Design TED Conferences

Designing a cloud: Yu “Jordy” Fu at TED2013

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May
Photo: James Duncan Davidson

Photo: James Duncan Davidson

An overhead sculpture of cut paper that looks like an intricately woven cloud. An undulating shopping mall designed like a wave. An apartment complex that emulates the beauty of the local peach blossom trees. These are the kind of things that architect, interior designer and artist Yu “Jordy” Fu creates.

Fu, now of the firm Marques and Jordy, begins her talk at TED2013 by showing an extraordinarily well-drawn pagoda that she drew when she was just 5 years old. After all, Fu had her first exhibit in Beijing at age 6.

“I love to capture this world through colors, light, movement. I capture this would through my eyes and through my heart,” says Fu. “Art is something that lights up our world.”

Fu-cloudFu has taken the traditional Chinese art of paper cutting and used it to create 3D, cloud-like sculptures and lamps, like the one above, that have been installed all over the world. Much of her work, in fact, comes in the form of objects.

“Art is not always sitting in galleries. It could be a martini glass or a bed, a wardrobe, or a mirror that’s graceful and sexy,” says Fu. “A chair doesn’t have to be boring.”

As an interior designer, Fu has worked for clients as varied as Bloomberg London — for whom she remixed her cloud sculpture, creating it out of discarded computer wires — and a 2-year-old, whose bedroom she made magical.

“When we presented her home, she smiled,” recalls Fu. “That is all that matters to me as a designer.”

Fu looks to emotions and nature — even fashion — for her work. She created a diamond cafe called the Love F Cafe in Abu Dhabi, where even the displays are shaped like diamonds. It’s a motif she picked up in these prefab resort units for FashionTV that can be moved to remote locations — in a field or floating in the sea.

Fu-resotShe’s even emulated this diamond motif in an apartment building.

“We spend a lot of time at our home; I think our home should also be art,” said Fu. “How many people in this world actually love their house? Why can’t a house be romantic and beautiful? Why can’t a house be very sensual … A home can be so extraordinary, like diamonds in the sky.”

Fu-diamond Waves, water, flowers, Chinese tea — these have all informed designs of Fu’s. She sums up her talk saying, “I think there are no boundaries between art, design,and architecture. Nothing is impossible with love.”