Art directors

Loretta Yang Artist and Founder of LIULI

Pioneer of Contemporary Chinese Glass Art

In the 1970s, a heavyweight in Taiwan's film industry, Loretta Yang garnered numerous accolades, including two prestigious Golden Horse Awards and recognition for Best Actress at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival. Building on her ample skills and talent for the performing arts, in 1987, she ventured into the world of contemporary glass art along with Chang Yi, the director of many of her movies. Together, they founded Taiwan's first glass art studio, "LIULI." From exploration and experimentation to accomplishing acclaimed artworks, they broke new ground with the "lost wax casting" technique in glass art. By reviving the method through painstaking trial and error, they incorporated rich humanistic and Chinese philosophical ideals to shine brightly on the global stage of glass art.

Loretta Yang’s works have been collected by 23 internationally renowned museums, including the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in France, the Victoria and Albert Museum in the UK, the Corning Museum of Glass in the US, and the Palace Museum in Beijing. In addition to her personal creations, she is actively involved in teaching and promoting glass art. In 2010, she became the first Chinese artist to lecture at The Corning Museum of Glass’ Studio, an advanced workshop for advanced glass art education.

Through her tenure as the Artistic Director of LIULI, the goal has been to foster a studio environment that nurtures a creative drive that perpetuates and draws inspiration directly from the material itself. Allowing the substance of liuli to actively engage with contemporary life, LIULI offers diverse perspectives that inspire change. A broad range of creations has earned LIULI the prestigious DFAA Asian Design Award (Total Solution), solidifying its position as one of the most influential design brands in Asia. With over 30 galleries worldwide and a glass art museum in Shanghai, it has been at the forefront of advancing the glass art industry in China and Taiwan for the past 37 years.

Steve Chiang

Furniture Designer/Third Generation of Yeong Jin Furniture Factory

Redefining Taiwanese Furniture Design

More than thirty years ago, the wooden sliding doors of Tatung televisions and the wooden outer boxes of Singer sewing machines were found in countless Taiwanese households. Both came from the Yeong Jin Furniture Factory established in the 1940s. Steve Chiang’s grandfather started the business with a dowry, his father pioneered curved wood mass production technology, and now the third generation, Chiang graduated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in refining furniture structures. When the Taiwanese furniture OEM industry was still at its peak, he sensed the imminent relocation of factories to cheaper countries abroad and the upward trajectory of Taiwan’s middle class. With this foresight, he resolutely led the company to abandon global OEM and instead creating the independent brand "STRAUSS."

During a visit to a furniture exhibition in Northern Europe, he was told by the international community that “Taiwan, the pirate kingdom, is not welcome”. This made him realize how urgent it was for Taiwanese people to establish their own enterprises. At that time, Taiwan did not have any furniture design related departments, so like the principal of the Bauhaus school, Steve Chiang selected talented individuals who majored in interior design or industrial design to personally train them. He planned a three-year course, starting with factory internships to familiarize students with production procedures, then to in-store sales to understand customer needs, and finally to the design department to hone their skills in creating furniture.

Steve Chiang was resolute in the belief that Taiwan, with its rich cultural heritage, could express ancient Eastern philosophies using modern Western techniques to create internationally acclaimed works. Armed with the detailed delicacy, sincerity, and warmth of the Taiwanese people, Chiang successfully pioneered the transformation from OEM exports to proprietary brands, which has brought new life to traditional industries.

The Soul of a Table

1.When Liuli Becomes a Table

Our imagination takes us back to basics, drawing inspiration from the materials themselves, blending craftsmanship and art with practicality, in our attempt to create a table that embodies a sense of time and space.

Where should the glass be situated on this table? Is glass even the right material? What spiritual values ​​do we want to advocate? Which materials should glass be paired?

All these questions became persistent inquiries in the early stages of design as the team cyclically debated these issues. They started following the LIULI aesthetic: highly artistic, sculptural, and ornate. Other designs were strongly influenced by post-modern deconstructive styles. In the end, we decided that the table should capitalize on the translucent nature of glass, harnessing a way for light to fully enter the glass. The table should not only be functional, but also enjoyed; users should be able to feel the texture of the liuli, appreciate its light, and admire its rainbow spectrum.

Once everything is determined, structure becomes the most important breakthrough in the design.

The spirit of craftsmanship lies in the details: Invisible rotating buckles

The design team at LIULI imaginatively incorporates the traditional woodworking technique of "mortise and tenon" joints by creating rotating clasps. They calculated the exact shrinkage ratio that occurs during firing and worked closely with designer Steve Chiang, a wooden furniture expert. Discussing, creating and fine-tuning custom-made tools, they were finally able to achieve this unique clasp structure. In this structure, wood serves as the mortise (the concave slot), while glass acts as the tenon (the convex latch), utilizing a rotating locking mechanism for assembly.

Liuli is suspended above the wooden table legs in an elegant manner, and tenons hide within the sculpture. The entire design accurately controls the dimensions of the wooden slots and the glass buckles, and calculates the different shrinkage and expansion coefficients of the two materials when they are made. Let the two materials match perfectly.

In order to understand the dimensions of the glass tenons and their ability to withstand the weight of the wooden table legs during transportation, the design teams on both the liuli and wood sides ceaselessly conducted practical tests on the glass tenons' durability through experimentation with suspension, transportation, impact, and single-legged load bearing.

