Through my life experiences, the way my family raised me, and fostered my thoughts, I have developed a strong connection to my native language. Taiwan is a country where the traditional Chinese characters are still widely in use, alongside with Hong Kong, Macao and Singapore. In fact, traditional Chinese characters can carry specific meaning individually, or further create various meanings when used in combination, which is profound and intriguing. Focusing on the form and structure of Chinese characters and their relationship with literal meaning, I wanted to design and create furniture that brings together culture, family, and personal vision.
As an international student living in the United States, the longer I stay, the stronger I feel a paradox between new adventure and homesickness for Taiwan. Until now, it has been two and a half years since I left my country. My desire to reunite with my family in Taiwan has never been stronger. Therefore, I chose the character “回” (return) as inspiration for my first piece as a starting point. Since Asians mostly highlight our family bond and the connection with home, the chosen characters would be strong representative symbols, which can precisely project my mindset. I would like to make a series of furniture that will represent my own interpretation of the meaning from characters.
The composition or image of traditional Chinese characters is the first element utilized to create the basic look of my furniture pieces. The geometric forms and clean lines are the preferable style in my works, to show my interpretation of the characters in a simple way. The second element is its meaning, which is used to decide the function of the furniture. Not only do I focused on the meanings of the characters themselves, but also emphasized their connection. This could create intensive and strong connections among my nostalgic memories of home in order to create the whole picture of my personality. The connection between my own story and memory created a story-telling piece in order to express the characters’ form, the meaning and the culture of traditional Chinese character, and furthermore introduce my distinctive stories with people from other cultures as well.
Furniture Design (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School for American Crafts (CIAS)
Juan Carlos Caballero-Perez
Chen, Yen-Ting, "From Character to Characteristics" (2017). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus