M&O 2018 | Cong Ma & Hundredicrafts

Furniture / 16 Jul 2018

Cong MA is the founder of Foryou Art & Design, the founder and Creative Director of Hundredicrafts. He was the first Chinese designer to be invited to a solo exhibition during Milan Design Week at Milan Triennale Design Museum. He has won the Red Dot Award: Best of the Best, A'design Award and the Gold Medal of the "Bai Hua Cup" for Chinese masters of arts and crafts. Ma has nearly 100 international professional awards, and he is also the art design consultant for Hilton, Hyatt, Accor, Carlson and many other international brands in Greater China Area. He is the author of ‘Artwork Design’, ‘Visual Coordination Design’ and other works, owning more than 80 independent intellectual property rights including copyrights and patents.

The followings are the exhibits Cong Ma will bring to our showcase of 'Craft Transcendence: Chinese Contemporary Objects' at Maison & Objet Paris during 7-11 September 2018.

Water Rhyme Series

Materials: Silk Gauze, Burma Padauk, Special Glass

Size: 550x2170x40 (6pieces)

Clouds and Water

Water Rhyme is a series of screens with abstract pattern of double-sided embroidery, a craft of Chinese intangible cultural heritage. The pattern that looks like flowing clouds or water waves has an elegant yet powerful form, which is a perfect expression of the Chinese aesthetics. The tension between ‘empty and full’ and the poetic beauty of ‘Sun and Moon Shining on Gold and Silver" flows in the dazzling embroidery.

This series combines traditional Chinese wood furniture crafts with embroidery techniques, carrying out a fresh and modern interpretation of the oriental aesthetics.

Golden Faith

Ancient Elegance

Material: Leatherwear Embroidery
Size: 2340x1400x40

One side of the screen is inspired by the Chinese flower-and-bird painting ‘Two Swallow in Pear Blossom’, mirroring the understanding of Eastern aesthetics towards nature in a graceful way. The piece again utilises the heritage hand embroidery, and the picture comes alive: one swallow standing silently on the branch and the other flying and playing around. The design object brings creativity and nature to living.

The other side of the screen is in wine red colour, simple and elegant. Through the iconic colour, you can have a glimpse of the connotation of eastern beauty, of the classic stories in ancient times, of the glory of Han and Tang Dynasties, and of the charm of the unique traditional culture.

Flowing and Fleeting

Materials: Silk Gauze, African Blackwood
Size: 730x642

The idea was inspired by the floral wood window used in traditional Chinese gardens. Ma translated them into modern design language by using three plain geometric figures. The artwork is decorated with auspicious flowing water patterns to bring luckiness and success to lives.

By using modern visual expression and abstract pattern, the design represents a romantic and splendid garden landscape of southern China. The shadow on the screen is a virtual expression of the view outside the window. Looking from different angles, the shadow of bamboo and water waves changes constantly, which shows the grace of nature and ethereal tranquillity. It mixes the virtual and the reality, light and shadow. It is a poem and a dream.

Wax and Wane

Materials: Fine Silver, Red Copper

Size: 480x240x88

The work mirrors a philosophy of living based on the inconstant moon. The philosophical thinking and wisdom become vivid under ‘Mokume Gane’, a unique intangible cultural heritage craft dealing with fine silver and red copper with 38 layers. All the quiet grace with images of simplicity brings you a strong sense of belonging in the universe, together with the charms in a Chinese poem: “Men have sorrow and joy; they part or meet again. The moon is bright or dim and it may wax or wane.”

The half-moon-shaped flower holder brings a visual contrast between the smooth shining arc and the dim fragments. The application of silver makes the ‘moon’ brighter with a cold feeling. You can also find a shape of the quarter moon like a solitary inside the half-moon. The reflection on the mirror surface of the base resembles a full moon. The different shapes of the moon we see is a metaphor for our changing and unpredictable life.

The beautiful ripples are shaped by Mokume Gane techniques, just like a bright moon rises above the sea. This work in its simple form is a good combination of the Eastern beauty and philosophy.

Painted Imperial Bell

Material: lacquer
Size: A 350X190, B 300x180, C 120x155

The idea is inspired by imperial bell used in Qing dynasty and it has a fully integrated body with simplicity and elegance. It adopts the contemporary technique of multiple-layer painting with careful polishing so it looks as shiny and smooth as jade. It is decorated with auspicious patterns of dragon and phoenix in an artistic and dramatic form as a homage to the classics while showing personality. Different sizes are available for various space, either used as standalone decoration or in a group.

Three Types of Contented Mind

1: Rising Tide

Materials: Silk Gauze, Refined Chinese Lacquer, African Blackwood
Size: 570x570x60

The design creatively combines two intangible cultural heritages: carved red lacquer and double-sided embroidery. Through montage, the abstract water pattern seems to be separated but actually well-connected. One can easily associate the design with a picture of embracing joy and pleasure in the flourishing life like a rising tide.

2: Abundance

Materials: Silk Gauze, Refined Chinese Lacquer, African Blackwood
Size: 570x570x60

This screen elegantly redefines the traditional ink painting, depicting a life of ease and leisure through double-sided embroidery. The creative use of eggshell as a key medium material for lacquer painting makes the beautiful ice-crack patterns.

