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The Figure

Yuezhong Chen

陈跃中

易兰ECOLAND创始人、总裁、首席设计师

美国注册景观设计师

美国城市土地研究院会员

美国环境景观协会及美国旅游发展协会会员

The Interview

“Kant is right about how we see the world, wearing different glasses, forgetting to take them off, thinking them as our own eyes. What is this filter that affects our judgement? Education, background, setbacks and strikes that you have been through. “

“康德说的很对,就是我们每个人看这个世界的时候,都戴了一副墨镜,早上带上,晚上忘了摘,也不记得,以为是自己的眼睛,每个人向外看,都隔了一层,隔了的这一层是什么?你的教育、你的背景、你的沧桑和你受的打击。”

The traditional Chinese cultivation influence you a lot. At the same time, you gained your education in western culture. Then you founded EDSA, and then Ecoland when you came back to China. These two types of logic or thinking both represent in you. Can you talk to us how these two types of logic influence yourself, your projects, and even your company?

中国传统文化对您影响很深,同时您也在美国学习了西方的文化,然后回国创办了EDSA,后来又创办了易兰。在您身上有着两种思维结合在一起。您是否能说一说这两种思维对您的影响,和对您做项目的影响,甚至对公司的影响?

If you call them two types of logic that means they will fight, but they won’t. Let me tell you why they are compatible.  The so-called scientific rational logic management in the West emphasizes on facts and practicality, except GSD. If something isn’t practical, you will get a “bullshit” as response. Whereas in China some guidelines that are not practical has highest status. That’s the difference between the roots of philosophy of two nations. If there is a period of time that United States is leading and exceeds Europe in terms of thought, it is now. Its pragmatist philosophy distinguishes it from other European countries, including the United Kingdom. The Unites States marched because there is a simple rule among the blast of information and various opinions — practical or not, where things are completely different in China. The good part is that there is a long history of philosophy in China — Laozi, Buddhism, School of Mind, etc. The bad part is it is too hard for ordinary people to understand. It is harmful to struggle with the meaning. In my perspective, no matter “Western” or “Eastern”, they are the same in the highest level.  Kant’s philosophy is the same with Yangming Wang’s and Buddhism’s, at least from my understanding.

如果说这是两种思维就很麻烦,说明他们会打架,我觉得是融会贯通。西方所谓科学理性的思维管理注重事实和实用性,以美国为主。哈佛是例外,哈佛不太适用。美国经常是:如果这个东西不实用,他会说“bull shit,别跟我瞎扯在中国指导方针往往不实用的放在最高处,这就是两个国家根本哲学的区别。如果说美国在什么时代思想领先于欧洲,就是现当代。他的实用主义哲学把他和其他欧洲国家分开了,包括英国。他先进,因为他在混杂的信息,众说纷纭之中,有一个很简单的甄别方法:有没有用。中国不是,好的方面,中国的思想史是很悠久的:老子,佛家,心学。不好的方面:普通人掌握不了,纠缠,无畏地争斗。掌握不了,反而有害。在我看来东西方,你所谓的两种思想,在最高层面的哲理上是一致的。至少从我们这个层面的理解上康德的东西和王阳明,还有佛家的东西是一样的,对事物的看法几乎差不多。

On the highest level, variation does exist but doesn’t change anything. Kant said the world is incognizable. Phone in naked eyes can be particles under a microscope. Buddha tells you that you should see it as if it does not exist, which also means unknown or incognizable. They are almost the same. Kant said that everyone is wearing a pair of sunglasses that everyone doesn’t realize it. The world in everyone’s eyes is different because we are not wearing sunglasses of the same color. Why there are so many disputes while so much information and facts are exposing? According to the amount of information we could get on the Internet,  supposedly we should tend to be united, why more disputes appear instead? Kant is right about how we see the world, wearing different glasses, forgetting to take them off, thinking them as our own eyes. What is this filter that affects our judgement? Education, background, setbacks and strikes that you have been through.

