Interview with Perched designers Jeff Liu and Andrew Siu

Interview with Perched designers Jeff Liu and Andrew Siu

Oct 01, 2012

On view at Maai Living from September 22nd to October 21st, 2012, Perched is a group exhibition featuring unique birdhouses created by thirteen of the city’s brightest design minds. Each birdhouse project re- flects the individual designer’s research, aesthetics, and imagination, and furthers human interactions with wildlife in an ever-changing urban environment.

Perched is organized by Vancouver Design Bureau, a collective that brings local designers together through pop-up exhibitions. We sat down with Jeff Liu and Andrew Siu to talk about their design.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

Andrew: I graduated from Emily Carr University in 2011 from the industrial design program and previously hold a finance degree from the University of Lethbridge. I'm currently working as a freelance designer and recently joined the board of the grunt gallery.

Jeff: I received my Bachelor of Industrial Design last year from Emily Carr and I also spent a year in Sweden studying my Masters Lund University, School of Industrial Design. Currently I’m working on a few branding and product designs. You can look at my past projects online at

Your Favela design is a very unique approach to what people think of a traditional birdhouse. Can you tell us a bit more about the concept and how it was developed?

Andrew: Jeff and I are interested with how wildlife adapts into urban spaces especially in a place like Vancouver where it can be common to see raccoons and skunks in Yaletown. Initially, we conceptualized houses that would match the variety of aesthetics of the differing neighbourhoods; we wanted to showcase the idea of "urbanized wildlife". However, by camouflaging our birdhouse into its environments, we felt the message became lost. We took the project in a 180 turn and made it more vibrant to create a louder statement. That's when we came across art projects concerning the favelas of Brazil, and took the same approach of using graffiti to empower the residents.

Jeff: We wanted to create a non-traditional way of securing the birdhouses since the project is intended to attach onto industrialized surfaces. Therefore, we researched glass, concrete, tile and metal surfaces, and experimented with many fasteners such as suction cups, belt clips, and Velcro. We ended up using earth magnets due to its strength and its ability to be placed in multiple configurations. Also since many urban places have metallic surfaces, the user can decide where and how to place them.

Desk - messy or neat?
Andrew: messy – mostly from takeout
Jeff: I prefer neat, but it always ends up messy

Favorite tool?
Andrew: Bandsaw
Jeff: Double-sided tape!

Helvetica or Arial?
Andrew: Helvetica – I guess I’ve been indoctrinated by the documentary
Jeff: Helvetica

Thanks Andrew and Jeff, I have to admit the idea is so good I'm jealous I didn't think of it first!

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