About Sun Hu

Sun Hu is a magnificent designer working hard to make the World a better place with their original and innovative award-winning designs and creations.

Interview with Sun Hu

Sun Hu ("SH") interviewed on Thursday, 21 May.

Could you please tell us about your experience as a designer, artist, architect or creator?

SH : I learned landscape major from Nanjing Forestry University and earned my bachelor’s degree in 1998. Landscape architecture, this professional training includes five critical aspects: landscape formulation, painting and poetry, ecological knowledge, construction, in which various background benefit me. In the following 20 years, my skills have been dramatically improved by virtue of practical experiences.

How did you become a designer?

SH : I became a landscape architect after my graduation. But what really matters is how to make people’s dwelling become more poetic and creative. I am lucky to have lots of co-workers and clients who have the same willing as well.

What are your priorities, technique and style when designing?

SH : Culture, site and design method are the priority while I work. I prefer to sketch and draw at the very beginning of new project. Sketching and drawing is a great way to improve my creative skills and start thinking in a different way. Art shows me that there is normally more than one way to solve a problem. Art encourages open ended thinking and creativity.

Which emotions do you feel when designing?

SH : True happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose. A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of being invited to give a guest lecture at a real-estate developer. The week’s topic was new landscape. I believe happiness in design comes from contributing to a greater good — getting rid of your ego and aligning yourself with a goal that’s bigger than you.

What particular aspects of your background shaped you as a designer?

SH : My background in drawing and travelling study will be invaluable to the landscape architecture realm. Our projects are very detail and deadline oriented. We really need to take stock of every word and image and think of all possible reactions to the campaign.

What is your growth path? What are your future plans? What is your dream design project?

SH : I wish people could remember me via the landscape projects. In the coming years, urban landscape and municipal planning are the field I will continue to working on.

What are your advices to designers who are at the beginning of their career?

SH : Practice every minute you have a chance. In order to get good, there’s simply no replacement for actually doing the work. There’s a study that’s mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers that suggests that it takes a person about 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. That means you have many years and hours of practice before you can become really good. When I look back at my early design work now, it’s embarrassing, but that’s a good thing. It shows how far I’ve come.

You are truly successful as a designer, what do you suggest to fellow designers, artists and architects?

SH : In my experience, true designers have a self-fuelling passion for good design. They will be motivated to improve naturally, find design mentors and hone their design skills, all essential to their career development. The largest gap is in building client relationships. Many designers focus on design expertise and wonder why they struggle to make a living, while perhaps less-talented designers are successful. The key is to understand how to make design value obvious. How our work can solve real business problems might be clear to us, but a complete mystery to a client. Many designers feel they can win a project or charge higher fees by showing how complicated everything is, getting into nuances of visual hierarchy, design philosophy and language, negative space and balance. But the opposite is true. Distill your work into the simplest statement of how you will solve the problem. That’s where the value lies for a client, and how you will ultimately develop a relationship of trust, win more clients, gain repeat business and referrals, and build a successful design career.

What is your day to day look like?

SH : As a senior landscape architect, my schedule varies widely every day. I spend most of my time in session with my colleagues. Typically these are online or offline meetings and projects discussion. I also spend a few hours of each day training, observing, and reading. So about half of my time is spent working directly with colleagues, and a quarter of my time is spent working with my clients. Much of the rest of the time is spent getting along with my family and setting goals for the following week.

How do you keep up with latest design trends? To what extent do design trends matter?

SH : Landscape architect trends change quickly. This can sometimes make it feel like a full-time job trying to keep up to date with what’s hot, and what’s not. I always takes time out of each day to walk outside and see what is going on and how people use environment around them.

How do you know if a product or project is well designed? How do you define good design?