Reversely, We don’t have filters when we are infants. Buddhism calls it “beginner’s mind”, We observe the world in the same way in the very beginning. But we don’t talk in the same language after we experienced different things, not because of classes sort of things, but because of different angles of how we observe the world. It makes we drifting away from our beginner’s mind. Buddhism and Kant, philosophy of east and philosophy of West, reach a consensus to the essence. But they derivative different theories in the sub-level.

I’m not bragging but there isn’t a difference between West and east to me, only wise enough or not to understand it. I admit that West emphasizes on materiality and east values methodology and metaphysics. But it’s not a competition, there isn’t a winner that is better than another. “Knowledge as action”, says Wang Yangming. To him, there was no way to use knowledge after gaining it because he believed that knowledge and action were unified as one. Any knowledge that had been gained then put into action was considered delusion or false. To answer your question, this is how we prove that philosophy from the West and philosophy from the East can be unified.

在更高的层面上,有区别,但这个区别没多大的意义。康德告诉你世界不可知,(比如手机)看上去是手机,在显微镜下看上去是粒子;佛告诉你,也是不可知,大家说的是一样的。康德说每个人都戴着一副墨镜,每个人都不知道。每个人看世界都不一样,因为每个人戴的墨镜颜色都不一样。为什么有这么多争执?为什么现在信息这么多,暴露出来的事实这么多,我们的争执反而越多了呢?按说我们每个人得到的信息都这么多,所有信息网上都能查到,我们应该趋于统一,观点应该一样,为什么反而争执更多?康德说的很对,就是我们每个人看这个世界的时候,都戴了一副墨镜,早上带上,晚上忘了摘,也不记得,以为是自己的眼睛,每个人向外看,都隔了一层,隔了的这一层是什么?你的教育、你的背景、你的沧桑和你受的打击。

按康德的说法反过来推,婴儿时,每个人墨镜还没戴上,应该是一样的,佛家说这是初心,初心就是婴儿心,佛家说我们一开始看这个世界是一样的,但是每个人经历不一样,你去了哈佛,他去了工地搬砖,你们俩能在一起说话吗?不可能,不是别的理由,不是阶级之类的,是你们对世界的看法会不一样,看法使你们都远离了初心。佛是这个意思,康德也是这个意思,两种东西方思想,在最高的层面,是同样的智慧,只不过在中下层产生了不同的东西,就是杂质了。

我不敢说我参透了,但在我看来没有东西方,人类只有有智慧和智慧没到的区别,没有东西方的差别。从哲学上看,尤其美国,西方更注重器,东方注重道,注重形而上的东西,我承认这种区别,但并不能说出谁高谁下。王阳明说,知行合一,知道就是形而上的东西,知道不代表你行,知行是统一的,没有高下,一切都以能不能把这事儿做了为准。回答你的问题,在我看来,东西方的思想在高度上是可以统一的。

You have great insight in space design, paintings, business, as well as exhibition. You have also researched on philosophy and Buddhism. How do you think the research on philosophy and Buddhism raise your design philosophy, firm management, and personal life to a higher level?

您对空间设计,绘画,商业,包括展览,都有很多研究。包括您对哲学,佛,理,也有很多研究。您觉得这些哲学的研究,佛理的研究是怎样升华您的设计理念、企业管理、和个人生活的?

陈跃中设计草图  | © 易兰设计

Back to the beginner’s mind, it means always mirroring the outside as it is without impurities. 

“所谓回到初心,就是我这面镜子里,外面有什么我里面有什么,外面没有的我也没有,没有杂质。”

Isn’t it exaggerating to say I have studied on so many things? I did not study, but it becomes easy for you when you grasp the essence of it. Others said I understand Buddhism in the conference when I didn’t really work on it. Sixth Patriarch Huineng can’t read, but his enlightenment of Buddhism is the deepest. When you don’t have prejudice, you will be a mirror, reflecting what you see directly. I’m doing the same thing in terms of design because I’m holding my “beginner’s mind”. Is beginner’s mind our original goal? Like I eventually become an engineer after so many years of up and down in business when I decided to be engineer at a young age?  Is it the so-called “keep it real”? Not exactly. Well. we see things as it is when we are young. But when we get older we have other conjectures beyond what it is. We lose our initial impetus.

