A graduate from the China Central Academy of Fine Arts, Xiao Tianyu is committed to finding better ways to integrate local culture and his own aesthetic. He believes that collaborating with craftspeople is crucial for design because failing to consult craft heritage compromises the quality of the final product and how it is made. Molding his design ethos around "identifying and understanding" user needs, Xiao Tianyu's graduation furniture series, Harmony, demonstrates his signature style - combining local Chinese culture with a more contemporary design aesthetic.
Focusing on design of chairs, he spent hours researching different ways of sitting. Furniture from the Ming Dynasty era, for example, encourages one to sit upright in quite a regal manner, whilst slouching on a sofa is considered a more comfortable way of sitting. His Harmony series is a marriage between the two. In 2013, Harmony was collected by the M+ Museum in Hong Kong.
Xiao Tianyu's furniture series has received several awards and accolades, including the 4th Excellent Design Award for Sitting in 2009, the 2010 CAFA Creative Life Excellent Design Award, and the finalist award in the Creative Design category for the China Pavilion at Expo Milano, Italy in 2015.