A design dream come true
Carmen Chan, 16, a Grade 12 student at South Island School, fulfilled a dream when a rocking-horse-inspired coffee table she designed debuted recently at a branch of the G.O.D. (Goods of Desire) concept store.
Carmen made the coffee table for her GCSE, and her teacher encouraged her to send her work in to one of her favourite brands, G.O.D. As luck would have it, the unusual table caught the interest of G.O.D.'s founder, Douglas Young.
'We sent an e-mail and Douglas somehow got it and was really interested,' Carmen says, adding that she was just trying her luck.
Carmen worked together with G.O.D. staff to create her table and now it's on sale at the popular concept store's Causeway Bay branch.
For Carmen, it's a thrill to have her first design appear alongside other products from her favourite brand.
'Other students in my class made umbrella stands, tables, shoe racks and wine racks,' she says. 'I've always seen the living room as an important area - it's where the family interacts - and I came up with the idea of a coffee table. A couch would have been a little beyond my abilities.'
Carmen does not describe herself as a horse fancier, saying the inspiration for her table was somewhat random.
She wanted a horse-like design, but with only two legs. Her initial design could not stand up, so it was back to the drawing board.
Then she saw a shoe shiner squatting on the street in Sheung Wan, and the way he was squatting inspired her to come up with an arch leg on each side of the table.
She says the table's curves were mostly inspired by the tension and curve of rocking horses, and her hand-made prototype now has pride of place in the family living room. Her father would have preferred a 'tiger table', she says, adding that she has considered expanding her range of animal-inspired furniture - 'maybe different things like chairs'.
Carmen says she is also interested in trying different materials, such as plastic, in upcoming projects.
'Douglas did challenge me to try different materials and come up with different products, and I really want to try to work with plastic.' She says she likes the 'retro' quality of plastic and the many colours it comes in.
Despite the success of her design, she's not sure she would want to pursue a career in product or furniture design.
'I think the product design world needs more girl power,' she says. 'But I'm not quite sure right now if it's for me. I want to explore more in terms of art and design ... I want to broaden my horizons.'
Carmen says she will be applying to schools in Britain, such as St Martins or the Royal College of Arts, at the end of the year.