JWDA x Zaozuo
Zaozuo in Chinese means “produce” and “create”, something we learnt when first approached by the new Chinese furniture brand in October 2014. The company is founded by a young Chinese female entrepreneur who has hand-picked a group of engineers, marketing and supply chain managers mainly educated in the United States to compose the founding team of Zaozuo.
The domestic market in China is worth 300 billion dollars, but differs greatly from the Western world. People’s living conditions are different, the size and disposition of homes space is generally smaller. Therefore, there is a greater need for compact living and multi-functional furniture. Furthermore, consumer behaviour and brand loyalty is diverse as design awareness is less widespread and the market is young and impatient. All these are factors that had to be taken into consideration in our research and initial design work.
JWDA was one of three Stockholm-based design studios to be invited to design the first collection of products and furniture – in company with Form Us With Love and Studio Nichetto.
Jonas Wagell’s first product brief from Zaozuo was to design a sofa range for young, modern Chinese homes with consideration to space and comfort, but also quality and cost, as well as shipping and handling. The Smallville Sofa Range was developed and released in 2015 followed by no less than four other product lines that same year.
During the past 15 years, Shu Wei has lived many professional lives. Starting her own agency as a graphic designer aged 19, she took a break to obtain an MBA from Stanford School of Business, then worked for the Chinese social media platform Renren as director of corporate development. Later, she became CEO of mobile app company Jingwei, then founded social network Civo, which she ran for three years. Her most recent endeavour is offering a revolutionary view of design and manufacturing to her generation in China, with a new brand that is challenging the idea of Chinese-made products as cheap copies.
Text: Rosa Bertoli, Wallpaper* January 2015
Photography: Tony Law
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