Designer Freeman Lau Siu-hong sits on some of his best ideas - chairs. But they're not your everyday kind of chairs. His designs are intended to prompt thought rather than be used simply as a place to rest. One of his more unusual pieces - a monster, 6-metre long, 2.5-metre high and 1.6-metre wide outdoor wooden rocking chair - was the only exhibit in the recent Times Square 'Chair Play' exhibition. 'The chair is big, because I want to create an impact. It is an outdoor chair and I hope people also can see it from a distance,' says Mr Lau. The chair, which a furniture manufacturer took a month to make, has two facing seats and looks like a children's seesaw. The size of the chair means you are forced to think about it rather than just sit or play on it. 'Chairs are common in our lives. Chairs reflect people's status, power, tastes and dreams, so they are symbolic,' explains the 46-year-old, rocking back and forward on one of his smaller works. Expanding on the reasoning for the creation of the big chair, he says his aim was to represent the relationship between positive and negative, right and wrong and so on - especially between the sexes. Mr Lau believes the subtle changes in the movement of the chair symbolise the changes in the daily lives of men and women. 'It's related to a deep Chinese philosophical concept - balance. I hope people give more thought to the chairs, not just for rest.' The big chair will also be exhibited in Taiwan, Tokyo and Beijing before being collected by Shantou University. Mr Lau is far from being your usual arty type. 'Art is simple,' he says, smiling while continuing to rock backwards and forwards. 'If you don't enjoy it, don't worry. It is just because you haven't found your art yet.' He concedes some genres of art may be difficult for beginners. 'But I think everyone can find his or her own favourite type and get interested. Then they can go further by reading the theory and history,' says Mr Lau, a partner in Kan and Lau Design Consultants, one of Hong Kong's top graphic communication design consultancies. Another partner and founder of the firm is Kan Tai-keung, a well-known artist and designer. As a secondary school student Mr Lau saw a great many stamps and posters with Chinese characteristics that were designed by Mr Kan. 'Once I went to an exhibition alone, and I found myself standing beside someone who had the same bag as I did. It was Mr Kan. The exact same bag ... imagine that. At that time I thought, 'Yeah, we have something in common. It's good!',' laughs Mr Lau. At one stage, graphic arts nearly missed out for Mr Lau because photography was his first love. As a student, he spent all his free time wandering around taking photos. 'Some of my friends thought I would be a photographer, not an art designer.' But in the end his enthusiasm for design won out. Having just returned from a furniture show in Milan, Mr Lau says he was impressed by the designs being produced by European companies. 'What's happening in that part of the world should also be happening in Hong Kong. Our Chinese culture ought to be developed. We should work harder.'