Jialun Xiong distills her inspirations in minimalist designs

Wallpaper* Future Icons: Jialun Xiong is reinventing minimalism with her pared-back yet deeply referential interiors and furnishings

Jialun Xiong portrait
(Image credit: Ye Rin Mok)

Born in Chongqing, China but based in Los Angeles, Jialun Xiong has always been interested in exploring duality. The trained architect and furniture designer often looks to the high-rise architecture of her hometown and the functional minimalism of International Style Modernism evident throughout her adoptive city when developing new concepts. For her, it’s all about finding the perfect balance between restraint and boldness; weightlessness and weightiness. 

Jialun Xiong: 'I am for discipline, clarity and good craftsmanship'

Jialun Xiong furniture

Folds Single Sofa

(Image credit: Ye Rin Mok)

Whether designing a furnishing or interior, Xiong is able to bring together and distil different sources of inspiration—cultural references and details specific to one architectural style or another. She achieves this through the careful combination of material, texture, geometric form, proportion, and composition. It’s all about intentionality and sticking to her guns. For her, the best kind of designs are those that don't immediately lay to bare their visual influences but rather, reveal their aesthetic allegiances over time.

Jialun Xiong furniture

Dwell Side Table

(Image credit: Neil Godwin at Future Studios for Wallpaper*)

One of the multifaceted talents' key strategies is the careful interplay of positive and negative space. Case in point: Dwell Side Table. The 40 x 40 x 40 cm, hand brushed aluminium stand references the massing of a sleek minimalist model home one might find anywhere in the world. Different geometric forms cut away on each side, as if delineating curtain windows or overhangs. A top surface circle is essentially a skylight.

The piece formalizes a conversation between the simplicity of shape and the complexity of fabrication. Though simple in composition, the crystalline design requires a level of precision and skill to be constructed. 'I always aim for discipline and clarity but also, good craftsmanship even with a material like metal,' says Xiong. 'My works have nothing to hide. They’re often stripped down to their simplest forms, encouraging viewers to appreciate structural details.'

sichuan impression los angeles restaurant jialun xiong design

(Image credit: Courtesy of Ye Rin Mok)

The designer is constantly analysing the relationship between objects and spatial volumes; the proportion between the things as well as pushing the boundaries of their construction. Less interested in making designs that are loud and imposing, she focuses on facilitating people’s understanding of materiality and form. 

This distilled and abstracted design is much more than a uniquely decorated side table. It demands the viewer to think about architecture and space in a new and engaging way. Asking the user to slow down and reconsider the objects around them is central to Xiong's mission.

Jialun Xiong lighting design

Half Lamp in Hand-brushed aluminium

(Image credit: Ye Rin Mok)

Other designs like the Half Table Lamp contrast hemispherical shapes with a bisecting rectilinear plane. The former element is illuminated and moveable, making for a number of configurations to direct light. In this instance, Xiong is working to change the perception of this eternal element. Projects like the outfit of the Sichuan Impressions restaurant combine many of these explorations but are masterfully brought together as a single statement piece.


Jialun Xiong furniture

Building Blocks 3-Seater

(Image credit: Ye Rin Mok)

Adrian Madlener is a Brussels-born, New York-based writer, curator, consultant, and artist. Over the past ten years, he’s held editorial positions at The Architect’s Newspaper, TLmag, and Frame magazine, while also contributing to publications such as Architectural Digest, Artnet News, Cultured, Domus, Dwell, Hypebeast, Galerie, and Metropolis. In 2023, He helped write the Vincenzo De Cotiis: Interiors monograph. With degrees from the Design Academy Eindhoven and Parsons School of Design, Adrian is particularly focused on topics that exemplify the best in craft-led experimentation and sustainability.