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Michael Tsang

New York, United States

Product Design

Member since September 08, 2008

  • My 3 proposals!


    I say one

    You say two

    Who says three?

    1. Most of the Chinese traditional furniture do not allow users to disassemble the piece. The furniture is usually bulky and hard to carry around. In this piece, I combined a traditional form and added the folding function( for easy storage).

    2. The design is based on ergonomics, the study of human spine. It's similar to a swiveling office chair, but it incorporates the traditional craftsmanship and working technique. In terms of materials, it remains wooden material and finishes. Users are able to spin their chair and push the backrest backward to provide 100% comfortability.

    3. The combinations of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) and transformation. Firstly, To encourage customers to set up their furniture (the idea of Ikea furniture). Secondly, due to the limited housing space. it is important to think about how they transform a piece into another piece of furniture (Functionality).

  • "A fifth of the world’s population – 1.5 billion people – are Chinese. In 1982, only one in five Chinese people lived in cities; by 2000 it was up to a third. China has a rising middle class with consumer expectations, supported by an economic growth rate of 11.3 per cent last year. "(Homes & Property)

    "A Chinese middle-class, now estimated to number between 100 million and 150 million people. Though definitions vary-household income of at least &10.000 a year is one standard, middle-class families tend to own an apartment and a car, to eat out and take vacations, and to be familiar with foreign brands and ideas." (National Geographic)

    "According to officials with the China National Furniture Assn., which celebrated its 20th anniversary in September, China furniture industry exports rose 28% during the first half of 2008." (Furniture Today)

    “Furniture imports to China rose 33% during the first half of 2008, according to a statement citing the results of the Shanghai show.” (Furniture Today)

    “Within a few years, China will become the fastest growing consumer market in the world for furniture,” the report said. “With more than 10 million new wealthy people living in China, it is further expected that up-market (higher-end) furniture sales will continue to show strong market growth.” (Furniture Today)

    According to Trade Council of Denmark, China‘s furniture and interior design section. "The Chinese getting more ...

  • This is China!

    Arts & Culture

  • NFPs

    Arts & Culture

    I am currently keeping in touch with AIGA XCD. I had a phone interview with the president, Zelda Harrsion, however, she preferred me to send her the questionnaire and help me to find someone who may speak well to my topic. ( I sent my questionnaire and I am actually waiting for her response) She also said she will refer me to other colleagues that are based in NYC and China. FYI, I have planned to go to Beijing, Shanghai or may be XI'an this Christmas. Zelda has recommended me some galleries and organizations in Beijing, which is a good chance for me to gather as much information as possible.

    This week: I need to find more research for me topic at New School research library. Also, I am still trying to reach another NFP, i am having a hard time to schedule a meeting with her (because of her busy schedule). Hopefully, I will able to contact her this week.

    NFPs's missions: The AIGA Center for Cross-Cultural Design (AIGA XCD) to foster greater communication between designers across cultures, as well as a better understanding of the interwoven experience of design and culture in our lives.

    China Institute in America advances a deeper understanding of China through programs in education, culture, business and art in the belief that cross-cultural understanding strengthens our global community.

    My Questionnaire for NFPs

    • Do you feel that Chinese people are opting for Western design and neglecting their own?

    • Do you feel product, architecture and interior designs are becoming i...

  • Clarifications!!

    Arts & Culture

    My mission is to promote cultural awareness for new urban dwellers in China, especially the middle class, through everyday designs for their home.

    I plan to focus on furniture design because this is an area where a design has to be personally experienced in order to be fully appreciated. When talking about a piece of traditional Chinese furniture, people tend to think of stern, uncomfortable but highly ornate elements. Through modern process, form, materials, and finishes, I would like to bring forth the traditional Chinese aesthetics to the 21st century, while keeping it practical, affordable, and functional. It is important for them to be aware of their roots and understand China's cultural identity, in this case is through home design.

    Cultural Awareness in China I chose the shape of China as an outline to show the relationship of myself, Nfps, urban dwellers and China's manufacturers.

    For further understanding please click here I decided to illustrate this neatly based on Len's marker drawings. I thought it's an effective way for me and others to understand my topic better by providing diagrams.

  • I sent my survey to 50 people and 13 of them responded. My questions are all open-ended questions, which is a good way for them to share their ideas and show how they felt about their own cultures.

    In my survey, I asked the following questions (including the selected results):

    What is your ethnicity? Chinese, Korean, Jewish, American…

    Do you know much about you own culture? 4 persons said they know enough about it / 3 persons said they know a pretty basic amount / and the rest said either “nope” or “kind of”.

    How do you identify your own culture?

