gooood team interviews creative individuals under 35 years old from all over the world, some are pioneering founders, some are ordinary practitioners. gooood is trying to record the authentic living and working states of this era. Your recommendations and suggestions are appreciated!
gooood Under 35 NO.5 introduces LYCS Architecture. More: LYCS Architecture on gooood.
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gooood × LYCS Founder Ruan Hao 创始人阮昊
I love Westlake, Hangzhou and Design
“I have always been enthusiastic and passionate about design”
I spent my childhood somewhere next to the Westlake, so I always have a soft spot for Hangzhou. It is an incredibly interesting and graceful city to me. I especially treasure the memory of encountering something unexpected and amazing while you emerge yourself within a poetic and graceful environment.
I have always been interesting in things that are logical or artistic since I was young, and I am hoping to find a relative balance between them. Designing is a profession standing between these two spectrum. That’s why I am so passionate and enthusiastic on designing. I would rather consider myself as a designer rather then an architect. I am hoping that I can create something that will last in people’s memory within my life times. They will keep bringing happiness and joyful memory to everyone even if my team and I are no longer in charge of these things.
▼零壹城市不同尺度的项目，projects of LYCS in various scales
Focusing on Contemporary Issues, and Keeping the Whole Industry in Mind
“We Provide us Our own Mission: We are hoping to that we can bring more diverse range of solutions to the issues of cities in an acupuncture manner…… we hope to explore the potential of the entire design industry.”
We are always focusing our attention on all kinds of issues of the environments we live that we encounter during the process of urbanization, issues in particular about space and human living. We try to find out the difference between what is like 30 years ago and the present in this developing city. During this 30 years, cities in our country have been developing and changing drastically. So drastic that no one will stop and contemplate the different kinds of issues that happened within the cities as the issues starting to emerge. We provide us our own Duty: We are hoping to that we can bring more diverse range of solutions to the issues of cities in an acupuncture manner. We hope that such projects and design modes can be introduced to many other cities.
Besides focusing our attention on the cities, we are also thinking of how we will establish our own design industry for LYCS Architecture。 Therefore, our design not only includes architecture and interior design, but also industrial designs, branding, graphic designs, and soft furnishing designs, etc. We hope to explore the potential of designs to the entire industry, and to unify and to explore new possibilities in our own youthful ways.
▼建筑项目 -（上）屋顶跑道小学（点击这里查看更多）/（下）上海宝业中心（点击这里看更多）Architecture project – (above) the 2nd School of Hangzhou Future Tech City (click HERE to see more) / (below) Shanghai Baoye Center (click HERE to see more)
The Structure of Our Company
“Flat, Internet-based, bottom up, self revolutionary, and open-ended.”
▼零壹办公室，开放的工作环境，open working space of LYCS office
▼零壹办公室休息区，荣誉墙和材料库，reception of LYCS office with awards on the wall and material library
▼零壹获得过的部分奖项，part of the awards that LYCS won
▼零壹办公室书柜，book shelves in LYCS office
One thing that distinct LYCS from other designing firms is that it is a really flat and internet-based company. The system of creative ideas for our design team is bottom-up. Ideas and concepts of many design firms come from the few masters who founded their firms, but to LYCS, we have a faith that new ideas will emerge and be executed from a bottom – up system. During projects, we share different kinds of fragmental information, and via discussion and even argument, we quickly record those ideas on wall. As the most extracted idea eventually emerges, we don’t even know who is the first person came up with that. This truly is a bottom-up system that can constantly emerge brand-new ideas and proposals. It always occurs moments when one feels that his/her idea is drained. Only in a system that is able to do self-updating and evolution can new and valuable ideas constantly emerge.
Another unique aspect of our team is that we have been keeping doing innovation and self-revolutions. We always slow down to contemplate what we are doing the next steps as we accomplished something. We will also reflect what we have done in a really sincere and honest attitude. Everything hardship and reality is easy to overcome, but the nutshells of ourselves are hard to breakthrough.
LYCS has always been trying to involve in the entire industry, to participate in something larger than mere design. Designing industry is not just about relationships between the clients and the designers. Only when we are able to emerge in the system of industrial co-operation and value creation in a more refined and open-ended approach can we serve and co-operate more creatively for our partners. We welcome young and passionate designers joining us to establish a larger platform for innovation design.
