Zowoo

What must it have been like to have lived elsewhere in a different time? People from long ago used to build their own houses and make their own furniture. If you didn’t make it yourself, you would find yourself a carpenter. But in today’s world of assembly lines, mass-produced goods, and living in modern cities – especially in a very big and populous Chinese city, it may be difficult to imagine such a thing. And so, many of us nowadays may start to yearn for the past and a more traditional way of life.


生活在别处。过去的人,搭建房子做家具,不自己动手,也会请来木工做。而在生产流水线化的今天,居住于都市,特别是人口众多的中国都市,几乎很难接触到这样的场面了。于是大家开始向往起这些传统的生活方式。

Such was the case with Zhu Li and Chen Lei-Yu, who had been friends since they were kids. When they grew up, one had opened a shop in Hangzhou, while the other one worked a conventional nine to five in Shanghai. One day, Li sent Lei-Yu some woodwork photos, and coincidentally this was something that his friend was also doing. Some time later, they teamed up and opened a carpentry workshop called Zowoo. During their normal hours of operation, Zowoo is Zhu Li and Chen Lei-Yu’s creative workspace; while on the weekends, Zowoo also offers woodwork classes to teach carpentry enthusiasts and hobbyists how to make some small things out of wood.


朱力和陈雷雨这两个发小也不例外。长大后的他们,一个在杭州经营着一家网络商店,一个在上海朝九晚五。有一天朱力给对方发了一张做木工的照片,巧的是对方也在做一样的事。后来他们就一起开设了这间叫做作物的木工坊。工作日时,作物是朱力和陈雷雨的创作空间;周末时,作物开设木工课程,帮助爱好者们学习制作一些小物件。

Zhu Li studied design at first, before opening a small business in Hangzhou that sold original works by young designers, trying to help them find more creative freedom in the commercial marketplace. But perhaps because he is an introvert by nature, Zhu Li soon realized that there was a gap between reality and his idealism for creative freedom. Soon after selling the shop, he went to the countryside to find a house in a village, bought some equipment, and started playing around at home with woodworking, simply because it was something that one person could accomplish, and it felt worthwhile just to be able to work with his own hands.


学过设计的朱力,之前在杭州经营年轻设计师的原创作品,帮助他们在商业化市场中保持一些自由的创作。然而生性内向的他意识到现实和他自由创作的理想状态的差距。于是卖了店,去乡下找了间农民房,置办了点设备,开始玩起木工,只因为这是一种一个人能完成的东西,并且能以实体的方式记录时间。

Chen Lei-Yu, on the other hand, seemed destined for white-collar management work. It was five or six years ago when he just wanted to buy a simple wood coffee table. When he looked online, he started to become interested in woodworking and carpentry, and later continued studying how to make things by hand. Moving away from his management job to become an art director of woodworking at Shanghai Disneyland, he later eventually founded Zowoo with his friend. Lei-Yu believes that compared to the past when one had to spend three to five years to learn the whole craft, modern woodworking is much more simplified because it is already mostly mechanized. Just about anyone and everyone could take part now, even people in big cities.


做管理出身的陈雷雨,则是五六年前因为想购买一个很简单的原木茶几却不得,开始在网络上关注起木工,继而自己动手学习制作,就一直持续下来。从做管理到上海迪士尼乐园的木制品艺术指导,再到和好友创办作物,他认为相比过去要学个三五年才能出师,现代木工已经因为机械化简单很多,人人都可以参与其中,即便在大城市。

Zowoo, for Zhu Li and Chen Lei-Yu, is about having a balance of practical living and pursuing one’s own personal goals. “At the beginning when we started this space, our first hope was that this was a place where everyone was willing to stay for a while. Secondly it needed to be a thing of beauty. We wanted others to see that it wasn’t a rigid or austere way of living – and perhaps it could inspire others, to pursue the kind of lives that they wanted to lead.”


作物对于他们来说,是一种现实生活与个人追求的平衡。“当初做这样一个空间的时候,第一希望这是个大家愿意呆的地方,第二希望他是个美的东西。我们想让别人看到一个不是那么一成不变的社会生活,也许可以激发他们的一些想法,追求他们自己想要的生活。”

Zowoo believe that woodworking and making things by hand can give people a certain kind of pleasure. For them, they do not think of what they do as an act of “creation”, but rather more simply as “playing”. The ideal scenario for them is a group of like-minded people coming together at the workshop, making things, chatting and conversing.  In addition to the sense of accomplishment that one may get from woodworking, it is more important that in that very moment of creating something by hand, one’s heart is set wholly in this act. “The whole process and act (of woodworking) may help you to relax, and it can also allow you to use your imagination, like a child making clay figures all afternoon. It’s that simple.”


作物认为,木作具有一种肢体带来的乐趣。所以他们在做的,“不叫创作,就是玩”。相同爱好的人聚集一起,做一做东西,聊一聊天,这是作物最理想的状态。除了制作出作品带来的成就感,更重要的是,认真动手制作的时候,那一刻心里只有你在做的东西。木作,“通过一个动作让你安下心来,又可以让你发挥想象力,就像小时候捏泥人,一捏就一下午,就这么简单。”

Two good friends, one carpentry workshop. There really is no better kind of life.


两位好朋友,一间木工坊。生活不在别处。

Address:
258 West Songxing Road, Building No. 9, 2nd Floor
1919 Creative Park
Baoshan District, Shanghai
People’s Republic of China

WeChat: Zowoolife
Weibo@作物zowoo

 

Contributor & Photographer: Banny Wang


地址:
中国上海市宝山区
淞兴西路258号
半岛1919创意园区9号楼2楼

微信:Zowoolife
微博@作物zowoo

 

供稿人与摄影师:Banny Wang