    • “By the language, food, physical appearance, how People dress and speak, entertainment...”
    • “I identify through music, and hearing the language spoken.”
    • “Through my parents and through other people of the same ethnic background as me.”
    • “A nice civilized society with good”

    How is your heritage and culture important to you?

    • “It is important to me because I would try to carry on the traditions to the next generation and educate them.”
    • “That identifies who I am”
    • “I feel devoid of heritage so I need to start a new one.” / “I don't feel that much connection”
    • “It provides me with a framework on how I interact with different people. My pride in my culture shows the values that I hold close two”

    List two objects or products that represent your own culture and why? Food, eating utensil, festival’s ornamentations, traditional buildings and craftsmanship.

    What are some positive and neg...

  • My Matrix Relations!



    I connect all the important people and values that are related to my thesis topic (Cultural awareness in China).

    click here for a larger image

  • Design Examples

    Arts & Culture


    -Ouroussoff, Ncolai. "In Modern China, 'Little Kingdoms' for the People". The New York Times. Oct 13, 2008. link here

    “Tulou, a prototype for affordable housing being built in the city of Guangzhou by the Chinese architectural practice Urbanus. The architecture is based on traditional ancient tulous in Fujian Province.”

    Inspired by a historical monument, the concept is transformed into an affordable resident with a contemporary backdrop. Urbanus' design adapted a specific housing style, which emphasized a close community in an geometrical structure. The unique architecture not only provided practical living space, but also served as a reminder of the underlying historical value. The unity of different time and space is a graceful balance.

    -Walker, Rob. "The Sole of a Worker." The New York Times. Aug 17, 2008. link here

    “Ospop sneakers are based on a design widely worn by Chinese workers, but with higher-quality materials and re-engineered structural improvements meant to appeal to Western.”

    “Beyond China's practical icons such as abacus, wok and bicycle”(1), the designers repackaged the canvas trainers that are used among Chinese blue collars to meet the western standard – not as a tool, but a fashion statement. This might be an interesting way to introduce Chinese culture to the Western consumers who have a cultural background of work-wear appreciation even unlikely to involve in such physical labor. However, from a Chinese perspective this p...

  • Dragon_177_

    Problem: The current trend for Chinese design is to conform to ubiquitous “modern” aesthetics and has lost its own identity. People (especially Chinese) seem to have forgotten and neglected their own cultural, historical and traditional values.

    Mission Statement: To promote awareness of a stronger sense of culture and tradition in product design and reintroduce appreciation for Chinese design.

    More Research:

    Barboza, David. “China builds its large-scale future.” Herald Tribune. May 1, 08. “Beijing… emphasizing its ability to upgrade and modernize, at least when it comes to buildings and infrastructure.” “Not everyone, however, is pleased with the development transforming China’s cities. Old neighborhoods and important historical buildings are being demolished.”

    Central News Agency. “Traditional vs. Simplified Chinese Characters Debate.” The Epoch Times. May 09, 2006 “ Debate grows as Chinese government tries to popularize simplified Chinese and abort traditional Chinese.”

    Fishman, Ted. “The New Great Walls.” China inside the dragon. National Geographic. May 2008.

    Hessler, Peter. “My Beijing”. National Geographic: Travel & cultures. Date unavailable. “The destruction of the city walls, most imperial gates, and countless temples… old hutong alleyways wide streets and apartment blocks.”

    Lewis, Ben. “ China Design Now: Chinese art of deception”. Evening Standard. Mar 18, 08.

    Ouroussoff, Ncolai. “The architecture of the new...

  • My observations



    1st Observation: Please refer to the image above. There is a large amount of cigarette butts and spit outside of 2 W 13th street sidewalk. (black dots in the image).Smoking students usually smoke before and after class outside the seating area, where the large windows are. Beside the seating area, I also observed cigarette butts dropped on the ground, especially next to the black pipe near the entrance’s steps. From my own observation, smokers spit frequently while they smoke, in way to refresh their mouths.

    Smokers mindlessly gather and chat, but they do not seem to aware that they are actually producing a lot of trash and waste, resulting in an unpleasant environment. A potential problem is that there is no public ashtray around the school. Compared to other school buildings at 65 and 5th, and the one on 16th street, they both have an ashtray stand outside the premises. However, by installing ashtrays alone wouldn’t solve the whole problem; even if there are ashtrays, smokers would rather stand or seat somewhere else next to the entrance instead of gathering in such a tiny space with strangers. Also, the motion of flicking a cigarette is much more convenient than walking to the ashtray stand.

    This is where the public and private space argument comes in; people would prefer to have their own private space (talking with their friends) (circled in orange color in the image) while they are in a public space (the seating area outside of 2W 13th), and that is why we see cig...

My Interests

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