“A book of nature, the garden of life” a conversation between Human and Nature.
Ms. Jiang Qiong Er
As Artistic Director of SHANG XIA, Ms. Jiang Qiong Er is one of the few young Chinese contemporary designers of international reputation infusing the subtlety, beauty, and heritage of Chinese culture. Her designs breathe elegance of innovation and imagination. Her international vision and open mind, along with her multi-cultural background, naturally allow her creativity to express itself; preserving and respecting tradition, both Eastern and Western.
At SHANG XIA, Jiang Qiong Er oversees a team of designers who create the range of collections that embody the essence of SHANG XIA. The collections are the encounter of Asian heritage and innovation, creating a new aesthetic for the 21st century.
Born into a family of artist-creators in Shanghai, her family history is anchored in Asian tradition. Her grandfather Jiang Xuan Yi, who later studied abroad, belonged to a generation of Chinese painters born in the century when European and American artists were undertaking the “Journey to the Orient”. He was himself inspired by western techniques and influences. Her father, Xing Tong He, is the architect of the Shanghai Museum.
Jiang Qiong Er was introduced to traditional painting when she was two years old and later became a student of the painter Cheng Shi Fa and the calligrapher Han Tian Hong, two leading figures in traditional Chinese art. She then joined the prestigious Tong Ji University to study design. Her degree is in Art & Design. Upon graduation, she chose to go to the Decorative Arts School in Paris to further her studies in furniture and interior design. This choice completely changed her life.
After returning from France, Ms. Jiang experimented with many techniques and found in her double culture an eternal source of inspiration. Her work mingles techniques, intermingles references and bridges provocative traditions with a modern language. Through her work the inspiration of the long history of China can be found.
Through continual exposure to all fields of art, Ms. Jiang came to appreciate even more the rich cultural heritage she was born into. Understanding more and more Chinese craftsmanship and the deft skills of these craftsmen, Ms. Jiang was touched by the power and beauty of their work. This became the impetus of the dream to have the world appreciate the craftsmanship and design of China.
As an artist, Ms. Jiang has exhibited in Switzerland, the United States, France, and numerous other museum exhibitions. Her work can also be found in museum collections. She has participated in international projects as well as having received multiple awards. As once a Creative Director of Hermes windows in China, the encounter began, and together with Hermes, Ms. Jiang set up SHANG XIA.
Today Jiang Qiong Er is completely devoted to developing SHANG XIA and promoting Chinese fine craftsmanship to the world.
To celebrate its one-year anniversary, SHANG XIA I went to check the month long exhibition at Sinan Mansions in Shanghai.
The exhibition “Human and Nature” is dedicated to contemporary Chinese craftsmanship. The objects highlight SHANG XIA’s commitment to creating contemporary and usable objects whilst maintaining the beauty and techniques of traditional artisans in China. The collection includes furniture, decorative objects, accessories, jewelry and garments.
A “Garden” within the villa’s courtyard was designed by the Japanese Architect Kengo Kuma, who also designed SHANG XIA’s boutique in Shanghai. The “Garden” is a tea tasting space made of light cloth, which is gently supported by a floating balloon. It can be interpreted as a cloud descending on a bamboo grove; an imagery often cited Chinese poetry.
“Tea Line” is a space constructed of Pu Er tea bricks. Here visitors can experience a traditional tea ceremony through SHANG XIA’s furniture and specially designed objects. SHANG XIA has invited Chinese craftsmen from around the country to the opening ceremony to demonstrate traditional techniques such as cashmere felt and bamboo weaving.
The SHANG XIA incense space is another masterpiece by Kengo Kuma. Handmade Rice paper has been used to construct a dreamlike space, to be used for performances by SHANG XIA’s incense master. Shapes inspired by tealeaves are used to create a clean, elegant, harmonious and peaceful environment.
collection is inspired by traditional Chinese carry boxes , Garden Jewelry , jade , agate, gold and silver that symbolizes immortality, sculpture-Felt , felt garments are made using similar techniques to those used when hand-felting fabric for Mongolian yurts. Inspired by traditional Han dynasty clothing .
Throughout its collection SHANG XIA strives to blend the finest quality materials with consistent craftsmanship. SHANG XIA’s ambition is to preserve the beauty and techniques of traditional craftsmanship, and ensure their sustainability by breathing contemporary life into them.
“The idea that nature is the origin of human beings, has been creeping into Chinese culture and life for thousands of years and it is a philosophy which needs to be kept in mind for one’s entire lifetime.” said Ms Jiang Qiong Er, CEO and Artistic Director of SHANG XIA.
The Brand: Shang Xia