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Designing a Life: A Cross-Cultural Journey

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Designing a Life tells the inspiring story of Kai-Yin Lo, a determined woman born to a wealthy Hong Kong family who had to build her own future following an abrupt change in the family’s fortunes. After a first job at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, she made her way to Time Inc. in New York to establish a new life.

Encouraged by her first collection being accepted by Cartier New York, she employed talent, innovation and determination to become a designer of international renown, respected as an ambassador for cross-cultural exchange in art, design and thought.

“Kai-Yin is a polymath and a phenomenon, having seamlessly juggled an analytical career as a scholar, historian, teacher and editor, with the artistic and imaginative flair of an amazing jewellery, accessory designer and ceramic artist.” – Thomas Heatherwick, Founder, Heatherwick Studio, London

“In her role as Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts London, Kai-Yin Lo has done very valuable work as an effective contributor and ambassador, promoting understanding and application of cross-culture.” – Professor Jeremy Till, Head, Central Saint Martins, Pro Vice-Chancellor, University of the Arts London

“Never ceasing to learn and create, Kai-Yin has proven herself to be an outstanding artistic and intellectual entrepreneur who blends harmoniously the aesthetic and the practical. The Asia Society on both sides of the Pacific has benefited from her generosity of spirit and cultural expressions.” – Ronnie C. Chan, Chairman, Asia Society Hong Kong Center

“Kai-Yin Lo is a creative tour de force whose jewelry designs re-interpreting Chinese traditional design principles were at the forefront of a reappraisal of traditional Chinese culture. She also seeks to share her interests with others through the philanthropic support of dialogues and talks that foster an understanding of new issues in Asian culture. These have included some of the most important cultural leaders of our time, such as Xu Bing, Tan Dun, and Shen Wei.” – Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

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Designing a Life tells the inspiring story of Kai-Yin Lo, a determined woman born to a wealthy Hong Kong family who had to build her own future following an abrupt change in the family’s fortunes. After a first job at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, she made her way to Time Inc. in New York to establish a new life. Encouraged by her first collection being accepted by Cartier New York, she employed talent, innovation and determination to become a designer of international renown, respected as an ambassador for cross-cultural exchange in art, design and thought.

PRAISE FOR KAI-YIN LO

“Kai-Yin sets a good model for our younger generation in pursuing one’s dream.” – Professor Eric C. Yim, Chairman, Hong Kong Design Centre

“Kai-Yin’s aesthetic sensibility of mix-and-match and stylish daring make her outstanding.” – Xu Bing, international artist, Beijing

“As outstanding scholar, designer and polymath, Kai-Yin Lo melds and interprets Chinese culture for international understanding and application.” – Yue-Sai Kan, media icon, Shanghai & New York

“Having cooperated with Kai-Yin since the 1980s, I admire her as an artist, who with deep insight and creativity, continues to renew and innovate in jewelry and other spheres of art and design.” – Wang Yannan, co-founder, China Guardian Auctions, Beijing

“Kai-Yin is an insatiable learner with an intellectual prowess to inquire and synthesise knowledge in tandem with her creative design. Working and traveling with Kai-Yin for more than 20 years, I have been impressed and stimulated by her grand view of Chinese civilisation, the inter-civilisation exchanges and cross-fertilisation, and at the same time her attention to historical details in depth.” – Puay-Peng Ho, Professor and Head, Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore

“I first met Kai-Yin Lo over 30 years ago in Tokyo when she came to promote her exotic yet contemporary jewellery that summed up the essence of East and West, old and contemporary. I was so impressed, as in Japan in those days, we couldn’t find any woman like her! After all these years, her jewellery is still my daily accessory. While design is her artistic expression, she is also a great scholar of Chinese and European cross-culture. She is an amazing woman!” – Kazuko Aso, board member, Asian Cultural Council, Tokyo 

“Kai-Yin Lo is passionate in bridging cultures of East and West, cooperating with community, government, education and creative organizations. I am proud to have the sponsored the Central Saint Martins / Kai-Yin Lo Cross-Culture Lectures 2014-2017.” – Hans Michael Jebsen, Chairman, Jebsen & Co Ltd., Hong Kong & Denmark

“I have known Kai-Yin Lo since the 1960s and have followed her career with interest and admiration. From being a pioneering designer of jewellery and accessories, she has now become a designer of world recognition. Using her extensive knowledge of European and Chinese history, she has blended in art form the cultures of East and West. She has done this at a time when our connected world, particularly in the fields of politics and business, recognizes the vital importance of the creative industries in enhancing cross-cultural understanding and international cooperation.” – Sir Henry Keswick, Chairman Emeritus, Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd., London & Hong Kong

Additional information

Weight390 g
Dimensions140 × 216 mm
Pages

280

Binding

Paperback

Illustrations

Approximately 80 images, including a 16-page colour photo section

About the author

Kai-Yin Lo’s work as a celebrated jewelry designer, curator and historian melds the cultural heritages of East and West. A visiting professor at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London, she is a specialist in cross-culture and editor of five influential books on aspects of Chinese art, design and living environment, ranging from Chinese furniture and living patterns to Song ceramics and contemporary Hong Kong design culture.

A recipient of the Hong Kong Design Centre’s prestigious “World’s Leading Chinese Designer” award in 2007, Kai-Yin brings breadth of insight and vision to the worlds of art, design, culture and business.