Design at the intersection of cultures is my diploma work at the Academy of Art and Design in Prague exploring cultural exchange, inspiration and influences between the West and the East. Taking my Czecho-vietnamese double identity as a starting point, I explored design from a multicultural perspective resulting in a written book and a series of conceptual objects.

Photo: Johana Němečková
Shelf: Ondřej Lalák

What is cultural inspiration and cultural exchange? How do we define cultural identity and how does it reflect in modern design practices? In the age of globalization, the search for a unique cultural identity is resonating with many young designers trying to finding their roots in an increasingly unified world. At the same time, travelling and the internet made it possible for almost anyone to take inspiraiton from anything they want.

I set out to examine this topic from a theoretical as well as a practical standpoint. Examining the waves of exoticism and orientalism of the Age of Discovery as well as the modernist obsession with Japanese craft and architecture, I ask the reader, how do we “properly” take inspiration from our own or another culture. Analysis of historical and contemporary examples resulted in a framework categorizing different aspects and levels of cultural inspiration.

So how do we design without being too superficial? Is it necessary or even possible to dig deeper? Should cultural heritage be protected? Or should they be allowed to mix and merge, in order to create the new, the exciting and the innovative.

Contact me for the full text (in Czech).