Embark on a journey in time to the13th Century, imagine you’re travelling back to the days of Marco Polo, and follow him on his famous “Silk Road”. What you would discover is the fusion of cultures, the blending of the Oriental and the Occidental. Dunhuang, the town that inspired Qeelin, was the outpost that epitomised the zenith of East meets West.
The brand name “Qeelin” is in fact a product of East meets West. The brand was initially intended to be called ‘Qilin’ after a Chinese mythical creature first heard of in the fifth century BC, and traditionally thought to be a harbinger of prosperity.
“But we couldn’t register the name, as it’s very generic in China and there were thousands of Qilin Ltds!” muses Dennis Chan. “So we decided to apply our East meets West principles to the name as well. We were in Paris when we finally made up our minds. It was to be Qeelin — sufficiently close to ‘Qilin’ and yet distinctly itself.”
The products are also exemplifications of East meets West: using traditional Chinese motifs and symbols as inspirational and presenting them in a modern, western and timeless way.
Then there is the product design – each collection embodies the spirit of East meets West: King and Queen turns the legendary Chinese dragon and phoenix into a modern love story; Tien Di uses the traditional conception of heaven and earth and transforms that into minimalist rings that are both a square and a circle at the same time; Bo Bo is embodies both the national symbol of China, the panda, and the western kid’s favourite toy, the teddy bear. There are many other examples.
Perhaps the Solid Wulu most interestingly merges and blurs the concept of East meets West. Adorned with black oynx, red and white agate, this Wulu exudes Byzantine design influences. Byzantine culture being at the crossroads of East and West, it was celebrated as the pinnacle of Oriental culture in Western eyes, while renowned as a symbol of Occidental civilisation to Asian academics.