Ask Shang Xia’s founder, Jiang Qiong Er, about the most precious things her designs offer customers, and she will tell you they are memories and time.
“Think about it, memories and time are the two things in life that cannot be retrieved once they are gone,” she explains in Mandarin. The Shanghai-native began learning calligraphy at the tender age of two, and spent her teenage life pursuing a master’s in design at the National Art Institute in France.
Since then, she has grown to become one of China’s fastest growing designers in the art scene. At her first art exhibition in 2001, Jiang caught the attention of art collectors and brands interested to collaborate with her. One of those brands, the luxury fashion house of Hermes, would go on to become her business partner. Together, they launched Chinese brand Shang Xia (which means “Up Down” in Chinese) in 2008.
Qiong Er was in Singapore to launch a pop-up of the brand, which will be open to the public at Takashimaya, #01-112, till Feb 9. The affable designer opened up about her design philosophy, and hopes of using the brand to promote Chinese culture. Shang Xia uses all forms of Chinese craftsmanship – from intricate bamboo marquetry to wood carving, production of fine bone china and ancient wool weaving techniques from Mongolian tribes – to create all the pieces in her collection.
Visitors are encouraged to spend as much time at the pop-up as they like, in order to learn about the stories behind the items. Prices range from $138 for a box of high-grade tea leaves, to $1,818 for a cherry wood incense holder.
“It takes our artisans a lot of time to perfect their craft, and their stories are told in every stroke they leave on the final product. But coming into contact with the items, you glean a sense of this passage of time, and share in a memory that was created by both the maker of the object, and the viewer,” she enthuses.
This article was originally published in Home & Decor.