When the foundation of discuss is based on the way it is, we go back to the origin of the speculative. For example, if somebody says “China is great.” That is what he means. Don’t  speculate other explanations like you know what he is thinking. This is how to be rational, arguing with each other based on what has been said. Other people’s thoughts are never provable. Back to the beginner’s mind, it means always mirroring the outside as it is without impurities. 

Every time I see our designers messing up with modifying the project, I would tell them go back to the basic. What is the function of the project? What are the requirements? How many users? It will come out after several sketches. Don’t let things get to you. If your project had been affected by too many people’s “suggestions”, it’s better to restart than keep stitching more patches. If you could initiate a project from the basic, it will be as good as simple, right hitting the target. Adding too many elements would make a project complicated and full of loopholes. Simplicity is the best. Knowing when to back to the origin is an important ability to be simple. That’s my design philosophy.  I found it easy to communicate and being accepted when I think it in the simplest way. But when I dope too many things, I can’t make it straight myself, not mentioning make it clear to others.

如果说我又研究了佛又研究了这些东西,听上去我研究得也太多了吧。其实并不是这样,当我们悟到了这个事儿的本质的时候它反而是简单的,我并没有研究多少佛理,六祖慧能不识字,但是他悟的佛理是最深的。最好你是空的,你是一面镜子,你照见的就是客观的东西。在设计层面我也是这样,我抱着一个初心,当然这听上去有点玄妙。初心听上去总被人提及,(在我看来)初心是我们立下的志,从小我要当工程师,后来我赚钱去了,最后我还是想当工程师,我又回来当工程师了,这叫回到初心吗?我觉得不然。我们年轻的时候,大学的时候风华正茂,我们看见什么就是什么,比如这个人说今天生病不能来了,我们会理解,他生病,让他好好养病。但当我们四五十岁的时候,就会想,这人怎么了,是不是和谁闹意见不来了。这些就是我们已经不在初心上了。

当我们看一个事情只针对一个事情,不产生别的,这就回到了西方哲学思辨的起点。如果有个人说中国是伟大的,中国就是伟大的,这就是他的意思。没必要说虽然你说中国是伟大的,但你实际不是这么想的。这就是你不是这么想的,他没说他这么想。我们回到初心,就回到了讲理的原点。我是怎么说,你便针对我的问题来说,我没说的你不要认为我说了。我们对外的外交也是一样的,不要说他想了什么,他想了什么这事能证明吗?永远不能证明。所谓回到初心,就是我这面镜子里,外面有什么我里面有什么,外面没有的我也没有,没有杂质。

我改方案也是这样,当我看到我们的设计师每次改方案改到最后改得乱七八糟的,我都说回到初心,回到原点,这个东西什么功能?什么要求?什么人来用?几个草图,这个设计就出来了。不要在这个基础上听这个人说了一句我就这么改,那个人说了一句我又那么改,最后成补丁,那还不如打碎了,回到初心。做设计的时候如果你能每一步都从初心出发,一定会是好设计,而且特别简练,直接回答了问题。如果加了太多东西,别人也加了太多东西,最后一定是千疮百孔,很复杂,不够简单。我们常说简单是最高境界,你不够简单的原因就是没有适时地回到原点。这就是我设计的哲学。我回到原点后思考的问题,我能够和别人交流,别人也能接受。当我里面掺杂了很多东西,我自己说不清楚,别人也想不清楚,就是这么回事。

Your childhood memory has great impact on you. You once said that memory is a kind of art that exists in the dynamic and interaction between the inner consciousness and the external world. And your recent projects are attempts to interpret this relationship, including the Chinese garden project in Shanghai Expo (Muzhongshanshui), Luhu Red Stone Park, as well as the project in JD business center. In those projects, how does the memory become a language that coexist with human and nature?

