The Joy of Minimalism and Zen

A fusion of East and West, classic and modern, Joy Chang’s designs are both contrasting and harmonious.

Portrait by Mayowill Photography

Joy Chang’s designs are diverse, but at the core of her work is a singularity — a clarity rooted in the Japanese Zen culture she has embraced. It’s about an emptiness that is pure and simple. Chang considers minimalism to be the ultimate design aesthetic.

She studied interior design in Taiwan and architecture in Japan; she has now worked in design for some 20 years. Vancouver is her home, and she has made the city beautiful with many prominent designs, such as the high tea salon Patisserie Für Elise.

Joy Chang designed a booth for luxury luggage-maker Rimowa at our 2018 Luxury Home & Design Show, using as the central focus a line that twists and turns like a traveller’s journey, filled with the delightfully unexpected. Rimowa booth by Carsten Arnold Photography

Housed in a 19th-century Victorian building downtown, the Patisserie Für Elise’s décor is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Chang captured the essence and feminine magic of the theme with softly elaborate wallpaper, baroque-inspired furniture, and all the details to make it a dreamy adventure through the looking glass.

Chang also made bold strokes on an interior with more masculine colours and contrasts. Her work on the Thumbs Up Hotpot Chinese restaurant in Burnaby features crisp lines and bold patterns in a palette of red, black, and white.

Joy Chang’s favourite things

“I love simple yet funky things,” says Chang. Her furniture favourites reflect this, including a frameless wall clock and a black Barcelona chair. A vase of blush peonies stands out against her classic black décor. She combines the scent of this flower with English pear in her Fragrance Combining Jo Malone perfume. Black is a favourite, but she also loves a splash of vibrant colour and delicate feminine touches. Some of her go-to picks for daily comfort are a black Burberry Kensington trench and black Salvatore Ferragamo rain boots, which have a posh loafer look. For those rare bouts of sunshine in “Rain-couver,” as she calls Vancouver, she has her black Tom Ford butterfly sunglasses handy in her red Louis Vuitton epi leather Passy GM bag. True to her minimalist aesthetic, she wears little makeup — but her CHANEL lipstick is a must. She’s collected many elegant Tiffany Key pendants, “hoping to use them to open up my wisdom.” From Rhonda Byrne’s book, The Secret, Chang has learned the power of thought. Japan is her favourite getaway spot for inspiration; she always has a pen handy to jot down ideas while she’s there, and she especially loves the views of Tokyo Bay from the Mitsui Garden Hotel Ginza Premier. When she’s not in Japan, she still loves a sushi bar. Luggage by Rimowa is her new travel staple. Her Friday nights often include dim lights, red wine, and the mellow music of Melody Gardot.