Contemporary Chinese Furniture: Shao Fan

The Chinese designer Shao Fan is also a renowned painter and sculptor. He has designed furniture which represents art rather than being purely functional. He claims to be a pioneer of deconstructive furniture and is considered to be hugely innovative as a result of his popular redesigns of ancient Chinese furniture.

Shao Fan chair in Beijing, China

He was born into a renowned Beijing artist family in 1964 and always excelled in art, particularly in painting. During the Cultural Revolution he received his first painting instruction from his parents, who were university art professors assigned to paint Mao Zedong propaganda.

Purple Shao Fan chair in Beijing, China

Shao Fan graduated from Beijing Art and Craft College in 1984 and he still lives and works in Beijing.

Shao Fan chair in Beijing, China

We were fortunate enough to visit his studio in Beijing and see these magnificent pieces. Each chair standing as an individual work of art.

Shao Fan chair in Beijing, China

As one of the first Chinese artists to explore the boundaries between visual art and design, his furniture is visually striking but still retains it’s purpose. In the ‘Chairs(?)’ series (1996), Shao Fan sought to reinterpret a subject as simple as furniture making.

Shao Fan chair in Beijing, China

He believes that Ming furniture contains the essence of Chinese philosophy. By taking furniture in the Ming style apart, and combining it with contemporary materials and design, Shao Fan wanted to express the philosophical and cultural changes and contrasts that he felt China is facing today.

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