Our summer issue provided a look at photographer James Florio’s visit to China where he took incredible photos of buildings designed by China’s most talented architects. As a bonus and extension of that article, we are including a short interview of Li Xiang, founder of X+Living. Check out her story and some more of Florio’s photos below. To read the original article, click here.
Tell us a little bit about your background as an architect, and how you started X+Living.
I graduated as an architect from the Birmingham City University. I returned to China after graduation, and got a job at an architecture firm. My speaking right was just on design plans, when clients came to look at the plans, what I made were just pieces of papers, which had no practical sense. The real estate climate was booming and I wanted to promote a spirit of excitement, but I felt stuck. In order to create what I wanted, I founded my own architectural design firm, X+Living, to be a company that has its own design philosophy and doesn’t follow the crowd.
What is your method when approaching a new project?
Local elements is something we take into deep consideration, but what’s most important is the needs of our client and the uniqueness of design. We want our designs to have a different quality beyond meeting functional requirements. We don’t design for design, but for creating a good work to bring positive energy to the society.
Where did the inspiration for Ideas Lab come from?
This project is located in Powerlong Commercial Center in Minhang, Shanghai. It’s a single commercial building. Because the client wanted it to be a co-working space for researching the future development of commercial space, we created a space in the vein of the Industrial Revolution. It became playful space – entirely modern, but throwing it back to a time when everything was changing. In fact, it’s not so different than now.
What excites you?
I like sitting in the car, driving on the road of the French Concession [neighborhood in Shanghai] where sycamore trees line the street, just to feel the energy of the city.
Caroline Joan Peixoto