Mingstra und Qingstra/ Mingstra and Qingstra

Xinying Li

Oktober / October - 2020

Universität der Künste Berlin

Master of Arts


The project is an exploration of the eastern and western furniture style. The series consists of Mingsabo, Mingnarö, Mingluna and Qingerling.

What is the Topic?

The project derive from the collision of east and west furniture style, which is inevitable in the intercultural background. In China, IKEA, mostly loved by the young people, is known as a representation of modernism. As a Chinese designer I come to Europe, I found out that Europeans' impression of Chinese furniture stayed back in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. During the time western furniture design continues to develop, that Chinese like today, Chinese furniture design stopped 100 years ago. So I chose to combine the furniture style from IKEA and in Ming and Qing dynasties, in order to find new Chinese furniture styles and bring new elements to IKEA.

Why does it look like this?

The appearance of the series is inspired by the chairs from Ming and Qing dynasties, which are the most famous classic Chinese furnitures, and also account for a great proportion of classic-Chinese-furniture collections in Europe Museum. I took the elements and the formal language of the chairs from classic Chinese furniture. From the perspective of product semantics, this design language can let people awake the reminiscence of traditional Chinese chairs. And all the materials of Mingstra and Qingstra are from IKEA.

What is special?

Ikea-Hackers influences me most, they re-design and re-shape their IKEA furnitures according to their own needs. And the appearance of IKEA or to say the modernism has been widely discussed in China. Inspired by the re-design of Ikea-Hackers, I can achieve my ideas in this way. In some respects, the project has a different level from Ikea-Hackers, not only by combining expensive and cheap, new and classic, but also eastern and western furniture.

What is new?

The combination of two furniture styles is more like postmodernity. In postmodern architecture, some designers pay more attention on the application of the classic element. One branch of postmodernity is "Latent Classicism", a style between modern and traditional, they use traditional elements or design language. Their respectful attitude towards classicism and traditional history distinguishes them from mocking classicism. Clearly, Mingstra and Qingstra are among them. For me, the project is not just a chair series, but also a work of art expressing a wish to find a new Chinese furniture style.