Design Diary

A personal review of design creations.

The Xing Kiln Museum


In the Northen Chinese county of Neiqiu, the Xing Kiln Museum pays tribute to an ancestral craft developed as refined art: white porcelain.

The white wares launched the country’s reputation as a center of porcelain. As hard, dense, and durable as their southern green counterparts, but more immediately appealing due to their sparkling, glossy, clean-looking material, white wares became the envy and aspiration of potters worldwide. Porcelain clays are naturally available in north China, and some rare examples of white wares—made of a pure, white clay, unglazed, but fired at temperatures just high enough to qualify as stonewares—have been discovered at sites of the late Shang dynasty (circa 1600–circa 1050 BCE) at Anyang in Henan province. 


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In 2012, the local government acknowledged this prestigious legacy by opening the Xing Kiln Ruins and decided to build a museum. 


YCA was commissioned to work on the project and their first mission was to separate the site from a busy environment. 


The top of the building acts like an open gallery that surrounds a pool elevated from the ground. Seven pieces of rustic porcelain are floating above the water; below the pool is a continuous space containing the entrance and main exhibition hall; symmetrical but plausible wide steps connect the ring gallery, pool and square on the north side.

The seven bowl-shaped structures offer a picturesque feature in the summer with the ripples of light reflected from the clear water at the bottom of the curved outer wall but also  in the winter when the scenery is turning white of frost.

Porcelain showrooms and corresponding ancillary facilities vary in size. In order to bring them together as a whole, circle-packing algorithm is used in the design as geometric control diagrams.


Xing Porcelain originated in Sui dynasty, and flourished in Tang dynasty. The Great Tang Empire’s vigour and the simplicity of the square and the circle must be related somehow. How to use square and circle in contemporary times? This is our thinking and answer.


Photographs by He Chen

Paradis Barbares by Christian Lacroix Maison

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The 2019 Spring Summer Collection of Christian Lacroix Maison is an invitation to a mysterious, esoteric and phantasmagorical world. From soft colours to strange animals, stationary to delicate porcelain, let’s embark to a land with “no straight lines in nature”.

To present the collection, Christian Lacroix Maison used the troglodyte villas of Jacques Couëlle above Grasse (France). “Paradis Barbares” fits perfectly well into the private rooms designed by Garouste and Bonetti. 

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The collection brings us to a mysterious imaginary world. The journey will stop at “Bois Paradis”, a two-tone panorama depicts an original garden with fairytale fauna; “l’Eden”, a print with leaves and a Japanese wallpaper; “Bosquet”, a woven wool rug that will lead us to “Cueillette” and its berries laid out on velvety cotton, symbol of the nature’s generosity.

Don’t be lazy because the next steps of our trip will guide us to “Les Messagers”, woven butterflies then off to “les Rosales”, a jacquard embroidered with hydrangeas and wild roses sewn with gold thread.

“Les Centaurées” is a unique wallpaper with shimmering metal-stamped thistles, followed by “le Pas des Anges” preceding “l’Aveu”, a woven Persian mashrabiya before a paved “Pietra Dura” alleyways, another beautiful rug leading to “l’Entrelacs” wall hanging.

Finally the voyage ends after the discovery of “Herbariae”, a wallpaper covered with a bouquet of narcissus, lotuses and poppies.

Herbariae is also the name of a fine porcelain collections produced by Vista Alegre for Christian Lacroix Maison. The neo-classical freshness is inspired by poppy, narcissus, lotus flower, dahlia and thistle and is presented in either a black and white duo and also a soft pink and yellow combination.

The full Spring/Summer collection is also a feast for a beautiful range of stationary featuring an imaginary world where mysterious animals and phantasmagorical flora are living in harmony.

Pictures by Philippe Garcia.

Essentials Reimagined

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How to present traditional Arabian meals and dishes in a contemporary way? Emirati architect, Abdalla Almulla introduces 'Mese' and bring his creation to Paris, world culinary capital.

There are some true classics in the Arab world of food… From Hummus to falafel without forgetting Baba Ganoush? They are all referred as Mezze.

Abdalla Almulla is the founder of Abdalla Almulla Design Firm. He lives and works in Dubai. Mezze comes in small plates, offering a blend of tastes and sensations. Friends and family are grouped all around, sharing from the same spread of mouthwatering dishes.

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Infused with great craftsmanship, ‘Mese’ creates a very sociable serving experience by breaking down into six distinct bowls. It is made with great precision, allowing the six bowls of varied proportions to stack and form a Vase with an elegant geometric shape.

When not in use, the stack makes a decorative accent to the dining table.

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‘Mese’ is made of Porcelain material, one of the most used for daily living, and ideal to reserve a delicate appearance of a vase. It is currently presented at 1000 Vases in Paris, as part of Paris Design Week.