【英语中国】“中国制造”的新含义

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所属分类:双语中国

2013-11-11 09:34

小艾摘要: Lyndon Neri is one half of the architecture duo Neri & Hu, whose Shanghai-based 'design and research office' he founded almost a decade ago with his partner and wife, Rosanna Hu. He is also a design ...
Lyndon Neri is one half of the architecture duo Neri & Hu, whose Shanghai-based 'design and research office' he founded almost a decade ago with his partner and wife, Rosanna Hu.

He is also a designer of products such as starkly minimalist tea sets made from zisha clay, found only in China's Jiangsu province, and furniture inspired by the country's humble street stools, made in collaboration with Dutch brand Moooi.

This year marks something of a milestone for the practice, which now employs 90-odd people in Shanghai, London and New York. The breadth of Neri & Hu's work is being featured in a retrospective at Mexico's Museum of Modern Art, which opened this week, alongside that of Mexican architect Luis Barragan.

The pair's research-driven projects are rooted in a sense of place, with local references often abstracted: Take Spanish shoe brand Camper's China flagship, a 'building within a building' inspired by surrounding alleyways, and a derelict Shanghai lane house transformed into an angular experiment in private versus public space, with glass walls replacing the structure's facade.

Most recently, the duo was behind the loft-like interiors of Hong Kong's Pentahotel, which Mr. Neri describes as a 'zero-star' hotel intended to regenerate the city's East Kowloon district. Over a cup of Hong Kong-style milk tea served in a Neri & Hu cup, Mr. Neri spoke to the Journal about redefining 'Made in China,' collaborating with his spouse, and being a modern-day Renaissance man. Edited excerpts follow.

WSJ: The label 'Made in China' still has negative connotations, and yet that's something you've embraced. What does the term mean to you?

A: I'm ethnically Chinese. I look at myself in the mirror and it doesn't matter where I went to school, it doesn't matter what company I work for, it doesn't matter how much respect I get in America, I am after all Made in China, through my DNA.

WSJ: You grew up in the Philippines, studied at Berkeley and Harvard in the U.S., and started your career in New York. Why did you move to China?

A: When I went to China I was very critical at first. At a certain point in time I was very critical of people spitting on the floor, wearing socks and PJs on the street. Then I really thought about it and I said, That could have been my uncle. That could have been my father. These people were not given opportunities that my grandfather and my parents were.

I was heading back to New York and I said, Instead of being critical, why don't I do something about it? When you look at history, during the Qing Dynasty, during the Ming Dynasty, the finest crafts were made in this region. I decided that it was time to come back and create something here.

WSJ: Both you and your wife, Rosanna Hu, worked for American architect Michael Graves before setting up on your own. What's it like working with your spouse?

A: We both have very strong personalities. The one thing we respect with each other is innately in both of us is a passion for culture, a passion for things that will leave a legacy and have a lasting meaning.

WSJ: In what ways do you complement each other?

A: Rosanna designs by writing. Conceptually she would say, ''I believe this house should be about transparency.' I design with my hands, by drawing. We both love to design. But my wife and I, there's a difference between the two of us. She's very good with public relations. I'm not. I'm good marketing but I'm very bad at PR. That's two very different things.

WSJ: What's your design process like?

A: Oftentimes when we do a project, first we will scout out an area and we will understand the history of an area. We don't just come up with a form and go, This is what we do. It's hard for people who are used to this 'Where's the front door? Where's the back door?' kind of mentality.

WSJ: Can you talk about a favorite product you've made?

A: There are these small cups, whose colors are natural colors from the soil. In Chinese it's called zisha. The sha is really purple clay, which is found in a particular region in China. They always use this color only, and the brown color, but never yellow and black, and oftentimes they put serpents and dragons all over the cups. It's rather ostentatious.

The first thing we did was to simplify. We're not celebrating the dragon or the serpent. We're celebrating the material itself, which takes on the flavor of the tea that you're drinking. That's why tea makers use it. We created a really simple cup that makes people go, what's the big deal with this cup? Then the story comes: It's the material.

WSJ: How did you become an architect?

