Stein Wang and Topher Kong’s studio, Hi Thanks Bye, refers to their no-time-wasted approach to furniture design—prioritizing efficiency without sacrificing quality and a sense of fun.
When Wang‚ 29‚ and Kong‚ 28‚ came up with the name of their studio‚ Hi Thanks Bye‚ they knew it would be a conversation starter. The name is intended to be both playful and earnest, just like their furniture pieces.
In their first commercial project‚ Collection O‚ the pair pay homage to their Chinese-Canadian backgrounds‚ evoking both Chinese gardens and the natural landscapes of Prince Edward and Fogo Islands. The pieces‚ made of cold-rolled steel sheets and handmade textiles‚ combine traditional and modern techniques.
The designers’ knack for storytelling is on full display in their latest collection‚ Be My Guest‚ in which they focus on the art of entertaining at home. Wang and Kong have several projects in development with emerging Chinese furniture companies such as HC28‚ Grado‚ and Kun Design.
Read about Kong’s memory of visiting the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, China, plus Kong’s most treasured possession and more, below.
Hometowns: Shanghai, China (Wang) and Guangzhou, China (Kong)
Current Location: Toronto, Canada
Describe what you make in 140 characters. We design furniture, art, installations, and objects that reflect upon our own physical and emotional states.
What’s the last thing you designed? A dining table —Wang
Do you have a daily creative ritual? I wake up early in the morning and list all the tasks that need to be finished that day. Then, I send the list to Stein in order to wake him up. —Kong
How do you procrastinate? By over thinking. Nothing goes onto paper or into my computer until the idea is fully formed in my head. —Wang
What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? Tableware. I am a foodie, and I think there are million cooler ways to eat. —Kong
Who are your heroes (in design, in life, or in both)? My professors Angelika and Koby, because they truly opened my mind to what design means to me. —Wang
What skill would you most like to learn? How to take time off —Kong
What is your most treasured possession? My teddy bear —Wang
What’s your earliest memory of an encounter with design? It was the day I visited the Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, China. It was drizzling, and the garden was empty. The window framed the view, but while I was moving, the view changed. The pavilion, bridge, and building were decorated with beautiful and meaningful patterns. I fell in love with the decorative rocks. It was inspiring. —Kong
What contemporary design trend do you despise? Minimalism just for aesthetic reasons. —Wang
Are you left-handed or right-handed? Left —Kong
Finish this statement: All design should…be able to withstand scrutiny. —Wang
I sketch with a…pen. —Kong
I work best with…silence. —Wang
I do my best work…first thing in the morning. —Kong
Our studio is…a hive of productive clutter.
Instagram is…a promotional tool. —Wang
Choose one: Bauhaus, Memphis, or Brutalist? Memphis —Kong
Rank the following: (1) Function, (2) Fun, and (3) Form —Wang
Choose one: Less is More, Just Enough is Enough, or More is More? Just Enough is Enough —Kong
Choose one: Past, Present, or Future? Future —Wang
If you had to pick a favorite material, what would it be? Steel —Kong
What’s in your dream house? Someone to come home to a night. —Wang