Interview with Rossana Hu

Rossana Hu is a Shanghai-based architect who has received many recognitions for her work and expertise, including the Wallpaper* Designer of the Year 2014 Award. Read on to learn more about Rossana’s upcoming projects and thoughts on re-branding and reusing spaces.

Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Rossana Hu and I am an architect by training and I now work as an architect and a designer in Shanghai.

You have a recent project where you re-branded an old police office. What were the biggest difficulties in the project?

Number one was to convince the client, who actually hired us to do a new building. They wanted to demolish the old building but we saw value in preserving parts of it. So that was the biggest challenge as he is putting in all the money and was expecting a brand new building.

What kinds of spaces inspire you the most?

Generally speaking? It’s hard to pin point exactly but I would say that places that bring out memories inspire me. It’s about the mood and experience or a memory of an experience. I think spaces are not neutral, they always include feelings. The feelings are deep, whether they are good or bad, happy or sad. If they are deep, I like it.

[quote text=”Designers are a lot like performers; judged by the latest piece.”]

Recently you won the Wallpaper* Designer of the Year 2014 Award. What are your next goals or projects you are working on?

We have a lot of projects that we work on and never see awards as goals. Those things just kind of come. Designers are a lot like performers. They say that a musician is as good as their last performance. If you are a pianist and you fail at a concert, no one will ever want to see you again. I think that’s same with us designers. If you do one bad project, people will forget about all the previous good projects and only remember the very last one. So what I think we try to do is that the next project has to always be better than the previous one.  So always thinking of fresh ideas, always challenging yourself, never taking convictions or traditions as the only way, finding new possibilities and doing things differently.

Here in EARS you talked a lot about re-branding and reusing spaces. What is the value of reusing old buildings?

I think people talk a lot about sustainability. Often that kind of talk has to do with technology, finding new technology, new materials in order to recycle and reuse. But I think one of the easiest ways to sustainability are; number one, make thinks that last. If for example a building is built to be long lasting, you don’t need to rebuild. The second thing is to reuse. It’s very sensible and common sense way of making your environment sustainable. For example if a shopping center ceases to exist as a viable commercial center, then you can see a theater taking over or a church or a school as the building is already there and the structures are already there.  I see that reusing something is a good example of sustainability.