Designer Portraits | Dou, Ye Cin

Find an ideally balance between imagination and reason

Designer Dou, Ye Cin

Dou is both a designer and illustrator. Her works speak of her innate innocence, and they take you to another universe free from the weight of gravity. The dynamic contours make your inner aspirations tremble, unexpectedly igniting amazing sparks in your mind! Through perceptual experiences, Dou gently leads us to explore the possibilities of life.

What kind of designs would you use “glass” as the material of the lamp?

Glass is a good choice if you want diffused lighting in a space. Its texture, the craftsmanship of blown glass (bubbles of different sizes), and even thickness will affect the lighting, creating different atmospheres. It also gives a mysterious, obscure lighting effect. These are all fascinating mediums.



When designing “FUJI,” how did you decide on opal glass as the medium of the lighting atmosphere?

I chose opal glass because I really like the light that shines through the glass. It gives a dimly lit effect. 

I select the type of glass based on the lighting atmosphere of the design. As I mentioned in the previous question, different crafting techniques will produce different effects. For example, “sandblasting” and “opal” glass are both matte, but the lighting atmosphere they convey is very different.


▲ Photo credit : 開門設計

What do you think are the advantages of glass lamps?

The light of glass lamps is more muted. Compared to other materials, glass has a softer quality. We put a glass diffuser under some metal lamps to enhance the atmosphere and make the lighting softer and more delicate. Visually, glass can also produce a diffused lighting effect.

In addition, although some customers think it is a flaw, I think it is an advantage, and that is the unique characteristic of blown glass. Every blown glass has a different texture and bubbles that are not seen in metalworking. You can have a product that is one of a kind, which is actually kind of like collecting artwork. So, I have always wanted to change people’s minds about consistency. 

What do you pay most attention to when designing lamps?

When designing a lamp, I imagine what I want it to look like and then place it in a room in my mind. I come from an art background, so that may be why I sometimes focus on the scenarios in my mind more than the experience of the user. This puts me in a dilemma between sentimental and rational thinking. Design is not just about art. Most of the time, you need to meet the needs of the user more than creating your ideal design. Therefore, the priorities are still practicality, arrangement, and functionality. When all of these are in place, I will try to lead people into my fantasy and find a balance between imagination and reality. This is not easy, but it is a goal I want to achieve.

▲ DOU’s illustrations are brimming with creativity.

What are the differences between the way people use lamps in Taiwan and other countries?

The way people use lamps and their need for lamps vary in different regions because of the different latitudes and architectural styles. For example, in areas with smaller residences, the lamps must be as small as possible because there is little space for movement. As for old houses in Europe and America, because of the architectural condition, people like to use portable lamps. They use floor lamps to light up the room, and the brightness they need is also different. Lamp usage in middle to high latitude countries is more about localized lighting atmosphere than total illumination of the entire room. But I am happy to say that more and more people in Taiwan are starting to pay attention to the localized lighting atmosphere at home.

As mentioned in the previous question, would this affect your design thinking?

I would say more or less because SEED’s lamps are sold to many countries. The purpose of design is to meet the general demand, so there are more aspects to consider in design and development. If we neglect the demands and usage, it would sometimes lead to a “waste of design.” For example, equipping a lamp that does not need to be very bright with a light source that is too bright requires higher wattage drivers, which will cause more power consumption. 

We have tried to prevent such waste in the past year, constantly finding a way to maintain lamp quality without causing waste. This is a very interesting process, but it has made designing lamps much more challenging because the entire team, not just the designer, must know all of the details back to front.

Besides the product itself, you also participate in package design. What are your thoughts on this?

I think the key to the success of a product is not just the product itself. From receiving the product, the packaging, the manual to the installation, every step should be a great experience. We want people to be happy when they see the product and when they take it home with them. Each step is a surprise, and these surprises will form connections and memories in people’s hearts when they use the product. This is why I like to follow through with the entire process of product design. 

Every unboxing I have done has become a meaningful memory. These little details make me feel that the product is worth the money,  and it leaves a deeper imprint in my mind. You can only unbox something once. Even if you put it back after opening the package, it will not be the way it was before. This is why the first unboxing ritual is particularly important. We have continued to make changes to our packaging, such as adding a parts kit, because we want to increase customer participation.

What is the purpose and necessity of having good lamps at home? 

I think it is important to have good lamps at home because they give a sense of ritual to life.

There are many ways to create a sense of ritual. Lamps are one of them, and they can change the setting and mood very easily. You do not need to spend a lot of time rearranging the items at home. The color temperature and brightness of the light alone can provide different atmospheres. This is just like the different times of day defined by the sun and changes in seasons marked by the solar terms. It is the same with quality lamps because they can create a variety of expressions in a room. I have three lamps at home, and I turn on each one at different times. This helps me differentiate the times of day at home, and it livens things up, especially during the work from home period.

▲ Photo credit : INDOT Interior Design