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Back to All January 22, 2024 Profile
People: We chat to Aden Wang about his dreamy home, his interior style, and his pooch, Muffin

Based in San Francisco, Aden & Vivid have a home of dreams—bright, colorful and design-inspired. We ask Aden about his interior design style, the furniture of his dreams, and of course, we get all the details on his gorgeous pooch, Muffin.

You have a pretty amazing job as a Product Designer at Meta, and an even more interesting past in the military. Can you fill us in on your journey so far and your transition into the world of UX/UI and design?

I have quite a diverse background. After obtaining my business degree in Singapore, I felt a bit uncertain about my future. Returning to the USA, I took on various jobs such as driving for rideshare services and working as a gate agent for Frontier Airlines and Philippine Airlines at the San Francisco International Airport. It wasn't until I realized that I needed a way to fuel my passion for design. Joining the Army became a shortcut to support my career growth due to the incredible benefits it offered. I taught myself front-end development and gradually transitioned into UX/UI design, laying the foundation for my role as a Product Designer at Meta. 

What does a typical day in the life of Aden look like?

Similar to a typical 9-to-5 routine, I sometimes wake up a bit earlier depending on whether I need to return to the office that day. It takes approximately an hour to drive from my home to the office. My daily schedule involves numerous meetings with cross-functional partners within the team to identify problems, explore new opportunities, and align on product strategies. I'd estimate my time breakdown as 50% strategy, 30% alignment, and 20% design.

Aside from my full-time work, I also create content at home whenever I find the time. I'm quite efficient in content creation, able to produce something from ideation to execution in as little as 20 minutes. We tend to have dinner early, so I start cooking around 5 pm. My favorite part of the day is settling down in the living room with my wife, Vivid, and our pet Muffin, to watch a TV show after dinner.

I've mentioned to everyone that, as a content creator, there's never really a break because I'm constantly brainstorming new content ideas and figuring out how to bring them to life.

We first met you in San Francisco in 2022 at the New Zealand Design Pavilion, where you met one of our CEO's, Kent Parker and were introduced to our Noho Move Chair. What do you remember about the experience? What did it teach you about New Zealand design?

As soon as I stepped into the New Zealand Design Pavilion venue, the emphasis on sustainability was evident in its decor. Among the exhibits, Noho particularly captured my attention due to their commitment to sustainability in crafting their chairs. I vividly recall the [Noho] Move chair, constructed from discarded materials like fishing nets and old carpets, which truly amazed me. What stuck with me the most was Kent's infectious passion for design. Kent, a genuine craftsman, enthusiastically explained the intricate development process of the [Noho] Move chair, highlighting the clever mechanisms embedded within it.

You were introduced to our new Lightly Chair earlier this year and partnered with us on some great content. We really admired the creative you did for us. What drew you to our brand and the Lightly Chair?

My connection with Noho is personal. Meeting the CEO and learning the brand's story turned me into a fan. I introduced the Noho Move chair to many colleagues, and some even bought it and adore it. However, the Move chair wasn't something I'd pair with my dining table or for guests; [for me] it's more of a task chair. I believe the introduction of the Lightly chair fills that gap perfectly. I adore its lightweight yet durable build, its subtle yet colorful design that complements any aesthetic. It's a highly functional chair that's also incredibly space-saving due to its stacking capability. Lightly evokes thoughts of bamboo for me; they're simple yet remarkably versatile. 

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We fell in love with your interior design aesthetic as soon as we landed on your Instagram page. Can you tell us about your style and how you and your wife, Vivid, have collaborated?

At first, Vivid and I had contrasting interior design preferences. She favored the post-modern and mid-century aesthetic, while I was inclined towards minimalist, space-age contemporary styles. Finding common ground was challenging, resulting in a unique blend that makes it hard to pinpoint our home's style. It represents a perfect balance between our individual tastes, requiring empathy, collaboration, partnership, compromises, and acceptance to achieve a harmonious marriage of designs.

Where do you draw your interior inspiration from?

My wife and I find inspiration in various sources such as magazines, interior design accounts on social media platforms like Instagram, and visits to furniture shops. Additionally, we draw from the urban atmosphere to define the color scheme within our home.

Do you have any favorite furniture pieces? Can you tell us about those?

I always tell people that my favorite piece of furniture is the Rotganzen spring stool. It sparks childhood playground memories and brings me joy every time I see it. My second favorite is the Vitsoe 606 wall shelf system. I love its minimal yet functional appearance, adding character to the vast white wall in my loft.

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What draws you to a piece of furniture? Are there any interesting stories behind your pieces?

Aesthetic and functionality are our top priorities. We began furnishing our home with the Ligne Roset Togo sofa. Ordering it at the start of the pandemic, when factories and shops were closing, meant it took about 6 months to arrive. However, this process led us to forge a friendship with the owner of the Ligne Roset San Francisco shop. It was also our first lesson in home furnishing: patience is key, good things take time.

What piece of furniture is next on your shopping list? Do you have a dream piece you’d love to own one day?

As my home reaches its capacity and we're running out of space for larger furniture pieces, we've become very selective about our next acquisitions. Perhaps there's space for a few more lamps, such as the Lampadaire Modulation by Axel Chay or the Luminator floor lamp by Flos. However, I'm particularly eager to acquire the Straw from Rotganzen to complement my 14-foot wall.

We’re also huge fans of Muffin, your gorgeous Shiba Inu, who features a lot in your content. She looks like such a character—does she have a favorite hang-out spot in your home?

Everyone adores Muffin! She's undoubtedly the star of our home. With a skylight in our living room, sunlight streams through, creating perfect spots for Muffin to nap. She enjoys basking in the sun's rays wherever they land. Additionally, she's fond of sitting under our dining table, nestled next to our legs while we work.

You live in San Francisco—What do the real locals do in the city? Food, entertainment, shopping hot spots?

I'm not much of a shopper, so I might not have the best shopping advice. However, there are a few areas in San Francisco where locals like to spend time. The Mission district, known for its Hispanic community, offers fantastic Mexican cuisine. My favorite burrito joint happens to be there. Another great spot is the Marina, offering stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, along with plenty of charming shops on Chestnut Street. It has a different vibe compared to the Mission. Surprisingly, my new personal favorite spot is Chinatown. Despite living in San Francisco for over 5 years, I only started exploring it more when my in-laws visited. San Francisco's Chinatown feels like a bubble untouched by time. The district has retained its charm for decades, and the locals are incredibly kind and down-to-earth. I enjoy visiting for street photography, and thanks to my in-laws, I've discovered some excellent Chinese restaurants that have become new favorites of mine.

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And a few quick-fire questions to finish.

Describe your style in three words. Functional, Playful, Eclectic.

What is your favorite book (and favorite chair to read it in)? My favorite book is Jean Jullien and my favorite chair to read it is in the Herman Miller Chiclet Sofa.

Who’s your favorite artist? There are numerous incredible artists out there, but being Chinese, I have a special fondness for the works of contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. His artistry captivates me, particularly his knack for crafting patterns through meticulous stacking and the powerful messages he conveys through his art, channelling his emotions and thoughts.

If you could have dinner with two famous people, dead or alive, who would they be? This is a challenging question since it's something I've never been asked before. As someone who appreciates mid-century design, I would cherish the opportunity to have dinner with the late George Nelson. He remains one of my favorite industrial designers, having created numerous timeless pieces. I personally own some of his creations, such as the Thin Edge bed and the Swag leg armchair. Meeting him would be an incredible chance to learn from his expertise in furniture design and gain insights into how he conceived the enduring ideas that continue to captivate us today.

Follow Aden on Insta @adenwang