您儿时的记忆对您也有非常大的影响。 您曾说过记忆是存在于内在意识与外在的一种动态和互动的一种艺术。您近几年的作品也尝试去诠释这种关系。比如说上海世博会的“亩中山水”园,成都麓湖红石公园,包括京东总部的项目。在这些项目中,“记忆”是如何作为一种语言存在在人和自然的环境中的?

成都麓湖红石公园  | © 易兰设计

What is memory? British philosopher David Hume once said, memory is a copy, a copy of the live scene. Then what is a live scene? It is the current feeling and emotions, which could never be reached through the design process. That is why we go to a concert hall to enjoy the opera, rather than listening to the radio. The sense of immediacy could never be reproduced. For the Lijiang Impression, why do we have an “impression” in the word? Because Hume called this sense of immediacy “impression”. But Hume also said if we want to distill some elements, and make it a copy, then this is called the memory.

When I go to a site, I first explore the site and search for memories. Is there any texture, story, or flash that reminds me of somethingFor example, in the Red Stone Park, many red stones came up once we dug into the ground. Those stones are very fragile, and people just threw them away, because they have no structure or bearing capacity. But we treasured them since they were everywhere underground in this region, which made them symbol of the site. The dig and representation process of the memory is a copy of the site. Not a live scene but a copy. In my mind, the representation of memory has two kinds: the first is preservation. We have an example, the Project 1949, which was an old factory. The red bricks kept the spirit of the factory, thus we preserved them. The second is to discover a memory that was not recognized before. Peopled didn’t know it, and we are here to uncover it, to record, it and to exhibit it. This is an action. To my understanding both ways are important, and I work more in the second way, to explore it, to remember it, to discover the unseen.

记忆是什么呢? 英国有个哲学家大卫·修漠说,记忆是一个副本,是现场的复制品。什么是现场呢? 就是我们觉知的东西就是当下,在做一个作品里永远没有。这就是我们为什么要去歌剧院看歌剧而不是听收音机,因为这种现场感、鲜活感是永远无法重现的。这就是为什么有印象丽江,为什么有印象两字,就是因为莱布尼兹把这种现场感叫印象。但是莱布尼兹又说了,如果我们试图提炼一些元素,产生了一个副本,这个副本叫记忆。

那么我到一个设计现场,先看看有什么东西,有没有什么记忆。老工厂的记忆,老的肌理,有没有让我们想起什么。像红石公园,我们一挖地,发现很多红色的石头,一刨就酥了,人们都当垃圾把它们扔掉了,因为它没有结构,没有承载力。但是我们看这个区域地表以下都是这个东西,它承载了场地的某种符号,像这样记忆的挖掘和再现,就是对场地的一种复制,这不是现场,是拷贝。在我的记忆里这样的有两种,一个是挖掘,比如说我们做的1949,是个老工厂,这个厂房那个红砖保留下来厂房的某一种信息,这是保留;还有一种是发现,原来没有,我们去展示出来,别人并没发现有这个东西,我们去展示它,去记忆它,去记录它,这里的记忆是一个动词,这两种在我看来都很重要,而我更多的去记忆,去发现,用动词,去发现常人看不见的东西。

In traditional Chinese Garden Design theory, we call this process “site reconnaissance”. Many designers today make schemes even without  site survey, which is ridiculous in my mind. You couldn’t catch the key point if you have never been to the site. To find out the site feature is just the so-called site reconnaissance in our tradition. The West talk about the same thing with us, so it can be comprehended by analogy at some level. But why do many people stick to only one side and fight against the other? I believe it is because they do not fully understand it. If they do, they will find out the two are the same thing, and they both play their proper roles.

When talking about Eastern cultures,  the experience of learning Chinese shanshui paintings (mountain and water images) in my childhood benefits me a lot in  understanding Chinese gardens. Traditional literati gardens have two kinds of inspiration resources, one is Chinese literary, and the other is Chinese shanshui paintings. I had a great yearning for the life that created by Chinese paintings. I always imagined myself being a human fairy, who meditate within the beautiful nature. After I studied landscape architecture, I can easily interpret the traditional literati gardens, such as the Humble Administrator’s Garden and the Master of the Nets Garden, as they are creating the ideal environment that exists in Chinese paintings. I was moved greatly when the teacher told us some literati gardens are inspired by Chinese shanshui paintings.

