building the future with architect CHUNG QING LI

Managing Director of KREOD Architecture, Chung Qing Li

As the Managing Director of KREOD Architecture, an award-winning architectural design company, Chung Qing Li has been actively promoting architectural dialogues between China and the West through collaboration.

The running motto of KREOD emphasises on close partnership with international teams to cultivate new talent, develop innovative ideas and create new opportunities.

Li is an early riser, he says he gets most of his inspiration before 9am and would happily sit with a cup of coffee and a notepad for a few hours in the morning.

The afternoons are usually spent having back to back meetings, the evenings I often have to meet clients, and that’s why I love the precious time at dawn

He feels that one has to be principled especially in the design field, as there has to be a balance between the ‘art’ and time constraints. “I can sometimes lose myself in projects, completely forgetting that a deadline is around the corner.” Li said laughingly.

Following the huge success of the London Olympic Pavilion 2012 – renowned three giant pods of interlocking wooden hexagons on the outer shell – Chung Qing now leads a team to design and finance the China International Trade Pavilion for the Rio Olympic Games 2016 in partnership with Blackbridge Cross Borders, a UK organisation led by Alexander Jarvis. This international collaboration is what Chung Qing calls ‘the golden triangle’. The pavilion acts as a mediator for Chinese businesses to showcase their products and services available to Brazil, who is currently one of China’s biggest trading partners. Facilitating stronger international, commercial and cultural relations between these three countries have become the project’s ethos.

As a Chinese entrepreneur based in London, Chung Qing recognises China’s need to develop creative and innovative solutions to progress in a dynamically changing world. Chung Qing aims to bring world-class design from China and overturn the negative connotations of ‘Made in China’. Also the founder and Managing Director of China Design Week 2015 (CDW) – an event which saw the participation of Farrells, Benoy, Zaha Hadid Architects and more – Chung Qing, continues to encourage and celebrate the importance of design and the relationship between China and the UK. The exhibition and conference held during CDW had discussed China’s position in the twenty-first century, their economical achievements and their creative input in emerging markets.

CDW’s aim to develop a ‘cultural exchange’ between China and the UK can be seen as a lifelong goal for Chung Qing’s architectural practice and manifesto. His determination and can-do attitude towards architectural design carry onto his personal life and hobbies.

Chung Qing is not only a forward-thinking entrepreneur but he is also a talented swimmer who won silver and gold medals in provincial swimming competitions back in China. Despite his busy schedule, he still swims for recreation. In the HNA documentary (2014) that highlighted his life in KREOD and in London, he made a comparison between architectural design and swimming. Two seemingly different activities were described as similar. He made an analogy to swimming where physical strength was required to fight against the flow of water but he also addressed the mental strength needed to move forward against all odds. Chung Qing believes this is comparable to his feelings toward design but these challenges would only motivate and propel him to move forward.

It has been a very busy few weeks in the lead up to Chinese Design Week. I learnt so much from it, and met so many designers from Britain and China. Now that the event has come to a close, I can continue with my fitness programme which I had to stop for a while, but there are still a lot of follow up meetings.

As Chung Qing continues to push his brainchild project, KREOD, to new heights, his work at CDW 2015 is only a stepping-stone of a bigger project. His work to promote Chinese talents and creativity to the UK continues to inspire and challenge the perception of the design industry in China.