3: The Butterfly Dream

Materials: Silk Gauze, Refined Chinese Lacquer, African Blackwood
Size: 570x570x60

Inspired by the Taoism story of Chuang Chou dreaming of a butterfly, it links the ‘pineapple’ lacquer craft to double-sided embroidery to depict the flying track of butterfly in the real and the imagined world. It is a reflection towards the real and fake, carrying the desire for freedom and a wonderful life.


Material: Bone China

Size: Plate:A 355x25 B 220x25 C 220x25 D 220x25 Teapot:160x68 Teacup:65x27 Large coffee cup:100x63 Large saucer:124x14.5 Espresso cup:73x54 Espresso Saucer:115x14.5

The tableware collection takes its inspiration from ZaoJing, the dome of the Chinese traditional architecture appears in some gorgeous royal buildings such as the ones in the Forbidden City. It was believed as the communicating medium between the ancient Emperor and Heaven.

It combines ZaoJing’s colourfulness and geometry with the delicate smoothness of the bone china. Its elegance and exquisiteness make it a great fit for banquets and family dinners. The cup set in this series is highlighted with an aspiring motto in Chinese and English on the edge of each cup, which provides relief and power for the users in everyday life.

Serenity in the Cloud

Material: lacquer

Size: A 142x96x180 B142x142x300 C diameter140x250 D 145x116x200

Inspired by the lattice window in traditional Chinese gardens, the white porcelain vase opens a dialogue between the lattice window and lacquer art with brand-new expressions and aesthetic concepts. One flower is a world. The two-dimensional pattern of lattice window has been transformed into a three-dimensional version to bring the unique visual experience.

The craft of lacquer and ceramics is an art that carries Chinese culture for thousands of years. Different types of flowers can match the lacquer vase and combine into different styles, so the users can easily touch the beauty of living space.

Teaware Collections


Materials: Fine Silver, Red Copper

Inspired by the reflections of life in the desert, the teapot is shaped as a muscular horseshoe with wavelike texture on the surface, symbolising the desert’s desire for flowing water. The handle looks like hook, bow or a crescent moon, connected to the teapot in the shape of the hand guard. ‘Mokume Gane’ is applied to this product: melting down metals including silver and red copper under high temperature and pressure, and then cropping, twisting and forging to make the special texture like wood grain, rippling water, or boundless sand dunes. The pottery cups, easy to handle in a special shape, are weighty with a silver-rimmed bottom.

Moon Dreamer

Material: Gold wood grain technique, silver, copper
Size: 153x140x172.5

The tea set is inspired by the classic Chinese garden with a harmonious combination of elements such as moon gate, Taihu stone, carved windows, ripples on the lake, etc. It brings the classic taste of Chinese gardens and the exquisite craftsmanship into the pot and cups.

The handle was inspired by the image of the moon gate in classic Chinese gardens, in the shape of a bridge to connect with the teapot. The lid of the teapot is topped by a ‘Taihu stone’ as the knob. The interlayer of the silver cup makes it easier to hold when the content is hot; the outer layer hollows all kinds of carved windows.

By using silver and copper to recreate the gold-wood-grain technique originated from the ancient pile paint in Tang Dynasty. It is the process of accumulating 38 layers of silver and copper, forging and pressing into silver plate through high temperature and high pressure, then finishing with thump, forge and engrave.

‘Qing Yi’ Zisha tea set

Materials: Zisha clay
Size: Pot160x110x130, Cup60x60x30

The handle of the Zisha tea set takes traditional Peking opera's action of swinging sleeves as the original shape. The knob is inspired by Peking opera's eye makeup, expressing the tenderness. Take the shape of water drop for the body, looking down, the knob and handle, feels like a beating melody. Tea set has used famous intangible cultural heritage: the Zisha firing technique. The set of a pot with four cups, the shape of cup base is similar to the shape of the carved window in classic Chinese Garden, the side shape follows water waves in order to transmit Peking Opera culture through a simple and modern art design.

Zisha ware, made by special Zisha clay from Yixing, firing at 1200 degrees, has the speciality of heat preservation and antiseptic that keeps tea fresh for few days.


Materials: Fine Bone China, Inkstone
Size: Ink slab 230x230x31, Pot 107x107x150, Cup 50x50x40, Incense plate 20x20x23

The inspiration came from the ‘World Tower’ Dabao-en Temple of Buddhists in Nanjing, Jiangsu, China. This tower has been recognised as one of the seven wonders of the medieval world.

‘Echo’ tea set consists of three pieces that are seamlessly integrated into a balanced and structured order. Pot and cups are within convenient hand reach. The bottom layer is a container plate and from its middle are placed three layers – tray, cover and saucer, with well-constructed slots for a pyramid layout. The octahedral shape of pot lid is derived from the flying eaves of the pagoda, pot body from its architecture and cup from the shape of its wind bell.

Echo is a set of modern teaware that blends with the culture of ancient Chinese architecture. It is a multifunctional product embodying the charm and elegance of traditional art for today’s life.

Image and original text: Hundredicrafts

Cong Ma / Hundredicrafts

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