From easel-shaped phone stands to button coasters that are as cute as, well, a button, Mills KT Chen of Unic Design Inc. creates wooden products that will give your home a cosy and rustic vibe. BuyMeDesign interviewed the Taiwanese designer about his love for natural materials, inspiration and aspirations.
Could you tell us a bit about your background?
My family has been in the manufacturing industry for over twenty years. We served as the primary manufacturing partners for many high-end brands based in both the United States and Europe. With many years of manufacturing experience, product know-how and the ability to transform our resources, I decided to start Unic Design Inc.
The products you design are mainly made out of wood. Why did you decide to work with this material?
I’ve always love natural materials such as metals, wood, canvas and leather. Out of all of these materials, I like wood the most, as it brings a natural presence and warmth to one’s home. With my designs, I try to bring people who are typically used to owning things made of man-made materials such as plastic closer to nature.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I spend a lot of time observing works that are very different from the products I design. I find a lot of my inspiration by studying photography, architecture, automobiles, product design and even paintings. I also read a lot of design publications, both books and blogs. From this wide range of disciplines, I try to integrate elements that intrigue me into my own designs.
Which design are you most proud of so far?
I must say that is a very tough question. It’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child. All of my designs have a special place in my heart. Each design has a unique feature that makes it special to me and differentiates that specific piece from my other designs. But despite the fact that each product is different, they all carry the same DNA. I am proud of every single product. Before I put my design into production and release the final product into the market, I work on it until I am one hundred percent satisfied. I am a perfectionist.
What’s next for you and what do you hope your designs can ultimately achieve?
I hope to develop many more products in the future, primarily using wood. I am not restricting myself to working with one material, though. I would like to incorporate other natural materials, for instance metals, into my designs as well. My ultimate goals are building a strong brand presence, connecting people who truly value design, and influencing a culture in which design enhances our daily lives.