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Repair Part 1

1) Reflect on our trip to Tea Drunk.

– What was the most inspiring part of the visit?

The very inspiring things to know was the tea making process and the food/drink industry situation beyond it. I never expect that tea making has to undergo so many different process, and so meticulous handcrafting steps. It is so related to the nature, different location, different soil, various climate. These natural conditions rather than machine will make most impact not the produce’s flavor and quality. You see? It is something that made possible by nature not machine, and people enjoyed it. The tea house owner also mentioned the tea tree pretty sustains its growth by itself. In this way I suppose it doesn’t to use and it is not suitable for consuming artificial fertilizer. I feel like this is something that people or say designer should learn from. There are things in the nature that produce good things without human intervention. And that is something would inspire people to create long life design.


– Despite being a new business, which of the Long Life Design criteria do you think Shunan might be able to fulfill over the next 50 years, and why?

Functions Standard? I remember Shunan at the end she talked about how the tea industry should look up to the wine industry because nowadays people who drink wine really stick to the natural wine. And in her opinion, tea drink should also stick to its original way of production and consuming, which means make or drink the tea without additional artificial materials I guess. 

Also, “users standard” could be something possibly to achieve for her. She is really passionate to tell others about tea culture, what good tea is and how to appreciate tea. And I think in future yeas as she keeps doing this business, her educations on tea to customers will make the customers knowledgable about teas and cares about the sustainable systems behind the tea production process.

– Name several of the specific systems involved in Shunan’s work at Tea Drunk? (think about what kind of geography, tea, history, people in China and New York are essential to her work etc.).

Transportation including air and road, the water and electricity consumed to make the tea in store, the packaging for the tea, the water and soil in nature that supports the growth of the tea tree, the fertilizer for the plantation of cheap tea, the 10-day labor for picking up the tea, the two month labor for handcrafting the high quality tea, the coal burned for baking the tea, the electricity consumed by machine to produce cheap tea.


– Do you think of Shunan as an artist or a business person?

She is business person who knows how to make design-driven strategy, at the same time she is also artistic. Obviously, Shunan appreciates tea, she has passion for it. She values it as one of the thing she loves most. In this perspective she is artistic. She was enthusiastic to talk about her deep knowledge about tea making and tea production, the desire to express and how she expresses her feelings are made me feel she is artistic during the visit. And she also made an artistic name for her shop.

She is also an intelligent businesswoman, who is visionary about the industry she works in. To her, tea industry should learn from the current wine industry to skip the potential mistake will be made because of people’s single-minded pecuniary persuasion..


– Do you feel her work is aesthetic?  

Yes. I’ve been to many traditional tea house back in China and my hometown. But in my opinion Shunan’s shop won most of the shops back in China because of it’s unique style and aesthetic. The whole tea house was decorated in light color, in various shades of wooden color and white colors. And it’s also quite minimalistic comparing with tea shops back in China. The table is made of wood and at the same time it leaks water, which is a genius and beautiful design.


– Do you feel her work is “sustainable”? Does it also address environmental issues in other ways, perhaps in ways that ancient farming cultures did naturally? What do you think of this?

Yes, I do believe her work is sustainable. The tea supply she chose from China is not from tea plantation. The tea trees  were all sustained by themselves, which means there is no artificial fertilizer added in the soil there, and what people should is just patiently wait as the time passes by. It’s more closed to the ancient farming in my imagination, letting the plants growing naturally. I think this is good, though we need to balance this with feeding more people on this planet.


2) Find an object, device or material that needs to be repaired in some way. Follow the Repair project brief



Ask A Question 1. What object will you repair and why? Do you consider repair to be an important design skill?

I wanna repair the microwave I have at my apartment. The button for opening the door does not work properly. As a designer dealing with software and hardware, I do think repairing is an important design skill. One of the homework I did before was to deconstruct a electronic toy and then repair it to the original condition. And it’s similar to repair things in life. You have to know about the inside structure before you repair the object. So the deconstruction and construction process will let me as a designer know fully about an object, and in this way I can find design opportunity.


  1. What are 2-3 possible ways this object could be repaired? What do you need in order to do the repair?   Do you have the materials and skills?  

Get a new part from online, fix the part itself, or 3d print it!

So I really need to figure out which part is not working, and I may need to find out it by observation, checking information online. I had some repair experience before, and some 3d printing experience. But never use 3d printing to do repair work before.


  1. What will your process of repair be? How long do you expect the repair take? How long do you want your repair to last?

