The recently graduated designer is making strides with her funky designs—including a coat rack and chairs that evoke the shape of pig intestines.

Recent RISD graduate Zihe Gong likes to describe her creative process as a kind of cooking. Drawing on memories of growing up in China, Gong mixes references to that nation’s culture and culinary traditions into furniture and household objects. Made from epoxy-coated steel, a spindly coat rack and chairs evoke pig intestines, while their bell-shaped wooden feet nod to hogs’ trotters.

Photo courtesy of Zihe Gong

Though her pieces appear friendly, even whimsical, their forms are based on "very raw and funky gestures," Gong explains, turning complex cultural experiences into approachable objects. And the design world is taking note: Her porcine work took home this year’s NYCXDesign student award.

Brushes and brooms by Zihe Gong

Photo courtesy of Zihe Gong

Learn why Gong would like to redesign a dog bed, plus read more of her responses to our Q&A below.

Hometown: Lake Forest, CA

Describe what you make in 140 characters. I focus to make friendly, tangible, and sometimes quirky everyday objects that explores sensitive topics that are frequently misunderstood.

What's the last thing you designed? A desk lamp.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? I'm always drawing/sketching. I used to keep a sketch book with me everyday, but now I've switched to the iPad.

How do you procrastinate? I cuddle with my dog Milu, or cook something to eat.

The Lanky Coat Hanger by Zihe Gong

Photo courtesy of Zihe Gong

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