Jonas Merian | East-West Fan

Shanghai-based designer Jonas Merian uses his hands to create beautiful and useful objects, focusing on the textures, feel, and colour of materials to give them both character and a sense of history.

As a Westerner living in the East, I decided to build a fan as a symbol of Eastern culture. In order to show off the beautiful Divina fabric, I built a vastly oversized fan,” he says. The fan is made of reclaimed wood from demolished houses in Shanghai’s old town, and its colours are based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, and A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains, painted by Wang Ximeng.

The smooth, felt-like, texture of the Divina fabric is similar to the texture of paper or silk, two materials often used for fans, and the rich selection of different colours available allowed me to match the colours to the two paintings.”

Jonas Merian is a freelance furniture designer and maker from Switzerland, currently based in Shanghai. After working as a prosthetist orthotist for 17 years, he and his partner found an old factory building that they rented and renovated to become their studio and home. They moved into the new studio in June 2010 and Merian started to build his first pieces of furniture. His works are a mixture between design, craft and art, and each piece is a unique creation, made by Merian himself in his studio. The general principle of his work is upcycling, and he reclaims his materials to create products of high quality and high value.