SH : I believe that only time and users can define good design. Because good design is classic, eternal and touching. In other words, good design is impressive rather than disposable. To give an improper example, the good design seems classic in the clothing industry, rather than the popular and short-lived shows. Take Yujingshan project which I designed in 2007 as an example, we did a customer satisfaction survey in 2017 and gained a lot of praise from it. Interviewees told us that this project is a good design by satisficing using experience during the past decade. Next, the classic, eternal and touching design need designer thinking a lot. As we all know, design cannot be only created by imagining. Don Norman said that design should start at understanding people’s demands. So, users pay an important role in landscape design. Among them, participation is a good method to achieve this goal. Recently, I am applying this method in the "Jianye 27 Bamboo Garden" project. I propose four important principles on this project: understanding, co-design, co-contribute and sharing. The developer, designers, shareholders and third party organizations were invited into the whole project. Change the situation in which the design only dominated by developers and designers in the past. It is worth spending more time on understanding the demands of people to build fascinates designs.

How do you decide if your design is ready?

SH : A design is never done, especially landscape architecture. The site, the plant and the people will continually change.

What is your biggest design work?

SH : It was in 2007, a landscape project named Da yi Villas was designed by us. The house flows in the forest shadow and the people walk in the painting are the concept of the landscaping planning and design of this project. Through the design style of nature, randomness, modernity and classical garden artistic conception, combined with the characteristics of the rich and low change of the mountain and the natural ecological characteristics of the vegetation. It has become a fine art product. In terms of landscaping design, we have integrated the natural ecological environment system of Baiyun mountain in Guangzhou, combining modern gardening techniques with the charm of classical gardens to create an atmosphere, nature and harmony with Chinese characteristics on the basis of modernity.

Who is your favourite designer?

SH : Le Corbusier, Álvaro Siza, Louis Kahn, Geoffrey Bawa, Kengo Kuma…

Would you tell us a bit about your lifestyle and culture?

SH : I live in China. China has lots of world heritage sites, including palaces, sacred sites, gardens, historic centers, cultural landscapes, and rural landscapes. They are heritage properties and landscapes that continue to change over time. Of course they will influence on my design, I always got inspiration from Chinese culture.

Would you tell us more about your work culture and business philosophy?

SH : Guangzhou S.P.I Design Co., Ltd was founded at 2007 with its headquarters in Guangzhou. Now it has 10 branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Kunming, Changsha, Wuhan, Chongqing, Chengdu and Nanjing, including 2 modules of ‘S.P.I real estate’ and ‘S.P.I culture and tourism’ with completion of more than 3000 excellent projects in over 100 cities. S.P.I has deep collaboration with China top 20 realty groups and provide superior schemes and resolutions for local governments, owning honors such as ‘National Landscape Architecture Design Qualification Class A’, ‘The Best Creative Brand Institution of China Architecture & Planning’ and ‘National Top 10 Landscape Architecture Enterprises’. S.P.I has won the first place in the competitiveness of Chinese Real Estate landscape design in Times House for 3 consecutive years, as well as other international ones of IFLA, Survey and Design Award, Kinpan Award, etc. It also won the first place of new media influence in ARCHINA industry for many times. As an expert of systematic landscape service, S.P.I pay attention to the business mission of ‘Innovation leads the poetic dwellings’, customizing systematic and integrative solutions in the fields of community environment, commercial, culture & tourism, theme towns, urban design and regional planning, which depends on new S.P.I design concept. The huge team of over 1000 will keep working for the ideal dwellings in the future, and have interdisciplinary cooperation, techniques, social and environmental responsibilities to be a world-class Landscape Architecture company with remarkable design, full service, poetic spaces and extremely explored innovative aesthetics.

What are your philanthropic contributions to society as a designer, artist and architect?

SH : Design is not for individual but for public. Under the field of my profession, I turned to pay more attention on community landscape design and urban planning rather than sales center design in the last few years. Because we must consider environmental factors as well as community needs and the long-term development plans for a specific region. We need to weigh a lot of information when deciding where parks or businesses should be constructed, and make recommendations about what types of projects should or should not be allowed in different parts of their city.

What positive experiences you had when you attend the A’ Design Award?

SH : 1、Take our project out of the comfort zone and into a real world setting. It builds our portfolio and gives it credibility. 2、Competitions provide opportunities for emerging professionals to be recognized for design concept and a platform to showcase their work. 3、Winning a competition can help us gain the attention of potential employers, land new clients or get a promotion.

Sun Hu Profile

CIFI Donut Kindergarten

CIFI Donut Kindergarten design by Sun Hu


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