中国的造园理论里面把这个过程叫做“相地”。今天很多设计师场地都不看就出设计图,我觉得这个事很荒唐,你根本找不到东西。找属于场地的东西,叫相地,东西方讲的是一回事,在一定层面上是可以利用的,触类旁通,但为什么坚持传承的一面和坚持所谓国际化的一面打得不可开交呢?因为大家没有吃透,吃透了发现是一回事儿啊,而且各得其所。

谈到东方文化,我小时候画山水画,这些经历对于我之后研究中国造园大有裨益。中国文人园来源一个是文学,一个是山水画。我有对于画境的向往。小时候觉得自己可以当神仙,人家画的古画里一个高人坐在园林中念经,冥想,山水之间,很神秘,特别向往。学了园林后就感受到大师创造的拙政园,网师园,好像就是在创造这种环境。老师讲我们的传统文人园就是从山水画里来的时候,我感受特别深。

Then when I arrived in the United States, I earned more space sensation from the viewpoint of garden making. Professor Joe Volpe gave me a strict education on scale, proportion, and proper space for human beings when I was in UMass. What feelings certain space dimensions may bring, how to shape a comfortable space, what is the diameter of certain tree canopy to provide enough shade? All these are the techniques and art in space creating. The education in China did not emphasize on this aspect as much, but rather emphasize on the meaning and poetic imagery of the garden. Both have merits on some aspects. But how to merge them together is my personal aim. I developed a theory, which is called contemporary literati garden. What is a “contemporary literati garden?” There is an article that I published in Chinese Garden discussing about this concept. The project of “muzhongshanshui” is an exploration of this idea, as well as the project of JD business center. The contemporary literati garden is a concept that mix the architectural space shaping in western culture and the poetic imagery in eastern culture together. It is not an artificial way, but rather a natural implication.

 

到了西方以后,仅从造园这个尺度来看,得到的是空间的感觉。我学过建筑,对于造园的比例、尺度、适宜的空间,在UMASS的时候Joe Volpe教授给予了非常严格的训练。什么样的空间尺度让人产生什么的感受,怎么样才能舒适,树冠多大底下的人才能舒适,这是一个空间的技术和艺术。中国可能在这个方面没有被强调,它强调的是文学意境方面,各有所长。把它们融在一起,是我的努力方向。我有一个理论叫当代文人园,什么是当代文人园?我在《中国园林》上发表了一篇文章,我的亩中山水是一个探索,京东商城总部也是。当代文人园就是试图把西方的现代建筑学和空间艺术与中国古典园林的意境创造糅合。这种糅合不是人为的,是一种自然的流露,像中国人拿起筷子那么自然。

 

易兰规划设计院设计的“融科资讯中心”获得2017英国景观行业协会国家景观奖 |  © 易兰设计
易兰规划设计院设计的“京东集团总部”获得2017英国景观行业协会国家景观奖 |  © 易兰设计

Building a company framework is also a way of design, in my opinion. My best work is Ecoland so far. What makes it great is its structure, not a physical design, nor an architectural design, nor a landscape design, but a structure, a company structure.”

“设计一个公司的架构在我看来也是设计,我个人最好的作品就是我们的易兰,是他的结构,他不是物理上的设计,既不是建筑设计,也不是景观设计,而是architecture,关于公司的组织架构。”

Ecoland is also a pioneer in planning companies. You choose to become a listed company when it was a winter for planning industry. This is absolutely an innovative breakthrough. In your opinions, what is the magical chemical effect that capital market brought to Ecoland? How could design industry gain more voice and power under the current times when capital is so dominant?

易兰作为规划公司也是个先行者。在规划设计寒冬的时候你们选择了上市。在这样的情况下作为一种比较新的尝试,您觉得易兰对于资本市场的对接有什么奇妙的化学反应?设计行业又如何在这样的时代下掌握话语权?

