Student Look - Tristan Xu

Student Look - Tristan Xu

Tristan Xu talks the development of his design mentality, his favourite previous design project & how his graduation proposal will push the boundaries of what is expected within interior environments. 

1. Describe your proposal in 3 key words: 
Transformative, experiential and collaborative. 

2. How has your design mentality evolved over the 4 years in the BIA?
Over the four years of study, I can look back to my design mentality in first year, where I was too timid to take risks and designed in a very rigid and mundane manner, and compare it to my next three years, where I have tried to take more risks in what I place into my interior spaces. I feel that I have taken the research phases a lot more seriously and I have developed a keen interest in this part of design. Also, I have learned to embrace objective criticism from my tutors and peers as they are only there to help you grow and develop your design mentality, which has been extremely valuable to me. 
I have also learned to appreciate that design is something that will not come easily and it is important to take the necessary breaks to really let your ideas sink in. Stepping back from your design for a few hours and doing something else, such as exercising or relaxing and then coming back to it will really help you solidify your ideas and allow you to gain a much wider perspective on your design. 

3. Excluding grad, what has been your favourite design project so far, why?
Excluding this year’s graduation project, my favourite project has been the One Night Restaurant which was based in Venice, at the Scuola San di Rocco. I particularly enjoyed this project as the pace of the work was very similar to how fast it would be in the real world and I was pushed in a way that forced me to design and develop a solution for the restaurant in two weeks. During the first week of the project, my partner and I started off slow but due to the nature of the project, we were forced to finalise our design in a day, which was well received on presentation day. 
I felt that by quickly drawing sketches and bouncing ideas off my partner, we were able to come up with a successful design that we both liked and that the tutors were happy with. I felt that the quick turnaround time allowed us to come up with a base design for the one night restaurant, which allowed for further development for the final presentation and it allowed for me to really focus on the detail design, which is something I enjoy. It also allowed me to feel how a design firm works, with quick turnaround times and a design concept normally decided upon within a week. 

4. In what way will your proposal push the boundaries of what is expected within interior environments?
I feel that my Creative Arts Precinct that I have proposed for the White Bay Power Station will push the boundaries of interior environments as I have chosen to retain most of the interior and structural elements of the White Bay Power Station and really made minor changes to the building and opting to insert my own design within the site. I feel that is the way how the industry is skewing, with architects being asked to redevelop and redesign existing sites, giving the spaces new life and adding to the history of the site rather than demolishing the site. 
I also have a keen interest in experiential architecture and how spaces can really affect how your senses, emotions and memory can be affected, which is something I hope to achieve with my proposal. As my proposal is an Arts Precinct, I feel that the arts is something that really pushes ones emotions and senses.

If you would like to read more about Tristan's work please head to: