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Student Showcase Archive

Chao Chen

MA work

MA work

  • Water-reacting architectural skin

    Water-reacting architectural skin, Chao Chen 2015
    Lime veneer, nylon and plastic
    Photographer: Chao Chen

  • Artificial pine cone

    Artificial pine cone, Chao Chen 2015
    Lime Veneer, nylon and styrene

  • Play

Water Reaction

Water is an essential element for living beings. They have evolved with water and have developed vital reactions to water for survival. In order to release and protect its seeds, a pine cone can amazingly open and close, reacting to water.

Imitating this natural phenomenon has resulted in a laminate water-reacting material. Utilising its own property, this bio-mimicry material detects water and changes shape automatically without mechanical structures or electrical elements. According to different scenarios, the material has been applied to objects related with water, illustrating a purity of functionalism and aesthetics.



  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Design Products, 2015



  • While at the RCA, Chao has been concentrating on design research. He is interested in the production process, materials and technologies. His role lies as an inter-mediator to discover the essence of industry; translate it into the form that consumers can see, feel and value; and close the distance between industries and consumers. 

    Before moving in London, Chao studied Industrial Design at Jiangnan University, China. During design practices, he was involved in various commission and concept designs, training himself as a T-shape designer with a curiosity for various disciplines. 

    Among different products, Chao is particularly engaged in furniture and housewares, which are closely related to people's daily life. With rational thinking based on design research, clear goals aimed at problem solving, and elegant design language for visual expression, Chao is carrying on his design journey in the UK.
  • Degrees

  • BA Industrial Design, Jiangnan University, 2012
  • Experience

  • Guest lecturer, Royal College of Art, London, 2014 ; Design internship, Poetic Lab, London, 2014
  • Exhibitions

  • Solex, National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, 2014; Work-In-Progress Show, Royal College of Art, London, 2014–15
  • Awards

  • Best Disruptive Innovation Prize, Ford African Mobility Award, 2014