Maison et Objet Announces Rising Talent Awards for China

This year, Maison et Objet recognizes six designers for the Rising Talent Awards: China. A 5-person Rising Talent Jury selected Frank Chou, Chen Furong, Mario Tsai, Hongjie Yang, Ximi Li, and Bentu for their talents and creativity.

Courtesy of Maison&Objet

Jury members noted that while some of the designers used a China-centric approach and others used international influences, all were committed to setting new standards and advancing Chinese design.

Per jurist Lyndon Neri, “With the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and the need for a cultural expression of its own, we see a large number of emerging designers that have started to create their own voice that deals with issues of heritage and identity.”  

These are the Rising Talent Award: China recipients.

Frank Chou

Although Frank Chou was born and educated in Beijing, he spent his post-graduation time bouncing back and forth between China and Europe. During his travels, he learned the intricacies of furniture design and brought those skills to the table when he opened Frank Chou Design Studio in 2012.

Courtesy of Maison&Objet

Known for his contemporary Chinese designs that blend function and form, Chou is highly popular on the international stage. His most noteworthy designs include the Stack Table and Middle Chair, both of which exude his signature style.

“My designs do not have obvious Oriental characteristics, but actually the design ideas and inspirations originate from deep-seated thoughts about modern and future Oriental lifestyles,” said Chou.

Chen Furong

Chen Furong began his furniture company, WUU, in 2014 after a two-year journey interviewing creatives across China. Listening to their stories inspired him to become a designer, and the rest is history.

Courtesy of Maison&Objet

Furong’s furniture designs merge traditional craftsmanship with new technologies to create a timeless product. His Touchable Light lamps, Axis table, and Morandi vases all reflect this mantra.

“The ideal design combines functionality, form, aesthetics and user experience. It also needs to adapt to current production conditions and be of a reasonable cost,” Furong told the Maison jury.

Mario Tsai

Simple and attainable, Mario Tsai’s furniture is everything you’d want from a modern designer. Pieces like the Pig Side Table and Two Halves Mirror are functional and do so much with so little.

Courtesy of Maison&Objet

Everything created at the Mario Tsai Studio is well-researched and uber-sustainable in order to keep materials to a minimum.

Tsai explained, “I always try to use less materials and production processes to create better designs. This not only reduces the cost to my clients but also saves resources and helps protect the environment. It’s a principle to remind me to follow a sustainable design approach.”

Hongjie Yang

Chinese-born Hongjie Yang has spent the last 12 years traveling, ultimately landing in the Netherlands. Although he’s far away from home, his design work embodies his traveler-spirit and international exposure.

Sharp lines and rubble textures outwardly define Yang’s work, giving it a natural stone look. However, Yang uses various forms of design technology to achieve these organic looks.

“Both East and West have played big parts in my life – and in understanding both of them I find inspiration….After a while, I stopped seeing design as a set of skills, rather it has become something very personal, a part of me. A journey of self-discovery,” stated Yang.

Ximi Li

Ximi Li runs two companies: Ximi Li Design and the furniture design company, URBANCRAFT. In all of his work, he aims to merge the styles of the West and East and, in doing so, create classic and timeless pieces.

Courtesy of Maison&Objet

This fusion is pronounced in the clean and curved Mirror Yuan and the stunningly simple Jiazhuang “dowry” dressing table.

Li told Maison organizers, “My works are influenced by my experiences in different countries and regions, my understanding and feelings towards different cultures, as well as my imagination.”


Chen Xingyu is the creative director at Bentu, a design firm he started with support from Xu Gang, Peng Zeng, and Chen Xingguang. Bentu quickly grew in prominence under Xingyu’s leadership and became known for their experimental use of recycled materials.

Courtesy of Maison&Objet

Recently, Bentu unveiled a new line of furniture made from recycled ceramic waste. Terrazzo, as the line is called, uses a combination of concrete, leftover stone, and ceramic waste to create masterpieces like the Yuan Plantpot.

“The purpose of design is to discover the important problems existing in human society and to provide solutions,” Xingyo said about his sustainability focus.

As you can see, this class of Rising Talent Award recipients is astonishing.

Their innovative use of materials, craftsmanship, and regional + international influences bring excitement to expos like Maison et Objet and to the design industry as a whole.

Congratulations to the award recipients!

Maison et Objet runs from January 18-22, 2019. Stay tuned with House Tipster for the latest industry news.  

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