Establishing “Ugan concept” designer floor brand in 2015, Wang Guohua brought up the concept that “floor is the first skin of space”, advocating presentation of floor’s beauty in oriental aesthetics in the modern context among the relationship between space, floor and man.
2015年创立“感物 Ugan concept”地板家居设计品牌,并于同年提出“地板是空间第一层肌肤”的概念。在空间、地板与人三者关系中,去呈现地板在当代语境下的东方美学之境。
Dialogue with Ugan concept: Nature, home and man
What role does floor play in a space?
W: It was about the year 2013, when I was in Machu Picchu, I began to think about other things outside of floor for the first time, such as the roles of the universe, the nature and floor in home space and their relationships with man. Floor is the first skin of space, especially in home space. When a home is decorated with proper floor, the feeling it expresses will surpass geometry concepts and conveys certain emotions. When a tree finishes its mission of the nature, it will change its role to become a medium for human and nature by bringing the nature into “human”’s field and enabling coexistence of nature and human in home (space). Of course, the field can be a home, a studio, a gallery, a shop or any other kinds of space.
Why did you establish the brand “Ugan concept”?
W: We have talked about the role transforming of trees. What “Ugan concept” wants to do is to get involved into the process in which trees are transformed into wood. Where would a tree go when it finishes its natural mission? At this moment, the tree is passive while what “Ugan concept” does is to well present the process how the tree is materialized into wood. I have been in the floor industry for over 10 years and I’m very familiar with its history and development. I’ve been to many international floor exhibitions but barely saw a brand that can present the modern China. The DOMOTEX - Hanover Exhibition in Germany in 2007 sowed the seed in me to establish my own floor brand, but at that time the condition was premature neither my personal experience nor the external environment. So I waited for the opportunity until 2015 and finally launched the “Ugan concept” plan.
What is the brand idea of “Ugan concept”?
W: Between the intimate, outside the outside.
Between the intimate: the relationship between man and floor is intimate. Intimate means there is no distance between. “Between the intimate” represents the function aspect of floor.
Outside the outside: outside shows the beauty of prospect born from the object. It’s the spiritual aspect of floor.
The category of “Ugan concept” is very special. Can you talk about it in detail?
W: The category is built on “Ugan concept”’s brand gene. “Ugan concept” is a floor brand deeply rooted in oriental culture. It is natural to expand its concept according to oriental aesthetics. The word-formation method of Chinese character is very oriental. “木 (wood)” is the original material of floor boards. Based on this pictogram, we deploy other four characters that are combinations of characters of “木 (wood)” and “一 (one)”. Their meanings differ when “一 (one)”’s position changes on “木 (wood)”. It is very interesting and symbolic. Even a foreigner who doesn’t know Chinese can easily remember those characters.
What features of floor attract you so much?
W: My love with floor came gradually with time. When I graduated from college, it was my first job and I just took it step by step. Now thinking it seriously, it is some features of “wood” that attract me:
1. Mono no aware of wood: I have very strong mono no aware tones especially to objects polished by time. Wood is one of the representatives. In oriental culture, especially in China and Japan, wood is always used as the main material in architecture, while in the west it is stone. Wood is a kind of thing that is easy to fade away. It will fade into the nature again along with the time. The process is beautiful, quiet and full of power.
2. Growth rings of wood. Life of trees begins from rotating rather than stretching out. We all know that trees have growth rings, which grows year after year around the original center. The growth rings preserve orders of time and space. It is a profile for human to explore into the unknown areas of our universe. It is a record of sunlight, soil, humidity, macula, position and even volcano explosions. It is a method for trees to record time. If we see the growth rings as the time flow of the universe, then the cracks on the wood is the mark made by time, the channel from finite to infinity. The naps and gaps marked by time are also branded by man who uses it and creates memories on it.
Can you tell us more about the designing idea of “Ugan concept”?
W: The idea is simply to“present wood’s beauty by its nature”.
First, our design focuses on material, which means material comes first than design and design serves for material. What our design expresses is not designer, but material. I think good designers and designing groups should understand material’s “language” and then express it according to material’s “instruction”. The process is in fact the connotation of “Ugan concept”.
It is said that you are working on a concept of “floor recycling”?
