Emeco’s birds by Yun Li combine nature and design inspirations

Paris-based designer Yun Li has created a trio of birds for Emeco, made of recycled aluminium, bringing together industrial design heritage and a passion for nature

Yun Li metal birds for Emeco
(Image credit: Courtesy Emeco)

Emeco introduces Birds by Yun Li, a small collection featuring a blackbird, a sparrow and a pigeon, made of recycled aluminium. 

Founded in 1944, Emeco is well known for its approach to recycled materials, in particular for its recycled aluminium chairs that include the iconic ‘1006 Navy Chair’ as well as new designs by Naoto Fukasawa, Jasper Morrison and designer duo Sam Hecht and Kim Colin among many more. The brand's constant creative evolution is spearheaded by owner Gregg Buchbinder, featured in our Wallpaper* USA 300.

Emeco's Birds by Yun Li

Yun Li Emeco bird in aluminium

(Image credit: Courtesy Emeco)

The new collection gives a new dimension to the company's production, offering a delicate take on its material focus. Originally from Taiwan and now based in Paris, Yun Li is a Salone Satellite alumnus with experience working with Big-Game and Pauline Deltour. His diploma project as a student at Paris' ENSCI-Les Ateliers was supervised by Jasper Morrison, a designer he cites as one of the main inspirations in his work, and the drive behind the Emeco Birds project.

Yun Li Emeco birds

(Image credit: Courtesy Emeco)

'To thank Jasper Morrison for supervising my diploma project, I gifted him one of the prototypes of the birds I had made. I didn't expect him to appreciate my gift so much that he showed it to Emeco's owner Gregg Buchbinder,' says Li. 'Thanks to Jasper and Gregg's support, my little side project has evolved into an actual product, and these aluminium birds have now found their perfect home as a part of the Emeco family.'

The three birds are as minimal in their forms as they are expressive and accurate: each silhouette is a faithful reproduction of an actual bird’s profile, and the objects are designed to gently rock when placed on a surface (pushing them up the pecking order amid our favourite wooden animals in terms of tabletop appeal). 

Li looked at industrial design as well as nature for his collection: 'Inspired by Enzo Mari’s Nature Series (Serie della Natura), I tried to design a project to express the formal quality of birds with minimal elements through a precise and cost-effective process,' he explains. 'Each element of the Birds family – sparrow, blackbird, pigeon – is crafted from laser-cut aluminum sheets. The result is a sleek and elegant object that captures the essence of the bird's form.'

From $75, available from 2modern.com


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.