Many people could not understand why we choose to do this. Why? Niall Kirkwood has once visited our company, and said to Zhen Wu, a professor in Qinghua University, that Mr. Chen is like Sasaki in China. Why would he say that? In my understanding, it is because I was trying to boost the development of large scale planning in China, which is what Sasaki did before. At the same time, I’ve also handled very detailed design work, such as making a carve on a table. The detailed art and craft and the large-scale planning can be mixed in one person, or represented in one company, which is amazed to him. This is also what Sasaki did, who lead the ecological planning development in the United States. So, that is why he may think Ecoland is just like Sasaki. These two factors I just mentioned, plus the one point you mentioned, which is the new way of building company, made us extraordinary. Our company building strategy is also trying to be innovative, while many other design companies are still following the traditional way.

To me, design discipline has no boundary. A city design, is a way of design. You need to coordinate the planning, to talk to the city mayor, to talk to every related party, and to understand every desire and appeal from all related communities. You need to have a strong communication skills and comprehension skills; thus, you can draw out the plan that represent all their needs and wishes. This is a skill set. Building a company framework is also a way of design, in my opinion. My best work is Ecoland so far. What makes it great is its structure, not a physical design, nor an architectural design, nor a landscape design, but a structure, a company structure. At least in China if not global wise, I think we are the only one, or the best one in company framing. When I first came back from the United States, I thought the way of management in U.S. is very modern, thus I brought back some managing skills to China. I worked in EDSA before, but none of the design companies can achieve our way today. Designers need to have a sense of freedom, while big-scale companies need to have a strict management rule. This is true in United States, as well as in China. Peter Walker is a master in landscape architecture, so his design company is a design studio. They have a great sense of freedom; every project is centered on him. He does not need to show up in office every day. AECOM, then, is different. There is no master in AECOM, since this company does not emphasize on this culture. Although mentioning their names are not very professional, but my point is that this dilemma does exist. What shall we do? We want to achieve both.

 

大家可能确实会觉得挺奇怪的,为什么会选择这样呢?Niall Kirkwood来我们这里访问了之后,回去对清华的吴振老师说,这个Mr. ChenSasaki. 为什么会这样说呢,我的理解是,我在推动中国大尺度的规划,这也是Sasaki在做的,同时我也做很细的设计,很细节的东西。比方说桌子上如果要开一个洞,怎么开才好看,工艺美术的感觉,和很大尺度的生态经济规划,在他看来很神奇,这样的东西融在一个人身上,或者融在一个事务所里。这个在Sasaki里是也这么推动的,引领了美国的大尺度规划,所以他觉得易兰有点像Sasaki。这两点再加上你刚才说的这一点就有点更让人觉得不可思议。这个事务所管理也在创新,很多事务所是传统的。

在我看来,设计没有界限。设计一个城市是设计,要规划要协调,要和市长对话,要和每一个利益相关方交流,要知道每一个利益团体、技术团体的诉求。你必须有很强的沟通能力和理解力,再下笔把他们想要的东西都反应出来,这是一种能力。设计一个公司的架构在我看来也是设计,我个人最好的作品就是我们的易兰,是他的结构,他不是物理上的设计,既不是建筑设计,也不是景观设计,而是architecture,关于公司的组织架构。我不敢说在全球,因为我不了解,但我可以说我们是国内唯一一个,或者说做得最好的一个。从美国回来时,我认为美国的事务所很先进,我带回来了一些管理。我在EDSA也做过,但我觉得他们没有达到这样一个特点。设计师都是讲究自由的,但是成规模的设计院又必须讲究管理。在美国是这样,在中国也一样。Peter Walker是大师,是工作室,是自由的,东西都围绕他转。他可以不考勤,什么都没关系。AECOM里肯定是不一样的,AECOM里没有大师,因为它不强调这种文化。当然提名字这么说不太好,但这也确实是一种矛盾。我们要做什么呢,我们要做这两者的兼得。

