CAOZITOU, a Chinese furniture brand founded by STUDIO8, focuses his work on researching materiality and cultural connection. The brand deeply believes that furniture should aim for a fun, yet simple experience that resonates with the space and is environmentally and culturally responsible.
The shape of the CAOZITOU Bench was visually inspired by the radical “艹”, which means “the upper radical of grass” which is mostly used in characters related to nature or vegetation, therefore showing the brand’s love for the environment. Similarly to how radicals work in Chinese characters, the bench itself is designed to be an attachment: it sets a unique harmonious tone for the room, creating an ambient for the connection between furniture and space.
The CAOZITOU Bench is made of plywood with a metal reinforced structure, aiming to create an effortless shape formed by three simple boards of even thickness. The horizontal board naturally gives the bench a sharing character as a seat, while the two vertical ones serve as support as well as dividers, creating an in-between space for the users to place something.
To STUDIO8, time is always the key to their design as it connects two core elements: people and place. Therefore, the form is not typically the starting point in all its designs even if it sets a “rule” for the space around it, uncovering a symbiosis between the space and the object itself. Besides its form, CAOZITOU furniture has two other characteristics: the function to attach and detach easily and its flexibility in style. A small table with extension legs are designed to get attached to the basic form for more comfort, engagement and flexibility in changing styles with different material combinations. "Why can’t we design furniture like fashion garments so people can change their style based on the occasion?" asked Shirley Dong, founder of STUDIO8.
CH28 is a collection of five benches inspired by different natural phenomenon: Magma, Fumarole, Eucalypt, Aurora and Blue Flame. As they unfold, they reveal different textures, shades and patterns while creating interesting compositions, styles and aesthetics, raising awareness about the changes of our earth.
The CAOZITOU Pagoda is made up of a group of stacked CAOZITOU benches and some stools. Inspired by the traditional Chinese pagoda, the installation can be partially or fully assembled with simple tenon structures. When the seats are not needed, the pagoda is a free-standing bookshelf with components placed freely on it, forming shapes that appear in Chinese characters. People’s interactions with the installation are recorded for the studio’s further product improvement and development. In addition, the pagoda installation presents itself without any finishing material, thus acting as a research and workshop base for material studies that generate more interest in young people about new materials and craftsmanship.
Location: Shanghai, China
Design Firm: STUDIO8
Lead Designer: Shirley Dong, Andrea Maira
Design Team: STUDIO8 design team, Marie Donnou
Photography by Jean Baptiste (CH28 collection), Sven Zhang (CZT Pagoda), STUDIO8 (CZT basic), courtesy of STUDIO8