Dazed Digital

Shanghai

Introducing Peter Lam's Barrn

June 21, 2011

One of the Shanghai's best loved interior designers tells us about his new store

  • Text by Satellite Voices

Guest feature by Nicola Davison

Malaysia-born Peter Lam has lived in Shanghai for five years, where he’s quickly established himself as one of the city’s chicest interior designers with his company Hot Dog Décor. With new shop Barrn, tucked away at the back of Jiashan Market, Lam launches his own collection of furniture, mirrors and rugs inspired by European design from the 50s and 60s.

Satellite Voices: Why did you come to Shanghai?
Peter Lam
: I moved here because parts of Shanghai remind me of Europe. I like Europe a lot and try to visit at least once a year.

SV: What changes have you seen in the furniture/interior design sectors since you’ve been here?
Peter Lam
: It’s been five years and the changes have been eye-popping. In terms of furniture, I’m seeing more niche brands that are doing stuff that isn’t so mainstream, stuff that’s cool and very creative. In terms of interior design, there’s much more world-class design that would not look out of place in international design magazines. There’s a greater acceptance and desire for the unconventional and the use of drama to stand out.

SV: Why is China a good (or bad) place to be designing and making furniture?
Peter Lam
: China has built up lots of expertise in manufacturing as the world manufactures here. It’s easy to find any material you want. It’s easy to find factories to make them for you (though they could be in a small town thousands of miles away). They can do it fast and relatively cheaply. The problem is quality control – details are easily overlooked. It can be very frustrating. So it’s necessary to spend a lot of time supervising the manufacturing process to ensure that the end product is exactly the way you designed it.

SV: Why do your designs look to Europe?
Peter Lam
: It’s related to my love of Europe and Scandinavia. I’m a big fan of mid-century design – the simple lines, fluid curves are all dramatic in their simplicity. I think they look very sculptural. They’re also elegant without being pretentious.

SV: What other artists or designers do you admire in Shanghai?
Peter Lam
: I am a big fan of the work done by Neri & Hu. I also admire Mu Dae, a friend of mine, who creates embroidered art.

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