Being a house guest in China

Art direction and creative strategy for SUNHOO

Muk was invited to take part in SUNHOO’s Be Our Guest project, where every year China’s biggest furniture manufacturer SUNHOO invites Western designers to a bootcamp to design and pitch ideas around branding, product design and creative strategy.
First and foremost, it’s always ironic to be seen as a Westerner anyone. Truthfully, Muk’s self-identity varied between being Middle Eastern, Eastern, European, sometimes Eastern European, Balkan, Asian or most accurately Mediterrenean, but never Western. And this irony became the very idea behind Muk’s collection for SUNHOO HouseGuest, the relativity of identity. 

— House guests

Our generous client SUNHOO invited Muk and the rest of the Be Our Guest participants over to China to present our projects to the board of their in-house designers. We were not disappointed by the famous hospitality of the East, which inspired the name of the collection HouseGuest. Muk designed a collection of modern household items that represent the very culture of hospitality, especially through the exchange of food. Oriental inspired modern illustrations, which is a mimic of West’s perception of the East, was applied on the collection. We used tastefully cliche colours of red and blue; red representing the Chinese flag, and blue the European Union’s. We used a mix of very simple and very intricate illustration styles to highlight the so-called contrast. And we presented the collection in a visual identity that mimics a dictionary. A dictionary where nuances and subtle meanings are lost in translation. And a HouseGuest where a respectful visitor is invited to the most intimate territory of a family that is a disruption of their day to day home life.

— Stereotypes

We worked with a dear friend, illustrator Simoneone, who is of Bulgarian background. Our Eastern (in the eyes of the West) backgrounds while being seen as Western by our client gave Muk the idea to play with the stereotypes of the East and the West. We used visual elements that represent the stereotypical duality of both landscapes, such as blue and red. We created a collection of tableware, including ceramics and tea towels and created a series of kitchen products. The collection was inspired by a polite dialogue between the East and the West, and how we as Europeans saw our Chinese audience and vice versa. 
Muk created a strategy for the capsule collection, designed the concept, produced a visual style, identity and promotional materials including a launch plan, while Simona created the artwork for the products.
You can watch the full documentary of Be Our Guest here.

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