The China List: Yves Béhar, Industrial Design
Wallpaper* and China’s Cultural Heritage and Sustainable Development Fund (CHSDF) present China By Design—a celebration of Chinese cultural heritage and the many global creatives who have been inspired by it. Explore the full list here.
The Swiss industrial designer Yves Béhar has long advocated the idea of an all-inclusive approach to design. Having studied in Lausanne and the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, Béhar went on to work at Frog Design and Lunar, two of the agencies behind the pioneering new wave of Silicon Valley-driven innovation. His own studio Fuseproject was founded in 1999 with the aim of bringing a holistic view of the entire design process, from conception to marketing. Béhar and his team have two bases, in San Francisco and Shanghai.
‘We have worked daily in China with manufacturers for 20 years,’ says Béhar. ‘We’re seeing a lot of progress in efficiency and sustainability as it is a requirement on all of our projects.’ Recent works include the ‘Sayl’ chair for Herman Miller, the ‘Snoo’ Smart Sleeper crib system, the revival of the SodaStream drinks system as an eco-friendly way of avoiding plastic waste, and ‘The Frame’ for Samsung, an evolution of the television into a portal for art.
‘From function to aesthetic, there are also different cultural perceptions and preferences around the world in terms of how products integrate into our lives,’ Béhar says. ‘As a San Francisco-based designer who works both on products marketed to an audience in China and as an external design consultant for businesses in China, these differences can stretch our team to reconsider our own perceptions.’ Everything that comes of out of Fuseproject is approached from every discipline – hence the ‘fuse’ component of the name. ‘Design is a forward-thinking medium that must examine life and human interaction as it is informed by the problems we’re facing as a planet,’ Béhar says. ‘It is tasked with the responsibility of addressing those plights.’§