Dwell 24: Mario Tsai Studio



Mario Tsai founded his research-oriented studio to explore new materials and production methods‚ all through the lens of sustainability.

The new Mazha Light System by Mario Tsai Studio.

For Tsai‚ 30‚ restraint is at the essence of the design process—though not without a sense of humor. (Images of his true-to-its-name Pig Table went viral in the design world last year.) 

The Pig Table by Mario Tsai Studio.

The Pig Table by Mario Tsai Studio.

Photo courtesy of Mario Tsai Studio

In designing the delicate Mazha lighting system‚ Tsai sought to reduce both costs and the amount of material used in production‚ packaging‚ and transport. In addition‚ the modular nature of the fixtures allows for lower maintenance costs. He has since turned his sights on reducing waste from design exhibitions. 

The new Mazha Light System by Mario Tsai Studio.

The new Mazha Light System by Mario Tsai Studio.

Photo courtesy of Mario Tsai Studio

“So much material gets thrown away after an event ends‚ particularly in China‚” he says. “I am developing a reusable‚ easy-to-dismantle system that can become a sustainable solution for exhibitions and temporary buildings.”

Learn why Tsai would like to redesign the backpack, and read more of his responses to our Q&A, below. 

Home: Hubei Province, China

Current Location: Hangzhou, China

Describe what you make in 140 characters. We create everything in a soft  methods while adhering to sustainable design principles.

What’s the last thing you designed? A modular lighting system

Do you have a daily creative ritual? No. For me, there are many beautiful things and ideas to be found in a surprising moment, and I really like the meeting of chance.

How do you procrastinate? I don’t like to procrastinate; I like to keep my worksheet very precise, but sometimes a delay in the work will make me very inspired.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? The backpack. I have purchased several backpacks from different brands. However, the functional partition is never detailed enough, and some backpacks become deformed after using them for a period of time. I think I need to design a backpack, because I may never find the right one otherwise.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, or in both)? In life, my father. In design, I try to think of myself as my own hero because of how I have pushed myself to succeed. I decided I would become a “good” designer after graduation, even though I was a “poor” student at university.

What skill would you most like to learn? Teleportation, a kind of Marvel-like super strength. I really hate wasting so much time on the road.

What is your most treasured possession? Memories of my family

What’s your earliest memory of an encounter with design? I designed and built a table soccer set when I was 14 years old.

The Ink Series by Mario Tsai Studio.

The Ink Series by Mario Tsai Studio.

Photo courtesy of Mario Tsai Studio

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