One question the founder of 12h often asked is, “what does 12h stand for?”. The brand name is very meaningful in China. Known as Shiershiman, it pays homage to the ancient concept of a ‘12-hour day’; to live each day to the fullest and to embrace creativity. These traditional values influence everything the company does in the design studio.

The aim of the brand is to produce contemporary furniture with a recognisable Asian influence, however the pieces also reflect the rich history of the East’s artisanal techniques – a perfect marriage of the present and past.

Zeng Qiang thinks that it’s essential for designers to understand their home culture. They have done extensive research on traditional Chinese furniture, architecture, calligraphy and painting, just to better understand their own heritage.

They are even greatly inspired by some of the engineering techniques of the past, such as the old eaves, beams and brackets, and have adapted and redeveloped these elements in their work.

Early on in their research, they discovered something fundamental. That minimalism and modern design concepts have actually always existed in the East. Objects, art and relics, even those pre-dating the Ming dynasty, convey a deep sense of simplicity. However, many thousands of years on, and we now have incredible technologies at our fingertips, enabling us to better explore 3D structures and produce sculptural products.

Zeng Qiang hopes that his work is a good example of the relationship between the traditional and the modern. The Ying and Yang. And a harmonious coexistence of strength and elegance.