Phlo: Architectural Wooden Clutches

Beijing-based designer Vega Zaishi Wang collaborates with woodworker Christian Melz on unique purses


Central Saint Martins alum Vega Zaishi Wang is gaining reputation as one the brightest rising stars in the Chinese design world. In the last few years, the independent fashion designer has shaped fascinating creations that merge her time in the East and West, and she has shown she’s unafraid to get experimental. (As evidenced in her electroluminescent Alpha Lyrae collection, which featured glowing blue dresses that further animated when plugged in.)


More recently, Wang teamed up with Christian Melz of Melz Design for a project called Phlo, a collection of wooden clutches. Christian Melz—a young Beijing-based German designer and master cabinet-maker—was the winner of the 2013 Red Dot Design Award. “We met while we were renovating Galeries Lafayette in Beijing and we immediately connected because of our shared passion for wood as natural material, and the idea to collaborate came right after,” Vega tells CH.


Merging the woodworking craftsmanship of Christian Melz and quirky genius of Vega are Phlo clutches, which are handmade from different kinds of wood—from the streaked ebony wood, to the almost golden maple wood and the warm ziricote wood. (Phlo references the living tissue called “phloem” or the innermost layer of bark in trees.) Conveying a combination of practical and aesthetic values, the clutches juxtapose geometrical shapes with the warmth of the texture of natural wood.


Phlo clutches are now available in Beijing, at Xidan Galerie Lafayette Department Store, or at Vega Zaishi Wang Studio+Shop in Yanyue Hutong.

Images courtesy of the designers