Monsters of China is a product design project that brings relics back to life.
Drawing inspiration from the imaginary patterns that were found from more
than 3000 years ago in the ancient Chinese bronze culture, the series
of dinning accessories translate the forms and functions of the original
objects to modern context.
objects from top to bottom: salt shaker, pepper shaker, creamer, sauce pourer
"Revive" is the keyword for the idea of Monsters of China. In today's fast pace,
ever-changing society, there is a contrasting growth in the desire to bring back retrospective designs in products that bring the feeling of nostalgia. Monsters of China stretches the timeline of this inspiration by tracing back to the ancient Bronze Age in China, a era even before the writing system was created. The relics that were discovered from this era were whimsically designed and naturally characteristic. Together they resemble an illusive familiarness - that we feel distantly and yet intimately connected
with the theriomorphic motifs on these bronze vessels. By reviving the designs from China's Bronze Age and transforming the once ritual, sacred vessels into new dinning accessories, the Monsters of China aims to bring the intriguing connection from the
past to contemporary homes and restaurants.
From the start point, the idea of Monsters of China was to not simplily imitate the
forms and designs of the ancient bronze wares. The clear vision of a series of mass-productable, functional objects was embed in the initial designs. For this, the complicating patterns and reliefs on the original relics were dropped out. When designing the form for each object, multiple rather than a single relic were referred to so that the new object will be freshly individual while still strongly connected to the overall style of the Bronze Age.
It was also in the thinking that a certain amount of modern technology should be incorporated in the design to amplified the idea of reviving. So the finalized designs
were created and rendered in 3D modeling softwares. By doing so, it also makes sure
that the objects is ready for mass-prodcution.
Once the designs were finalized and double-checked for any potential obstacles in
the production, the 3D models were sent to the 3D printers and created as prototypes.
I decided to use porcelain as the material for the first series of Monsters of China because of the its clean appeal and harmonious status in modern dinning environments, comparing to the original material of bronze. Slip-casting was then thought as the ideal choice to execute the production for large quantity and accuracy control. The prototypes were then used to make molds for the casting. Despite the three-dimensional curves on the forms, three of the four objects only required two-part molds for the casting, with the exception of pepper shaker, which had an additional part for the front side. The porcelains were sent to fire after being casted and trimmed to smooth finishes, then dipped in black and white glazes to achieve modern, sleek looks. An additional layer of clear, glossy glaze were added during some tries of the production to test out the variety. To aid the identity of the project, I also created an illustration (see website and the booklet), in the style of traditional Chinese paper crafting, that visualized the real-life forms of the "monsters".
I left out the names of each monsters in blank for individual interpretation.