Discovering the charming of Guochao with Chow Sang Sang
Client: Chow Sang Sang
In recent years, Guochao, a phenomenon that, according to Forbes, represents a ‘growing taste for local luxury brands that reflect Chinese cultural traditions,’ has become a national trend. Chinese consumers have once again embraced their traditions, especially when reimagined and integrated into trendy design.
Hong Kong-based jewelry brand Chow Sang Sang, though, embraced the Guochao trend long before the term was coined, blending Chinese goldsmith techniques with modern design. In 2023, they intentionally launched their Guochao series, trusting The Orangeblowfish to create online campaigns for its gold products across mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
The campaigns combine still photography, video shooting, and graphic design to convey the elegance of traditional Eastern aesthetics, leveraging the cultural significance associated with Chow Sang Sang and capturing the essence of the ‘Golden Age’ of Guochao.
Through a deep exploration of Chow Sang Sang’s jewelry design process, we found that the inspiration behind these collections aligns with the concept of the five elements, which is a central theme in traditional Chinese philosophy.
With that in mind, we integrated the principles of the five elements into our creative process, relating them to ten different product sets. Also, we enhanced their symbology through traditional ‘huadian’ makeup and color palettes, and carefully chosen props in the photoshoot.
Element 1: Gold (金)
“金” (gold) symbolizes stability and accumulation, corresponding to the idea of “山” (mountain), which represents firmness. In Buddhist tradition, gold is prevalent. We paired them with body art and props representing robust mountains and rocks, further paying homage to China’s rich ancient heritage.
Element 2: Wood (木)
“木” (wood) represents growth, corresponding to the idea of “树枝” (branches) that reach upward. Wood holds a special place in Chinese classicism. Taking “竹” (bamboo) as one of the ‘four noble ones,’ a collective term for four plants in Chinese art, we leveraged its symbolism of flexibility and strength. Also, its enduring green color signifies growth, vitality, and longevity. Similarly, Chow Sang Sang’s bamboo-shaped series perfectly embodies the vitality of “木” (wood).
To complement the theme, we incorporated art mobiles with classical architectural joinery techniques as props.
Element 3: Water (水)
“水” (water) signifies change and flow, corresponding to the element “金鱼” (goldfish). In the collection associated with Water (水), the gourd, which also serves as a water-carrying vessel, symbolizes health, longevity, peace, and good luck. In traditional Feng Shui, water signifies abundance and prosperity, and we paired this element with a gold dragonfish in vibrant colors, evoking the traditional saying ‘like a fish in water.’ Together, these elements convey a variety of auspicious meanings.
We also incorporated the theme of lotus leaves, which float on the water, to enhance the visual depth of this series with a delicate and elegant touch.
Element 4: Fire (火)
“火” (fire) embodies passion and brightness, corresponding to the element “火烧云” (fiery clouds). Chow Sang Sang offers pieces featuring elements such as dragons and claws, but with a contemporary twist in the form of a black cord, enhancing their strength. The series was inspired by the Forbidden City and showcases classic palace aesthetics, exuding both timeless elegance and a strong sense of power.
To convey power and tradition, we incorporated elements like fire clouds as body art and bright red lanterns in the background. These not only represent fire but also symbolize positive and bright fortune.
Element 5: Earth (土)
“土” (earth) embodies nurturing and integration, corresponding to the element “花” (flowers). Considering earth as a nurturing force for plants and flowers, in this series, we drew further inspiration from the Chow Sang Sang Floral Charm collection, particularly the design inspired by Gesang flowers. We incorporated floral depictions with contemporary strokes delicately and elegantly.
To further enhance the classic allure of this set, we included a simple and elegant porcelain flower vase as an extra nod to Chinese tradition.
The campaign is considered a success both for us at The Orangeblowfish and for the executives at Chow Sang Sang.
“The collaboration with The Orangeblowfish underscores our dedication at Chow Sang Sang to preserving and reimagining traditional aesthetics. We have consistently strived to combine classical craftsmanship and charm with contemporary design, creating products that resonate with younger generations meanwhile conveying Chinese culture. By infusing thought-provoking classical aesthetics, The Orangeblowfish team has beautifully portrayed the cultural richness of our entire collection in a way that reflects the essence of our Guochao project.” Commented by the Head of Chow Sang Sang, Managing Director for Mainland China.