PEOPLEText: Justin Tsui


For the material, you create your pieces with Longan tree and Lychee tree, could you tell us why you chose these specific kinds of tree? And how do you find those trees?

Longan idea started from the village I used to live in. There are plentiful of Longan trees growing in that village. Harvesting and pruning is necessary every July and August. Sometime I saw fallen trees after typhoon. So I started to collect them.

Lychee is after I met another woodworker in ZhongShan, China. Mr. Lam is a traditional boat builder in GuangDong area. His livelihood is in jeopardy as his trade is being obsoleted. We met and talked and found that traditional fishing boats use a lots of recycle materials in their production process. Wild grown Lychee is one of the trees that land owners would uproot when they decide to develop the land. Due to the irregular shape of the species, the wood is hardly used for furniture making. However, the curved shape fits perfectly to be used as the bottom of a fishing boat. In fact the curvy grain figure of the wood really appeals to me. As you can see in pictures of my works, some of these Lychee trees appear to be as figurative in the grain as some exotic hardwood except that Lychee is much more available and fast growing.


From wood to the finishing pieces of your hand-made furniture, how did you produce the pieces? Could you share your creative process with us?

This furniture is not produced in mass by heavy-duty machines. Starting from the seasoning of the wood, I leave most of the jobs to the power of nature.
They’re secured with simple joinery. Nails and screws are hardly employed. I also try to maintain the natural color and surface of the wood itself. The finish coating I put on the wood is primary natural Tung oil plus a couple layer of PU or Bee Wax depends on project.

Do you plan to try creating the furniture with other sustainable materials in the future?

I always try to explore other possible materials, but wood seems to be more accessible to me at the moment.

Could you share your thoughts on today’s environment?

People are too much addicted to the idea of “getting convenient”. It is to a level I think we’re abusing it. Single serving objects are designed because consumers think they are more convenient. Getting rid of your old furniture or appliances rather than getting somebody to fixing it is more convenient. Living in a campy apartment in an over populated city because we can get around more conveniently. But what we are doing is depletion of natural resources. What we sacrifice is the diminishing of natural beauty that supposed to be free to everyone.

Text: Justin Tsui

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.
Stefan Marx