▼零壹团队共同讨论工作，LYCS members working together
The Method of Design
“We are guided by user behavior, and always take the need of our clients in the first place…All projects lead to different ends, but they start similarly…… A design can be said as successful if it could bring something more interesting, happier, or wonderful into the contemporary cities and city livings.”
Our design is always guided by the behavior of users. It is a solution finding design approach that is neither restricted by individuals or small teams, nor limited by certain art styles or motifs and artistic expression in anyone’s mind. This design approach is more about finding creative solutions and putting the need of user in the first place. We will create personas and do a lot of research of our customers. Only when we have a deeper understanding of our customers can we figure out essence of the existing issues of spaces, core and the deeper human nature related them. After that we will bring up more Interesting and creative ideas that will eventually lead to ground-breaking designs. So regardless we are doing a small-scale desk for cats or larger scale buildings, or even projects later on, we try to design based on this approach. You will end up finding that though our designs are lead to different ends, they start from the same approach. These designs are well related. Meanwhile, we hope that our design is simple, innocent, and happy, so we do not want our designs to be given excessive amount of interpretation or historical value. We believe that a design can be said as successful if it could bring something more interesting, happier, or wonderful into the contemporary cities and city livings.
▼屋顶跑道小学设计介入过程，design process of the 2nd School of Hangzhou Future Tech City
▼上海宝业中心设计介入过程，design process of Shanghai Baoye Center
Everyone knows our project of primary school with roof top running track. We get a new school project after that — the 2nd School of Hangzhou Future Tech City. The general design approach of the school seems to be different from the Primary School with Roof Top Running Track, but it is still lead by needs of children. Because we have a faith that a school is not eventually decided by the school manager and the cadres, but also decided by the engagement of children in the school. So we found a few children in the very beginning, and asked them to draw out their ideal schools. And then we converted those feeling about little houses, streets, and towns in the drawings into a schematic design. Eventually, as fifteen different sizes of houses were put together, a variety of courtyards are created, and a “tiny-town” with a kindergarten, elementary school and middle school was built.
▼行为导向设计 – 杭州科技城第二小学，从儿童画出发进行设计，Design guided by users’ behavior – Hangzhou Future Sci-Tech City No.2 School, design started from children’s painting
gooood × 零壹城市团队
Overview of the story of the project
“The Baoye Center in Shanghai is a mile-stone like project in our entire history of developments.”
The Project of Shanghai Baoye Center is a special for us. We initiated our conception design in September 2012. We having working on it for five years. The main structure of the building was completed, yet the construction of the interior is still ongoing. To us, the project is a rather valuable experiment. We practiced a holistic design approach in architecture, interior design, landscape, and the facade of the project, so that we achieved a rather high state of completion for the design of this project. For instance, for the GRC Curtain wall of the exterior façade of the building, four 1:1 modulated mock-ups were built one and a half to two years ago. We did not start building the installation of the entire curtain wall until we ensured that the original mock-ups neither got muddy nor transformed after exposing in natural environment for one and a half years. A lot of collaboration between different professions happened within the entire design process. We put a lot of efforts, and many innovative solutions are made. The Baoye Center in Shanghai is a mile-stone like project in our entire history of developments.
The Corner of Hangzhou is another new project that we are currently under construction. The Corner of Hangzhou is more challenging than the Shanghai Baoye Center for its larger scale and mass. We practiced a holistic design approach for all different aspects of this massive high-rising project. Hopefully we will bring a work of a high level of precision and completion in both the smallest scale to the largest scale to the public eventually.
“Let the users experience the Nature in a sincere and innovative manner.”
The process of Baoye Center of Shanghai lasted 5 to 6 years. One interesting aspect of this project is that although it looks like one design project, it has been iterating for at least three times during the process, and has a couple version of it: The first iteration began with developing a purely architectural design to a holistic control and design for both landscape and the exterior curtain wall; after that we apply the holistic design approach of architecture into the interior and the graphic design; right now we are even able to provide some proposal for the operation and management of some spaces. As almost everyone that are in charge of other aspects of this project changed, we are the only team that manage the entire design all the way the end. For instance，the structure of GRC material for the curtain wall of the exterior facades are optimized by digital tools, and are made through many experiments and modules.