A: I went to Berkeley for my undergraduate. My dad wanted me to be an engineer, so I lied to him. He was in the Philippines at that time. He asked, What are you studying?, and I said, Engineering, mechanical engineering -- when in fact I was studying art, painting, my first passion.

At the end of my second year my dad calls me and says, I think I need to be close to you guys. That's when I panicked. I went to the school and tried to transfer, but there was no way you could transfer from art to engineering, all the requirements are so off. Architecture was a happy medium.

WSJ: Did your father approve?

A: When my dad landed, this was the '80s, the real-estate economy was doing very well. I said, Dad, maybe I should do architecture, and he's like, Yeah, that's not a bad idea, because obviously he was just thinking that it would make money. Little did he know that I was more interested in different things, the more experimental aspect of architecture.

WSJ: Do you see yourself as an artist?

A: I'm foremost an architect. But I believe in the Renaissance. I do. I think when art and culture and architecture went from Europe to America, there was a need for specialization. So all of a sudden architects aren't architects anymore: There are architects, there are window consultants, there are door consultants, there are acoustic consultants, so every project merits 30 consultants, just to mitigate risk. By doing that all of a sudden you lose control.

I want to take back what was rightfully given to architects: what Michelangelo was doing, what [Filippo] Brunelleschi was doing, what [Francesco] Borromini was doing. There's a movement toward that.

Great architects like David Chipperfield, David Adjaye, they're all coming back to a more multidisciplinary approach.

Neri & Hu郭锡恩说:"我们设计了一种非常简朴的紫砂杯,它会让大家纳闷这种杯子有什么了不起的?答案很快就出现了:它的原料。"
郭锡恩是建筑设计双人组如恩(Neri & Hu)的成员之一。大约在10年前,他与妻子兼合作伙伴胡如珊共同在上海创立了他们的如恩设计研究室。

他也跨界设计造型极其简朴的紫砂茶具(它的制作原料紫砂泥只有江苏出产),以及灵感源自中国街边普通板凳的家具,并与荷兰家居品牌Moooi合作生产这些家具。

对于如今已在上海、伦敦和纽约雇佣了90余名员工的如恩而言,今年算得上一个里程碑。他们广博丰富的作品与墨西哥建筑师路易斯·巴拉甘(Luis Barragan)的作品一同在墨西哥现代艺术博物馆(Mexico's Museum of Modern Art)的一个回顾展上亮相,该展览已在10月下旬开幕。

这对夫妇注重研究的设计项目植根于一种地方感,常常提炼借鉴建筑与所在地的关系。以西班牙鞋履品牌看步(Camper)在中国的旗舰店为例,它被设计成了“楼中楼”,灵感则来自它周围的里弄,它从一座废弃的上海里弄建筑转变为关于私密空间相对公共空间的棱角分明的实验性建筑,房子之前的立面被玻璃 所取代。

Derryck Menere图片:重新诠释“中国制造”前不久,这对夫妻档又操刀构思了香港贝尔特酒店(Pentahotel)那种类似loft的室内设计,郭锡恩称它是一家为复兴香港东九龙地区而打造的“零星级”酒店。此番他接受了《华尔街日报》(The Wall Street Journal)的采访,一边用如恩的杯子喝着港式奶茶,一边谈论了重新定义“中国制造”、与妻子的合作以及成为当代博才多学之人等问题。下文为经过编辑的采访节录。

《华尔街日报》:“中国制造”的标签依然具有负面含义,不过您接受了这一点。这个词对您而言意味着什么?

郭锡恩:我是一名华裔。无论我在哪儿读书,在哪家公司工作,也不论我在美国获得了多高的声望,看着镜子中的自己,我的血统终究是源自中国的,这是我的DNA决定的。

《华尔街日报》:您在菲律宾长大,在美国的伯克利(Berkeley)和哈佛(Harvard)求学,又在纽约开启了您的职业生涯。后来您为什么搬到中国?

