rendering of playground project

Future100: Meimei Yang Draws on the Visual Arts

This young interior designer imagines bespoke environments steeped in universal narratives.

Ryerson University undergrad Meimei Yang sees interior design as a way of bridging her background in fine arts with her desire to address today’s most pressing issues. She deftly implements drawing, painting, collage-making, and other mixed media in speculative projects that explore personal narrative, heritage preservation, and environmental impact. Whether it be an artist’s studio—a typology near and dear to her heart—or a mixed-use hospitality experience, Yang formulates holistic propositions on the micro-level that ultimately address macro-scale challenges. 

Her isometric and diagrammatic reconstitution of Isamu Noguchi’s storied workspace, for example, highlights its cultural significance by evaluating the sculptor’s creative process through his everyday rituals. Throughout her diverse portfolio, her interdisciplinary understanding of architectural, urban, industrial, lighting, motion, game-design, and advanced technologies also comes into play. “I like to think of interior design as psychology and architecture as sociology,” she explains. “[The former] is far more intimate.”

rendering of interior community space with people.
Yang’s proposal for the Center for Social Innovation’s community space (above) prioritizes equity and accessibility by considering universal design principles— from bathrooms to bike storage to drop-in day care. Play to Power (A Generation) is a playground project (top) that uses recycled materials and sustainable building technologies to engage children with topics such as renewable energy and the climate crisis through play.

Narrative is central to Yang’s Lens of Beauty project, in which she pays homage to the rich yet rapidly disappearing arts community of Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs neighborhood. In response to the loss of creative spaces and cultural history in cities, she has proposed an artist’s residency that establishes a meaningful connection between a house and its natural surroundings. 

The interior designer in training demonstrates her technical and problem-solving prowess in projects like Maison Margiela MM6, a theoretical store cleverly anchored in an unused shopping mall corridor. The modular scheme, composed of curved mirrors and integrated displays, makes better use of the overlooked space and facilitates a more engaging, personalized, and spontaneous shopping experience for unsuspecting passersby. 

drawing of Isamu Noguchi's studio
In a 2021 case study, Yang performed a spatial reconstruction of Isamu Noguchi’s Long Island, New York, studio and home using digital illustration based on archival photography. The project examines the sculptor’s life through a series of six everyday rituals.

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