Now we are also working on a countryside renovation project in Hangzhou Tonglu. We enlarged the feelings of human experience and behavior as we are designing it. For example, one of the rooms ‘s idea is “Bathing Under the Heaven”. The idea behind that is to let the users experience the Nature in a brand-new and sincere manner. Another room is called “Under the Starry Sky”, within which you are able to have a view on the starry sky lying on bed. Many projects like them intend to create an interactive experience for both human being and the Nature. Another new project is a kindergarten. We intended to re-start our understanding of the typology of kindergarten in this project by truly understanding the children’s need of playing and the human scale of children. And that lead to a new concept that we call it “Tiny House + Big Park”. We transform each classroom into a custom space with adjusted scale, and sparsely place them into the entire site. As the entire site was made into a huge park, children can experience different activities in here.
▼放大行为和体验的设计 – 不舍青龙坞度假酒店，Design that enlarges the human experience and behavior – ‘Qinglongwu in Reminisence’Resort Hotel
“We keep testing the feasibility of the project, negotiating the effect of design.”
V＋lounge is a rather interesting and challenging project. It is interesting that it is one of the few lounges that directly facing to the Westlake in Hangzhou, and the client hope that the design could be as innovation as possible. The challenge part of it is that is a project for entertainment rebuilt from an office building, so it inherits many limitations from the very beginning. In this project we continue a design language calls “morphing curve surface” by using unpredictable double curvature to create the mystery of the space and the experience of “walking through water”. Because the construction of double curvature is rather difficult to execute, during the process of design, we tried 1:10 physical model to testify the feasibility of the project. With the help from artificial lighting, we are able to repetitively study the potential effect of our design.
“The site of the Corner of Hangzhou could be the heart of the city.”
The site of the Corner of Hangzhou is the last one in the downtown of Hangzhou. The site is located on the street corner of the Westlake scenery, and the juxtaposition between the two main roads the city and a viaduct. The project is limited many aspects of the site including the residential neighborhood besides it, and 100 meters height limit of the Westlake Scenery Area, but every building around it excesses this limit. We don’t want to let our project be obliviated among the jungle of high rising towers, so we try a approach that we change the initial two building into one larger one. Eventually the front façade of the building reach a dimension of 100 square meters. After that, in order to substract the volume, we diagonally cut the mass along the south and the south-west side so that not only does circulation of the site was put into the context, but also it ensures the façade above 70 metes face directly to the Xihu Lake. Meanwhile, that also allows the residential neighborhood enjoy a better sun-light and air circulation. The elevation of the Corner of Hangzhou achieves a paper-like effect by its horizontally arrayed sheding panels, which not only responde to the need of the client, but also achieve a partially lifted-up effect, and that corresponds with the interior spaces directing to the pivot of the city.
▼浙江印刷集团总部大楼，地处城市重地，建筑、室内、景观与城市相结合（点击这里看更多）Zhejiang Printing Group Headquarters Building located in the street corner, connecting the architecture, landscape and interior with the city (click HERE to see more)
Overview: One day in LYCS
I live everyday differently, but each day shares a same factor: that is as long as I am not sleeping, I will always ponder something critically. Therefore, to sum up in one sentence, I spend my every moment of each day on contemplating.
Averagely, I spend two hours in a day being with my family, two hours learning, three hours in either learning or working, four hours doing something related to the management of the company, five hours sleeping.
Normally I spend three hours each day on project meeting, two hours doing some interesting designs or thinking, then two hours studying, the rest of a day will be spent on doing thing my hobbies related and relaxing.
I spend 6 to 7 hours each days for designing and management of projects, then two hours for self –improvement and studying, then I spent the rest of the days with my family.
▼团队一起工作，work together with the team
Overview: What is LYCS in your eyes.
The LYCS in my eyes is a youthful and energetic design team that always seeks to discover issues in cities and solve them by our innovations.
Four words I will use for our core value that represent how I view LYCS, which are pleasure, simplicity, lightness, and honesty. Pleasure is for the hope that the designs we do, including our entire team, bring happiness instead of heaviness or depression; simplicity is for the fact that we will eliminate unnecessary ornamentations to get closer to the essence of the design; lightness is not about the weight of a design, but about the point in our design that will generate the largest effect from the smallest effort; and honesty means that regard-less whether when we are doing designs or communicating with other people, we are always sincere and frank.