郭锡恩:刚开始来到中国时,我非常挑剔,有一段时间我非常看不惯那些往地上吐痰和穿着短袜和睡衣走在大街上的人。后来,我着实思考了一番,然后我想,那个人本可能是我的叔叔,也可能就是我的父亲。他们只是没有获得我的祖父和父母所得到的机遇。

后来,在我返回纽约时,我就在想,我可以不要那么挑剔,我为什么不为此做点什么呢?回顾历史,你会发现在清朝和明朝,最精美的手工艺品都产自于此,于是我决定是时候回到这儿创造一些东西了。

《华尔街日报》:在成立你们自己的公司之前,您和您的妻子胡如珊都曾为美国建筑师迈克尔·格雷夫斯(Michael Graves)工作过。与自己的伴侣一同工作是什么感觉?

郭锡恩:我们俩的个性都非常强。我们互相尊重的一点是我们内心里都热爱文化,热爱可以传承、具有深远意义的东西。

《华尔街日报》:你们如何实现互补?

郭锡恩:如珊通过书面进行设计。她会提出想法说:“我觉得这座房子应该设计得有透明度。”我则通过画图用我的双手进行设计。我们两个人都热爱设计,但我和她有一个不同之处。她非常擅长公关,我则不擅长,我善于营销但对公关很不在行。这就是我们非常不同的两个地方。

《华尔街日报》:你们的设计流程是怎样的?

郭锡恩:通常当我们开始一个项目时,首先我们会去当地实地勘查,了解那个地方的历史。我们不会随便想出一个大概然后就动手去做。这是我们设计的方式。习惯了“把大门设计在哪儿?把后门设计在哪儿?”这种设计思维的人会觉得我们的方式很难。

《华尔街日报》:能谈谈您最喜欢的自己设计的产品吗?

郭锡恩:最喜欢的是那些小杯子,它们的色彩就是陶土天然的颜色,它在汉语中被称为“紫砂”。它真的是紫色的陶土,只有中国某个地区出产。制造师傅一直只采用这种颜色,另外还有棕色,但绝不会采用黄色和黑色,他们常常还在杯身上刻满蟒和龙。它的造型是极其炫耀的。

我们做的第一件事就是简化它,我们要突出的不是龙和蟒,而是这种材料本身,它会吸收你所饮之茶的芳香,所以喝茶的人喜欢用它。我们设计了一种非常简朴的紫砂杯,它会让大家纳闷这种杯子有什么了不起的?答案很快就出现了:它的原料。

《华尔街日报》:您是如何成为一名建筑设计师的?

郭锡恩:我在伯克利读的本科,我的父亲希望我成为一名工程师,所以我对他撒谎了,那时候他还在菲律宾。他问我学的什么专业?我说学工程,机械工程,而实际上我学的是艺术和绘画,我最热爱的东西。

到了大二快结束时,父亲打电话给我说,他觉得有必要和我们大家呆得近一些,那时我开始恐慌了。我找到学校试图转系,但是你绝不可能从文科转到工科,它们的各种要求都如此不同。建筑系算得上一个令人满意的中间学科。

《华尔街日报》:您父亲同意吗?

郭锡恩:他来到美国时是80年代,房地产经济非常繁荣。我对他说,爸,或许我应该去学建筑。他回答说这个想法不错,显然他只是觉得学建筑能挣钱。他不是太了解我对多种多样的东西,即建筑实验性的那一面更感兴趣。

《华尔街日报》:您认为自己是一名艺术家吗?

郭锡恩:我首先是一名建筑师,但我相信博学多才是有益的,我确实这么认为。我认为艺术、文化和建筑从欧洲传播到美国时,确实有专业化的必要。因此,突然间建筑师就不再是建筑师了,建筑项目中既有建筑师,也有门窗设计顾问,还有声学顾问,每个项目都得有30名顾问,这只是为了减轻风险。正是因为这样,突然间你就失去控制权了。

我希望能重新获得建筑师理应得到的东西,像米开朗基罗(Michelangelo)所做的一样,像菲利波·布鲁内莱斯基(Filippo Brunelleschi)一样,像弗朗切斯科·博罗米尼(Francesco Borromini)一样。现在建筑界出现了一股向这个方向发展的动向。

比如戴维·奇普菲尔德(David Chipperfield)和戴维·阿贾耶(David Adjaye)这些杰出的建筑师,他们都重新以跨领域的角度进行设计。

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