易兰总部  | © 易兰设计

Go listing is not a way that designers normally do. In the future, it is meant to be an institution, which has a way of strict management. Designers need to have a sense of culture. They need to have a free imagination and a pursuit of philosophy and art, which make us designed a framework like this. In our company, which I did not see happening in other companies, designers do not need to show up in office punctually. Although we are a listed company, we give enough freedom to designers, especially entry-level designers. For example, if you are a fresh graduate, you have lots of curiosity of the world. One day it was sunny and beautiful, and you would like to hike. In our company, you can definitely do that, as long as you have negotiated with the project manager. You could choose to work tonight instead of tomorrow daytime, you will get the same pay. In our company, if you work ten hours, you will get paid for ten hours, which many companies could not achieve, even in many design firms in the United States. Who will pay designers if you work overtime? But in our case, you will get paid for exactly the hours you have put for projects. This process is relying on the precise structured software that we invented. After you typed in your workload and get approved, the pay is strictly following that. If your creative work is finished in three hours, but it is worth five hours’ work, we will pay you five hours’ salary. Creativity is priceless.

Have you heard any company do as our way? We are the origin of this idea. Many people say, you are a talent in creativity, or you are a talent in management, or you are a talent in planning, or even you are a talent in interior designing. In my opinion, if you look deeply and comprehensively, it is all the same. In the United States, a project can be used for both a cup making and an atomic bomb designing, both called project manager. However, project managers maybe don’t know how to make a cup or designing an atomic bomb. What does this mean? It tells us the work is all the same in some level. If you can achieve this, you could solve that. The problems that we are dealing with are all the same – people. You need to listen to their appeals, you need to deal with real problems, and you need to solve it before the deadline and within the budget.

Wang Yangming has said, we need to unify our knowledge and action. You know it, but do not put it into action, that is not a thoroughly known. The way you can put it forward is very limited. If you said you know but you’ve never tried, you do not know how to cook. Mao has once said, practice makes truth. It is quite simple. If you want to make a cup, you could read books, which is theory; but you also need to build one in real life. Why? Because one half of the knowledge lies in practice.

So above all, designing the structure of a company has more self-satisfaction than designing a project. The process is all the same. Our way of constructing the company is quite innovative, which gives us a result of a respect for the designers and a strict management for the projects.

易兰总部 办公室 | © 易兰设计

上市这件事已经不是设计师做事的方式了。未来它肯定是一个机构,机构就要有很严格的管理。设计师又要有设计师的文化,有很自由开放的思想,哲学和艺术追求,所以我们设计了一个这样的结构。在我们这样的设计院里别人这样做很少,我只有看到别人在学我们我们的设计师不用按时间上班,虽然我们是一个很严格的上市公司特别是入门级的设计师。比如我是一个年轻人,我对世界充满新奇的乐趣。今天阳光好,想爬山,在我们这,可以。只要和项目经理打好招呼。明天上班,我今晚工作,照样领工资。在我们这,工作十个小时得十个小时钱,这个很多美国设计院也做不到。设计师加班谁会给你钱呢?但在我们这,工作多少时间给你多少钱。这个要靠很精密的结构,靠我们研发的软件来管理。输入工作量得到认可后,按工作量走。你的创意工作,值五个小时,你三个小时干完了,付五个小时钱。因为创意是无价的。

你在哪个设计院听说过这个?我们是原创的。有些人会说,你是创意人才,你是管理人才,你是规划人才,你是做室内的,越分越细。在我看来,当你把它融会贯通以后,都是一回事。在美国,不管是做一个杯子还是造一枚原子弹都叫project,都叫project managerProject manager并不知道怎么做杯子,也不知道怎么造原子弹,这说明什么呢? 说明工作是相通的,能做这个就能做那个。要解决的问题是同样的,都是deal with people。要倾听他们的诉求,要deal with problem,解决这个问题。在给定的时间/预算内解决问题。

王阳明说知行合一,知而不行,终非真知。知而不行就是你不知道,你能够发扬的东西很有限。如果你知道怎么炒菜但没炒过,那你就是不知道。毛泽东说实践出真知,就是这么简单一道理。如果想要做一个杯子,要看书,学习怎么做,这是理论,然后要上手,为什么要做这件事,因为所谓知,一半在书里,一半一定要在制作过程中发现。

所以回答你的问题,我想说的是,设计一个公司的结构得到的满足感一点都不比设计一个项目少。这是一回事儿。我们在公司的结构上也是创新的,得到了一个既尊重设计师个人又有严谨结构的结果。

Designers travel a lot. I am sure you have some interesting travelling tips. Would you mind sharing some with us?