First, take the button down. And figure out the mechanism how does the button failed to open the door. And because of the heat, I supposed it might be certain part melted or distorted so it cannot trigger the function to work properly. So at the end I’ll try to fix the part or remake a new one.

I had some experience with dealing mechanics and electronics before. But still, I really have no idea how I can achieve it. It might take 5 hours to repair it I guess? And I think it should at least last more than 3 years.


3)  Next week we will have kintsugi (gold joinery) artist Gen Saratani as a guest. In preparation, please learn more about his work here and watch the following video on kintsugi. What questions do you have about kintsugi? Lacquer, the base of kintsugi repair, has been used in repair for nearly 1000 years in Japan. Are there similar practices of repair in your home country?  What kinds of systems and human actions do you think enables a process of repair such as kintsugi to be practiced and refined over hundreds of years?

Question: Are kintsugi popular in current Japan society? Do young people know about it? What What are other repairing method similar like kintsugi in Japan?

There is similar  repair technique in China, but it was long time ago. I only knew it through a movie about 50 or 60 years ago. I never see a repaired bowl  in my life before.

The repair involves transportation system where people have go somewhere to find the guy who do the repairing job, also it involves the production of the lacquer, then it involves the natural systems because of the tree produces the material needed for making lacquer.


4) Read the following four articles on repair and answer the following questions.

   – At Repair Cafes, ‘Beloved but Broken’ Possessions Find New Life. Would you like to visit a repair cafe? Why do you think so many people are interested in repair?

Personally, if I have free time i’ll go to a place like a repair cafe, because I like to see things be revived again and getting back to work. No waste is going to be created. I think to others who might visit a repair cafe because they need their things get fixed,the reason they  visiting there could be  they would get their things fixed. And for people who know how to fix things, they can be repair coach and be ready to get surprised about what people will bring, and they can also challenge them.


  – Waste not want not: Sweden to give tax breaks for repairs. Would you like to see this kind of tax be possible in your home country? Do you think it is possible there or the United States? Why or why not?

Yes, this kind of tax break is great. It seems help people to prefer fix a thing rather than abandon things and get a new one. However, it seems harder to carry this out in China. For United States, I think it might be possible to start within New York, since we really appreciate different cultures and a lot of people here avoke for environmental protection. And this is a small place(island) where a lot of things gather here, so there is a need of having this kind of tax break so people might get fewer new things to replace broken one.


–  Spend the Money for the Good Boots and Wear the Forever. Were you surprised by this article? Do you agree with the author? Do you think an object has to be expensive to be well made? What might make people want to take care of objects, even if they aren’t expensive?

I agree, ahah. And I’m not really surprised by the article. Reasonably expensive things to me, their price indicates its quality. As a designer I know how a product is made of different things and the materials and the craftsmanship in the whole production process really matter a lot! But thinking reversly, a well-made thing does not have to be expensive. There are things well made without expensive materials.

Besides the money spent on getting the product, I think the reason people wanna keep and take good care of the object, will be the personal meaning attached to it, and the cherishing attitude of the owner.


– Origami-inspired clothing line that grows with kids wins Dyson award What do you think of this design? What is most innovative about it? Do you think it’s possible for adults to enjoy long life design clothing or objects that transform/change in other ways (than getting bigger)? What kind of designs might be possible?

Personally I like the design. In my opinion, this garment design really achieved to have a good balance of the form and functionality. I think the most innovative things is the structure and material itself made it possible to adapt to the body growth of the wearer.

I do believe there could be similar adaptive design garment for adult. I would use the one particular men’s pants I’ve seen before. The lower leg part of the pants were connected with the upper part with a zipper, so the lower part of the pants are detachable. So you can wear it with the lower part when it’s cold, and detach the lower part when it’s warm.


As world becoming "digitalized", I am exploring the complex correlation between the digital and the physical, the virtual and the real. Through research and project, I'm answering how virtual and digital experience is perceived, and how it can be better applied, along with things like physical computing, to people's life for better working and living experience. I’ve done various forms of project: wearable technology, digital interactive graphics, data visualization, short films and UX design for company collaboration system. I have never limit the possibility of learning and taking use of new forms or new materials. Like a vintage typewriter that uses intelligent coding to type out a poem to wake you up, a short research documentary to observe how people perceive the fake but virtual information embedded in a daily life environment, a raincoat that seal itself using magnets. Actually, most of my works challenged the application of new materials and new forms, while deliver interaction with human experience in a respectful and playful way.

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