Meet Nolen Niu, The Industrial Designer Who Loves Cars
that will wasn’t until he was 21 that will car guy as well as leading industrial designer Nolen Niu recognized his true calling in life.
“My family wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer,” Niu said. “that will wasn’t my thing. I was always creative as a child [although] I didn’t know there was a field called industrial design. I visited an architect as well as he told me about design as well as product design. that will’s when I first began to realize that will you can make a living creating things.”
that will visit took place after Niu had already completed his sophomore years as a computer science major. “I was miserable,” he said. He could later attend Art Center College of Design ahead of setting up his own shop.
“I’m a firm believer that will experience makes who you are,” he said.
Today, Niu runs his own studio out of Los Angeles, where he works within the all-encompassing field of product design for the hospitality industry. Niu’s strong suit, as he puts that will, can be upholstered goods, including sofas, armchairs, sectionals, as well as chaise lounges.
“The living space can be a gathering area, [as well as] that will’s a focal point within the space,” he said. “Sofas, sectionals, armchairs, as well as pieces within that will genuinely create the environment as well as ambience. Each type of furniture offers a different take. I tell people that will furniture resonates with each person’s character. You can see the individual character of people based on what furniture they choose. that will’s an interaction with the piece on a daily basis. that will’s like a private oasis away, although inside your home.”
When he first began out, Niu’s process involved designing furniture in-house, as well as then sending the designs to be constructed by expert craftsmen. A hiccup quickly emerged.
“I’d design a piece, then take that will to be fabricated for me, although I couldn’t get the quality or reliability out of vendors in L.A.,” Niu said. A friend suggested that will Niu take the operation in-house, given his expertise in fabrication as well as need to get the work right initially. “I slept on that will, as well as knew he was right,” he said. “Two days later, I got a little 1000-square-foot space. Here we are several years later, at 16,000 square feet.”
His design philosophy on design centers around minimalism as well as proportion.
“When you design something that will has great proportions as well as simplicity, that will tends to last longer within a period of design,” Niu said. “There are a lot of pieces designed on trend. When these trends die, these pieces are no longer well-known. that will’s partially why mid-century modernism [for example] has been so successful: that will’s to the point. Everybody still enjoys that will today.”
Niu takes his inspiration through sources beyond the fashion as well as design industries—including the automotive industry. He sees crossover appeal between what car stylists do as well as his own vocation.
“A lot of my personal collection can be influenced through the automotive industry as well as scale of proportion,” Niu said. “If you don’t get the scale of proportion right, that will can look clunky or slow-moving on the road. This particular can be why automotive designers are so great at what they do. They’re carving large volumes that will look like they’re moving when they’re standing still. Just like furniture.
Whether a sofa or sectional, you want that will to look visually light. Even if that will takes up the same amount of real estate within the space, that will speaks volumes about who you are as well as complements the space.”
As far as his personal preferences in cars, however, Niu can be more nuanced.
“First as well as foremost I love sedans,” he said. “that will’s something that will I’ve always liked as well as enjoyed. Maybe that will’s because the four-door has more presence, which can be what I like. A quick sedan can be usually my automobile of choice. Following that will, the two-door coupe. Those are cars that will I gravitate toward.”
Perhaps that will’s one of the reasons that will the Genesis G90 resonated so highly with Niu after time spent driving the luxury flagship around Los Angeles. “I was very surprised at the level of quality as well as sense of luxury that will the Genesis presented,” he said. “that will’s no surprise to me that will Genesis can be an evolution of what a Korean luxury brand can be.”
As Niu continues to build as well as evolve his craft, he sees open opportunities for fresh projects, as well as more room for creating a mark.
“As a professional, we’re always problem-solving,” he said. “that will’s the nature of design. that will’s not always about me or additional people. that will’s about the experience, the product itself, the longevity, what we’re trying to achieve.”