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Q: With the tremendous success of VEP design, what triggered you to develop the
Banmoo brand?
A: Simply put, my intention was to develop a brand that accommodates the contemporary
Chinese lifestyle. I went to Europe and saw many design stores and brands; the Western
ones and those from Asia that combine the traditional and modern. However, exported
Chinese furniture was limited in style to either Ming or Qing Dynasties; they were imitations
of the traditional styles and were sometimes poorly done. I connected with skilled Chinese
manufacturers and craftspeople and worked with them to design and develop furniture and
home accessories. When I felt I was ready, I opened the Banmoo store.
Q: How did you come up with the name Banmoo? What’s the story behind it?
A: The word Banmoo literally means “half wood. Wood has played a key role in the lives of
the Chinese for more than 2,000 years. We live in it, eat with it, sit on it, and sleep in it. But I
wanted to explore the Chinese philosophy of pursuing “half, instead of full or packed—the
goal is to imply, to hint, to provide room for imagination. The word “Banmoo” sounds as if
it comes from traditional Chinese literature, yet it is the language of modern China. People
can associate it with many different things.
Banmoo is a Chinese brand that inherits the essence of Chinese tradition and culture and
adapts it to a contemporary urban life style. I want to reveal the nature of the materials,
with restrained and minimal design, to evoke imagination and enjoyment. Many people in
the Orient have a tradition of pursuing simplicity and humility. It is time for us to ponder,
to reflect, and to revalue some of things that we have lost in the nationwide pursuit of
economic growth, something that is higher than materialism.
LU Yo n GzHonG, Chairman of VEP Design Associates and Founder/
Chief Designer of Banmoo, Shanghai
Lu Yongzhong is a lecturer of art and design in the College of Architecture and
Urban Planning at the Tongji University in Shanghai, China; chairman of VEP design;
and founder and chief designer of Banmoo furniture and accessories. With a
multidisciplinary education background, Yongzhong has been active in the fields of
architecture, interior design, product design, visual communication, and brand-
ing. Established in 1997, VEP design has grown into the most influential design
firm in Shanghai, with more than fifty employers working in three departments:
space, brand, and exhibition. Its clients include Motorola, L’Oréal, Kodak, Hotel
Hyatt Regency, Louvre Museum, Pompidou Center in Shanghai, Cheng Congzhou
Museum, Shanghai Art Museum, China Telecom, Dragon TV, and the Jinmao Group.
With the passion and ambition to bring traditional Chinese culture to life,
Yongzhong founded BANMOO furniture and accessories in 2006. It is his inten-
tion to establish a brand that strives for harmony between Chinese tradition and
modern design, and the integration of handcraft and new technology.
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