The Design Questionnaire With Catherine Yu of Champarte Design

The latest edition of Love Happens’ Design Questionnaire gives an exclusive look at Catherine Yu, founder of the China-based Champarte Design. Catherine Yu founded her contemporary design firm in 2011 and has been building up her company for the past decade. Champarte Design excels at incorporating cultural elements into artistic designs and emphasizing the architecture of their spaces. Catherine focuses on exploring the meaning of beauty in contemporary spaces as well as the poetic elegance in interior design. A truly beautiful appeal!

Meet Catherine Yu of Champarte Design in the Lh Design Questionnaire

catherine yu founder of champarte design shanghai china

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Everyone’s definition of happiness is different. I think happiness is to set a reasonable lifetime goal and give it your best effort. In the process of achieving the goal, remember to enjoy the scenery along the way, perceive the happiness that life gives us, and feel the fragrance along the way. Happiness doesn’t need to be a grand thing, which is more about discovering the small blessings of daily life. Understanding happiness itself is the beginning of inner maturity.

There is no standard of happiness, do not go with trends you dislike, do not blindly compare with others. Instead, focus on the present, be grateful, love yourself, love the people around. That’s it!

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Nowadays, Chinese design power is gradually emerging. Chinese design works have gained great attention from global design platforms and media.

As the founder of a design company, I hope that Champarte Design can become the promoter and leader in the industry, and we can continue to create more space works full of artistic and traditional culture. It is the greatest achievement in my perspective. So we are working hard towards this goal.

What profession does your alter ego have?

I believe everyone carries an innate talent to fulfill the mission delivered by nature, especially an entrepreneur. When a person uses his/her natural creation and strength to provide opportunities and help others, they will get rewards in another way. Once we understand the great potential hidden in ourselves and use it to serve others, the rewards that life gives us will be unbounded. The entrepreneurial attitude should be more of a “what can I do for you” attitude than a “what can you give me” attitude. If you want to get something out of life, you need to create something for the world first. At the same time, “altruism” is a creative process that releases energy, brings pleasure, and achieves self-realization. A meaningful life should be a life of self-realization through “altruism.”

The world gives you the talent and the opportunity to be “the one.”

The project you will never forget.

I was most impressed by the IFC Center project, in which we combined the cultural heritage of the city and took nature as the origin to realize contemporary aesthetics of Chinese tradition through the combination of technique and emotion. The natural silhouette, the traditional craftsmanship of aesthetic furnishings, and the beauty of modern design overlapped, integrated, and sublimated in this large, flowing space, which is orderly and with the beauty of humanism and nature.

I believe that no matter how a space is designed, only with the power of culture and the lifestyle reflecting beauty can it truly touch the heart of people and show classic taste, no matter these are taken from nature or culture. The beauty of culture has the power to move your heart at the first sight. I will be more humble and more persistent when designing with outstanding cultures.

Greenland Shandong International Finance Center champarte design catherine yu
Greenland Shandong International Finance Center

Your favorite business tool or resource.

I usually like to browse some design websites and online platforms like Pinterest. Also, I follow design and lifestyle-related magazines, including Frame, Domus, Detail, Wallpaper, etc.

The most timeless design.

I think the most classic work in my previous design work is the UrCove by Hyatt, a joint venture between the world-renowned Hyatt Hotels and China’s leading BTG Homeinns Hotels. We also designed the Weifang UrCove by Hyatt in Shandong province. This was the first time for the brand to enter the northern China region. Known as the “hometown of Confucius and Mencius,” the land of Shandong has a long history of Confucian culture. We integrate the concept of Confucianism culture into the space design. This is done by picking up the beauty of nature with traditional craftsmanship and combining it with functional direction to sort out the Confucian connotation of modern hotel space.

Weifang UrCove by Hyatt in Shandong province by catherine yu champarte design c & g group china
Stunning art installation and lobby design at the Weifang UrCove by Hyatt in Shandong province by Champarte Design

A special highlight is the white transparent installation hanging in the center of the lobby. It forms the appearance of a classical garden building in a decomposed state. The slender and delicate acrylic material appears as if it were an ancient pavilion coming through time and space, where ancient mysterious visions and futuristic technological images overlap. The installation is inspired by the Shihu Garden in Weifang City. Although the garden is small, it is a collection of the essence of private gardens from the Ming and Qing dynasties in China, with the characteristics of both northern and southern gardens.

The project is a modern, leisurely living space infused with the beauty of Chinese traditional ritual and music. It’s created with simple modern design and profound humanistic care to create a warm home for the travelers.

Weifang UrCove by Hyatt in Shandong province
Art installation and interior detial at Weifang UrCove by Hyatt in Shandong province by Champarte Design

The biggest design faux pas.

I think there is no step that can be defined as faux pas at the moment. Each step is comparing with the previous one and try to be better. At the beginning of the design process, I used symmetrical elements to reflect the sense of order in the space. I also used too much color, which, of course, made the work look relatively conservative and lacked creativity.

In my subsequent work, I gradually found a way to solve the problem by weakening the conservatism brought by symmetry. Trying to break the boundaries of design and finding that asymmetrical design will bring more creative ideas.

Your design motto.

The design studio has character, and all the efforts will surely be verified in the details worked in ten years and big project known by one day.

Our publisher KOKET makes statement décor; if you were to design a room around one KOKET piece, which would it be, and why?

As a designer, I am no stranger to KOKET, a furniture brand from Portugal. Each piece of furniture is like a piece of art, unique in character and contains a luxurious texture. If you let me choose one of the pieces of KOKET, I will select a sofa, such as the Kelly.

I believe that the living room is the center of the home and the space where family members gather most often. The design and comfort of the sofa determine the main tone of the space and experience it brings to people. Kelly sofa uses aesthetic curves and soft fabrics. It’s full of glowing pleats with silk-like suede texture that can create a high-end, elegant fashion atmosphere. If I were to design a room, I would try to use various styles of materials to express it. This would give it a different feeling, such as leather, or plush velvet, adding metal elements in the details to maintain an elegant texture.

kelly sofa koket luxury upholstery design

Love happens when…

Love happens when eyes blink … It is flowing language when the heart is filled with romance; no matter the time, love is still in the heart.

Explore more by Catherine Yu, Champarte Design & The C & A Group at

All Photos Courtesy of Champarte Design

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