2. Limited Space, Infinite Possibilities: A Casting Exploration

When we decided to return to the basics and contemplate the material itself in our design process, the integration of colors within the liuli became a challenge for both craftsmen and designers:

  1. ) Liuli request a certain breadth of internal space to express itself. For the Arch, Cycle, and Harmony tables, we tried to maintain the liuli’s pigment and spatial awareness while also attaining fluidity. Achieving the desired pattern posed a significant challenge since we aimed to create tabletops with thicknesses of only 3-5cm.
  2. ) To adhere to green production, the design team reduced the number of steps. Additionally, each liuli tabletop was meticulously planned to minimize producing any waste. Instead, we placed liuli residues from previous works into plaster mold. This method involved exacting calculations because this environmentally friendly method requires higher pressures. Otherwise, the liuli has less plasticity during the firing process. Therefore, careful assessments of color placement and temperature were necessary to ensure maximum movement for the pigments.
  3. ) The liuli residues come from over a thousand different styles of artworks produced by LIULI each year. They encompass multiple distinctive hues and internal color flow arrangements. Predicting the result of blending these upcycled liuli deposits requires experienced craftsmen who are able to make spontaneous adjustments on the fly.

Seeking similarity in differences: iridescent design and material planning

Based on individual characteristics of the residues from different artworks, practical tests were conducted to accumulate and integrate empirical data. Each step of this method demands a conscientious attitude and attention to detail.

The craftsmen and designers worked together to thoroughly select suitable liuli residue from thousands of pieces. They had to record the dimensions, form, angles of placement, weight, and color proportions of each piece, including verifying the flow patterns. Over a period of more than 180 days, pigment experiments were conducted endlessly with non-stop 14-day firing cycles.


In seeking unity within diversity, the pursuit of creative freedom lies in finding harmony amongst the dissonance. This is especially true for LIULI, which produces different styles of artworks every season. However, when one utilizes residues with very divergent tints, it holds the possibility of creating of new variations.


3. A Liuli Table Created for Everyday

Connoisseurs of liuli Bubbles, they are liuli’s Lifeline

The liuli table not only concerns itself with aesthetics, but also the tactile experience when felt firsthand.

One of the distinctive features of lost-wax casting, in contrast to machine-produced glassware, lies in the existence of bubbles, imbuing the artwork with a sense of vitality akin to breathing. These dynamic bubbles encased in glass, originate from the use of different-sized granules and liuli blocks, which create voids when melted at high temperatures. Through precise temperature control, LIULI has managed to control the distribution and size of these air pockets to a certain extent. Sometimes, the bubbles are purposefully retained within the artwork as they enhance the inner space of the piece. Due to the transparency of liuli, one can observe these internal breaths alongside the liuli color arrangement, adding to the complexity when admiring lost-wax cast artworks.

Control the distribution of bubbles

Typically, our traditional 12-step process to create liuli artworks results in a large concentration of bubbles in the gating residue, unless we had deliberately regulated the air bubbles within the finished artwork. If an artwork is crafted using finer granules or liuli ground into powder, the liuli residue will contain an even greater amount of smaller but denser bubbles. Therefore, casting with this residue presents a substantial challenge compared to using fresh single shade liuli materials. Our task has been to investigate incessantly through trial and error: gradually adjusting to find an appropriate temperature sequence that allows the air bubbles to drift freely within the tabletop while reducing surface protrusion. This aims to maximize the smoothness of the liuli surface, thereby minimizing subsequent polishing practices, another sustainable practice.

*Eco design principles: Eliminate subsequent cutting processes (whereby we fine-carve the cast liuli) to avoid generating new residues. The team utilizes 3D models to accurately calculate the required weight of liuli for firing. They thoroughly evaluate the actual mold before entering it into the kiln to ensure that the cooled liuli after firing, would resemble the final product without needing too many cold work procedures.

*Earth is definitely a masterpiece that challenges casting skills. It's made from casting material weighing up to 76 kilograms, utilizing dozens, if not hundreds, of casting materials. This represents the need for nearly a hundred pieces of liuli work to produce a single Earth table. The more crystal glass tilings used, the more variables there are in the casting process. Throughout the process, it's crucial to monitor the firing conditions, accurately control the furnace temperature and time, to ensure even and harmonious color distribution, creating a visual texture that is both light and substantial.

*The shape of this aptly named work, originates from a liuli robot fully made from cut, ground, and finally glued together liuli residues. The artist directly crafted the model from already discarded liuli chunks before encasing it in a gypsum mold. After ten days of furnace firing, the robot is formed as one continuous piece of liuli, preserving the playful flavour of children’s building blocks while ensuring its structural integrity.

*We attempted to use liuli as table legs, not only just as the tabletop. How can we connect liuli table legs to a wooden tabletop? Are there any other reinforcement options?

Firstly, to support the weight of the glass table legs, we interlock them with wooden table legs, allowing the wooden legs to bear the weight of the liuli legs.

Secondly, after interlocking, we secure the wooden legs with the upper wooden tabletop.

Thirdly, to conceal the screw heads used for attaching the wooden legs to the tabletop, we design a layer of wooden cover. It closes with a rotating clasp, providing a sturdy structure while maintaining a sleek design.