and the traditional value of Chinese design is marginalized.

    The target audience of my design would be the new home buyers in cities. My objective is to eliminate the interpretation that modern living equals modern furniture. I want to instill pride and appreciation in the consumer by designing modern furniture that has Chinese traditional values. Furniture design is an area where personal involvement is always required to fully appreciate a product; personal experience is likely to create bonding. Through modern craftsmanship, forms, materials, and finishes, I would like to usher traditional Chinese aesthetics into the 21st century while keeping it practical, affordable, and functional. It is important for the user to be aware of their roots and understand China’s cultural identity...

  • Comparison_177_

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    A comparison with other existing Chinese style furniture out in the market.

  • User Testing – NFP


    Users for 1st test? I will be doing the first round of testing on members of my NFP, who are Chinese.

    What criteria will you use to select the individuals who will test your prototype? I will be testing both the ergonomics as well as the aesthetics/design of my prototype. Therefore, I need two different types of users to conduct the test. I will select the group myself, and below are the specifications: Testing the design: because I am designing specifically for the Chinese in China, I need to conduct the user testing on Chinese people. However, I will not be able to travel to China to conduct the testing, so I need individuals (specifically Chinese) in the New York area who understand Chinese design, history, culture, and tastes. This group of individuals will be members of my NFP, and will remain the same for all three tests. Testing the ergonomics: I will test the ergonomics on individuals randomly selected in a public space (hence the group will be different for each test), as well as the above- mentioned members of my NFP.

    What type of environment will you test them in? Because I am designing home furniture, I will need to conduct the tests indoors, but not necessarily in a home. I will need a table in the space, and the user must feel relaxed and comfortable, almost as though they were at home. I do not have a definitive space; it will depend on where the members of my NFP are able and willing to meet with me, which may be their office.

    What type of relationship do...

  • Survey_177_

    Pros and Cons of traditional Chinese furniture and western furniture - This information is based on the survey and my observation. This would help me to understand my design direction.

    Traditional Chinese furniture:


    1) absence of hardware

    2) complicated joinery for structural purposes

    3) Use of wood reduces temperature build-up

    4) Material is durable


    1) hand-crafted ornamentation and joinery, which requires labor and skills -> increases the price

    2) cannot be mass-produced

    3) rigid and uncomfortable

    4) not environmentally sustainable due to the harvest of exotic woods, such as red wood…etc.

    5) generates a lot of waste during production

    Western / contemporary furniture:


    1) innovative use of materials

    2) multi-purpose function

    3) easy to mass produce

    4) more comfortable than traditional Chinese furniture


    1) not durable due to the use of cheap materials

    2) variation in quality due to mass production.

    3) Materials are not environmentally sustainable

    Re-designing traditional Ming furniture with a modern twist is still the priority of my design criteria. However, I still have other important considerations that need to be addressed that directly affect the consumer’s consumption choice. According to the survey I conducted, price and ergonomics are the main concerns besides the aesthetics, which determines whether the buyer falls in love with or walks away from the furniture. I will meet with Chinese Insti...

  • Thesis Timeline.



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  • Cooperation_177_

    Firstly, I was lucky to get in touch with a Chinese design and history teacher at the New School. He is willing to help me in terms of my ‘Chinese’ design; he has the knowledge to tell me if the data that I collect is accurate or not. I had a meeting with him this past Thursday and he gave me some feedback that will help me expand my thesis topic more.

    1. Find the difference between modern and contemporary design.
    2. I did not know that 80% of the Chinese are still living in rural areas, and only 20% of them are in the cities.
    3. When I mention “Cultural Awareness in China”, the term culture has to be more specific.
    4. Define what is middle-class- I need to come up with a user profile that shows this is the average Chinese middle-class and I also need to mention which part of China I am looking at. Then I need to find detailed information of that specific province. He also gave me a list of readings that provide useful data.
    5. He also shared an interesting fact that although Ikea furniture is very expensive in China, it is still a popular trend.
    6. CONSUMPTION (What kind and where do the Chinese middle class purchase home furniture.)
    7. I need images and numbers to support my arguments, such as how many people move from villages to cities each year.

    A Design Charette with Tao Huang He is a professor from China who teaches product design at Columbia College in Chicago. He looked over my design brief and gave me his opinion on the trends of Chinese traditional furniture and provided ...

My Interests

  • Industrial Design
  • Environmental Design
  • Communication Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Audio/Visual Design