We have been researching and focusing our attentions on one issue: how to improve young people’s living via design so that they get more comfortable and more quality. Meanwhile, we try to reduce the budgets and prices of our projects to the lowest point so that more youngsters will enjoy better living with the same budgets.
We are a young and passionate team, and that is the reason why many clients are willing to choose us. That’s because we are young and not bounded by existing rules. We are also of creativity. This creativity comes from the working mode of us: we are not a star-architect studio but a bottom up creative system. Within this system, everyone can fully utilize his competence and express his own view. Only in a system like this, can good ideas and good design continuously emerge. Another quality of us is the capability of doing self-renewing: we won’t be contented on the achievement we have already accomplished and stop improving. We always keep our eyes on the drawbacks and issue. Everyone in our team try updating or even overturn his previous perceptions and understanding when encountering issues. Therefore, compared to what we were three years ago, we have challenged a lot.
Overview: How we think about the challenges and opportunity globally.
I believe that the impacts of information technology is much more stronger than the so-called globalization or regionalization, because the connection of information technology it bring overcomes difference between regions. Such connection will fuse and distinct quality of each regions more swiftly. So I think we should exercise our own thoughts on information technology. We also believe that the future of designing is micro innovations, the future of design is the combination of design components and design tools. I believe that the impact of such change is way larger than the influence of regionalization or globalization.
▼以微小的错位对整体造成影响，influence the entity through small changes
▼行为塑造空间 – 向蚁群学习，space shaped by behavior – Learning from Ants
The city environment of China is undergoing drastic changes and evolutions. There are three reasons that cause these changes: the first one is that the updating of our entire city is no longer based on development of projects from scratches, but updates based on existing contexts; the second change is the leaping of technology: the improvement of computer technology and algorithms expand the boundary of our perception and prevent us from doing repetitive labors; the cloud based cooperation makes people from different corner of the world, different background working on a same project as one team possible. VR, AR and artificial intelligence will change the way we perceive design. The third change, which is also the most important one, is the change of the people. Both our clients and users are getting younger and younger, and rejuvenation certainly will bring improvements in three aspects: the first one is the improvement of need: design has to create more value than merely satisfy the requirement of functions; the second improvement is the improvement of aesthetic: in the future, merely copying and pasting certain styles will never be recognized in the market; the third one is the improvement of experience: designing will no longer be just about appearance and function, but also about what kind of experience it brings to the users and what kind of need of the users it fulfills.
Under this change, the trend of future design must be:
The first trend is large platform + small and beautiful firms. China now emerges more and more small design firms. These small firms normally have their unique characters and creativity within a compact scale. In the future, this kind of firms will get more and more popular. The so-called large platform is the large design institutes after collecting enough resources. They can connect both the beginnings and ends in the design industry. The future small and beautiful companies will the role of different kinds of drones in the carriers of large platform. Small companies can organize and co-operate with each other for certain projects and find another platform for the new projects after the current ones are finished. And that emerges the trend of the co-operation between the intricate and large platform.
The second trend is that only designs of creativity will be valuable in the future. The repetitive jobs, even those with certain level of intelligence, will be easily replaced by computer algorithms and artificial intelligence in the future. And the parts that they cannot replace are the creative and value-creating parts of designs.
I think the third new opportunity in the future is the horizontalization of design, which means to link the profession in design industry to knowledge in other domains. In the past we divide different aspects of design into different categories, say, architectural design, interior design, residential architecture, and office building architecture, etc. Boundaries are created vertically within the design industry. The future of design will happen in another level of dimension, and separate horizontally, which is related to the people. For instance, we will ask whether a person in his/her sixty share the same requirement for residential house and office building to a person in his/her twenty. The answer will be that it must be very different. Therefore, the contrasts of needs that are brought from different people maybe larger than the differences between buildings with different programs. Therefore, the boundary of future design will no longer be made vertically but horizontally. The design will be based on different demography and created new experiences, new functions, and new breakthroughs.
▼行为塑造空间 – 向蚁群学习，space shaped by behavior – Learning from Ants
Under the circumstance of globalization, the updating of designs changes drastically. Firms led by younger generations are emerging in a unbelievable speed. Under such background, we are continuously doing self-judgment, self- evolution, self-updating and self- rejection to guide our design.
The core competiveness of us is our creative capacity. Right now, we will rather establish a decent foundation in Hangzhou and the whole China before looking into the world instead of hastily expanding.