Hong Kong-born designers Sonia Chan and Grace Yue are the creative minds behind Duo Dots Design. Both Chan and Yue lived in Toronto, Canada for some time, but eventually returned to their roots in order to pursue what they love doing: making one-of-a-kind lamps. BuyMeDesign interviewed the pair about their designs, the challenges they face and their sources of inspiration.

How and when was Duo Dots Design established?
Yue: We established Duo Dots in the summer of 2013. We were very lucky that the government granted us subsidised studio space for our start-up in November that year.

What makes your lamp designs different and unique?
Chan: We focus our lamp designs using tactile materials, infused with vibrant colours and patterns. We also like to use both our own and traditional origami techniques.

How do you go from an idea to a realisation?
Yue: I like the versatility of origami technique, and am therefore always on the lookout for materials I can use with that technique. Usually, people use a sheet of paper when folding an origami creation, but we like to experiment with different materials and possibilities.

Chan: My ideas always come from communicating with the materials. When handling different substances, I’ll spend time understanding their nature and characteristics. Then I try to come up with new designs and [ideas on] presenting the material in a new way.

Who or what inspires and influences you at the moment?
Yue: I like Elisa Strozyk. She designed a “wooden textile” series: her wooden rugs and furniture are my favourite designs. The challenges of conveying an unexpected experience with wood and textile inspire me.

Chan: [German Industrial Designer] Ingo Maurer and [Japanese fashion designer] Issey Miyake are my all-time idols. Although they are the masters in different fields, the energy they use in pushing their creativity to a magical level and their use of materials always amazes me.

What is the most challenging part of designing?
Yue: Picking materials is the most challenging part for me when we’re designing our products or installations. We have to find a good balance between quality, texture and colour, and also take the material’s eco-friendliness into consideration.

Chan: Designing itself is not a difficult task, but putting your idea into practise and fine-tuning it into a perfect product is a very long process.

Which achievement are you most proud of so far?
Yue: The People’s Choice Award [at In bed With Designers Singapore] gave us recognition of our effort and ability. I’m happy to know viewers like the way we interpret lamp designs.

Date: 2015-07-14