设计师经常去旅行,我相信您有很多旅行的经历。能分享一下您旅行的建议吗?

Travel is a progress that makes you think and grow. We can only remember limited things in our lifetime. Sometimes we remember something doesn’t matter while easily forgetting something important. If you think carefully, does this has some special meaning? Let’s say dreaming. According to Floyd, all dreams come from things you have been through and ideas you have thought about. It is not fabricated but the continuation of the reality. Dreams are all like that. For example, I always dream about myself sleeping while driving. It gives me a sense of crisis. I figure it is related to my experience of driving in the snow storm with a couple of families in the U.S. when I was young. I was driving a van, all the way from Massachusetts to Florida, with snowing all over the road. Snows hit on the window, and the road was extremely slippery. I couldn’t see anything out of car. I tried to be a hero while others told me not to drive. To be honest, I had no idea what was going on in front of me with the car whizzing along. Of course, we were fine eventually. But these few minutes are so impressive that I keep dreaming about driving, not necessarily that car but always a car in my dream. I think it has something to do with the fear of losing control.

Travel gives people deep memories, and makes you grow up. It will definitely leave you something that routine life doesn’t. It is a pity that I haven’t been to many places. I am a stay-at-home person. But I went to another city for college, later on went to United States for education, and then traveled from the North to the South for jobs. I was forced to travel. When I was working in Soho, New York, I had to learn contemporary arts. If I’m not a person who tend to stay at home as much as I can, my travel experience would be richer. My travel to Europe was also for work, to collect information for my project. Even then I benefit a lot from travels. The older I am, the more I agree to that.

我觉得旅行是思考和成长的过程。人有生之年可以说能记住的就那么几件事。有时候你想记住的东西记不住,但无意识记住的东西,有时候仔细想想,是不是也有什么意义呢?比如说做梦,弗洛伊德说所有的梦都是经历过的事儿,经历过的思想或者经历过的事情的引申,没有一件事是编出来的。梦都是这样的。比如我经常梦见自己在开车的时候睡着了,总能感到一种危机感,我觉得这个就和我年轻的时候在美国风雪天开旅行车,载着好几家人(出行)有关。从麻省开到弗罗里达。这一路都是风雪,地上特别滑,雪打在车窗上头,里面什么都看不着。人家说不要开了,我逞能,非要开,实际上有几分钟我根本不知道前面是什么,车飞速在走,路滑的一塌糊涂。我当然没出事儿,但那几分钟的印象深刻,让我一辈子都在做关于开车的梦。不一定是那辆车,但都跟开车有关,我觉得跟这个是有关系的,那种关于失去控制的恐惧。

我觉得旅行给人的记忆是很深的,它让你成长。每一次旅行都会给你记忆,但每天其他的事情就不一定给你记忆。很遗憾我旅行的地方不是很多,我这个人喜欢呆着,因为从年轻的时候就不得不跑到外地去上大学,二十多岁又跑到美国去留学, 在美国又从北边跑到南边去工作,逼着我迁徙。在纽约SOHO工作的时候,逼着我看了当代艺术。我这人实际上是能宅就宅, 能不出去就不出去,要不然可能更丰富一些。我到欧洲也是。做项目时,要搜集资料,但我依然觉得我从旅行中收获特别大。年龄大了,越来越意识到这一点。

The GARLICer

Interview

Zhangkan Zhou
Siyang Jing

Editor

Editor: Austin Hanyu Bian
Editor: Dawei Qinyi Zhai Yushan
Editor: Siwen Xie Tianjiao Ye Jiang
Editor: Yi Yin

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