W: The total resources of our planet earth are limited. “Floor recycling” concept of “Ugan concept” recycles our old products on one hand and on the other, collects and recycles floor boards on a global scale. This will be the “末 (mo)” series. Such kind of resources is quite rich in Europe and I think there will be more in China also. For me, ideally, good floor boards can be used for the whole life and can be passed down to the offspring as art works. When the brand structure is more complete, “Ugan concept” will gradually perfect this series with more investments, adding businesses such as floor care and repairing.
W:大概是2013年,在马丘比丘, 我第一次跳出了地板本身去思考一些东西, 关于宇宙、自 然、地板在家宅空间内的角色以及与人的一些关系。 地板是空间的第一层肌肤, 这其中尤其以人类的“家宅”最为明显, 当合适的地板出现在家里, 那种家的感觉应该是超越几何学空间概念的, 它会带有某种特殊情绪。当一棵树完成自然使命的时候,它转换角色, 成为人类与自然间的介质, 它将自然安置在“人”的场域里, 让自然来到家(空间)里一起居住。当然, 这个场域, 可以是寓所, 也可以是工作室、美术馆、商铺,任何空间。
W:前面谈到树的角色转换问题, 而“感物”就是想参与由树到木的这个角色转换过程。当一棵树完成自然使命,它何去何从? 这个时候, 树是被动的一方, 而“感物”做的就是如何去舒服地呈现木物化的那个状态。我从事了10余年地板行业, 应该说非常熟悉这个行业的历史与脉络, 国际上大大小小的展会参加无数, 却很少遇到一个能表达当代中国的地板品牌,2007年的DOMOTEX——德国汉诺威展会给我埋下了做自己内心地板品牌的种子, 但那时时机尚不成熟, 无论是个人的经验积累还是客观大环境, 所以我一直在等待这个时机。2015年, 我感觉差不多了, 就启动了感物这个计划。
W: 无间之间, 象外之象。
无间之间:人与地板是无间的状态(无间,即亲密无间);无间也是一种距离, 即为零距离;无间之间, 是地板“形而下”的使用层面。
象外之象:象外, 即因物境而产生的意境之美, 地板“形而上”的精神层面。
“感物 Ugan concept” 地板分类挺特别的, 可以具体谈谈吗?
W:这个分类是基于“感物”的品牌基因出发的,“感物”是植根于东方的地板品牌, 所以很自然地在各方面都会从东方美学的原点去思考切入。古老汉字的造字法极具东方韵味,木是地板原料, 基于“木”这个象形字,我们从中发现了由“木”而生的另外四个指示字, 都是“木“与“一”的结合, 只是这个“一”的位置不同而转变成不同意思。汉字造字很好玩, 而且有很特别的符号性, 就算一个不懂中文的外籍人士看了, 他也能毫无障碍地记住这个符号。
W:我与地板, 应该属于日久生情, 高校毕业入行, 当时谈不上喜欢, 仅仅就是一个工作而已, 就那么一步步摸索着到现在, 仔细想想, 更准确地说应该是喜欢“木”的几个特质。
1.木之物哀:我个人有比较强烈的“物哀”情结, 尤其是经过时光剥蚀的物件, 而木是其中的一种代表性材质。东方文明, 尤其是中国和日本, 从建筑角度来看, 与西方明显区别是西方主要以石为原料, 而木建筑始终是东方的主体。木是一种易逝之物,会在时间的风化中再度融入自然, 这种消逝的过程美学, 安静而充满力量。
2.木之年轮:树的生命与其说是从向外伸出开始, 不如说是从旋转开始。我们都知道, 树有年轮, 树的生命冲动从旋转开始, 一圈一圈, 一年一年, 不紧不慢, 始终围绕着最初的那个圆心。木之年轮,封存的是时间与空间的秩序, 它成为人类探索宇宙奥秘的档案, 通过年轮可以知道光照、土壤、湿度、太阳黑子、方位、火山喷发等讯息。年轮是树木记录时间的方式, 如果将之看作是宇宙时间之流示现的话, 那么木头的裂缝则可认为是时间之楔钉入的缺口, 也就是打破年轮,从有限进入无限的一种途径。而树木的疤痕, 带着时间的标签, 这混合着人类使用的痕迹记忆点, 也即是人使用过程中产生的记忆烙印。
首先,“感物 Ugan concept”设计其重心是材料本身,也就是材料先于设计或者说设计为材料服务,设计表达的不是设计师本身,而是材料。我认为好的设计师或设计团队,首先得能听懂材料的语言,然后再按照材料的吩咐顺势去表达出来,其实这也就是感物过程的显影。