Friday Five with Meichi Peng

Interior designer Meichi Peng, who I have had the pleasure of working with several times in Boston, is the subject of today’s Friday Five. Peng, who was born in Taiwan, is one of Boston’s most respected designers. She transcends trends, staying true to her Zen-inspired aesthetic, be it in projects for homeowners or for building developers looking to sell condos in a hot, new building. Not content to simply re-imagine spaces, Peng also designs a line of high end, hand-stitched leather bags, and runs a 1,400-square-foot home design store, Peng Furnishings, in Boston’s artsy SoWa neighborhood. It’s here she’s able to showcase the amazing global finds she might not be using in a project. The inspiration for her work and collections are apparent from her five picks below. 

1. Bonsai
I grew up with a bonsai garden overflowing with bonsai plants which were nurtured and cared for by my family. Observing the level of patience necessary to create and train a tree that was once found in the mountains has made me love and admire the bonsai. It is something that was once an unnoticeable, raw tree, but decades later is miraculously transformed into a beautiful form and shape. The amount of self-discipline, patience and passion which it requires has been engraved in my heart forever. So much so, that I try never to miss a Bonsai exhibition no matter where I am in the world.

2. Antique and art gallery shopping with my sisters
I love to travel and visit unique antique shops and art galleries with my two sisters. Every chance we get, we love searching for pieces that are one-of-a-kind and overflowing with rich history, detailed workmanship, or even unusual new pieces crafted by a forward thinker. Above are two finds that are my favorites thus far. On the right, an oversized ceramic Bat figure by Shan Chan. He creates cartoon, futuristic figures with such playfulness and attitude, all the joints are moveable and he shows details through the face and body. My other great find is this Ming Dynasty seated Buddha which has complex textural layers and details of gilded paint.

3. Kingfisher Blue Jewelry
I remember when my sister first showed me this piece a few years ago, I got goose bumps all over. It was in the middle of the night, so I was half asleep when she pulled out this kingfisher blue jewelry from her stash hidden in her closet. She told me that the iridescent color was from extinct birds’ feathers; I suddenly woke up to that amazing detail. There is unbelievable craftsmanship and many hours of labor required to overlay kingfisher blue bird’s brilliant colored feathers. The contemporary artist usually takes these delicate historical pieces and reworks them into a new piece of wearable art.

4. Snorkling and hiking in St. John
I can’t resist the natural beauty of this island. Every chance I get, I am in the water swimming with the colorful fish, turtles, and of course, I love looking at the breathtaking coral reefs. The island is so peaceful that is my destination of choice when I need to recharge and simply just relax.

5. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston
Besides the famous art they house, the Museum itself is a work of art. From the architectural layout of the living space to the central inner garden with an enclosed skylight, this museum can be enjoyed year round and is a must visit when in Boston. During each of my many visits, I always seem to discover something new!

Marni Elyse Katz is a Contributing Editor at Design Milk. She lives in Boston where she contributes regularly to local publications and writes her own interior design blog, StyleCarrot.