Matthew Lai Chi Kai
Founder & design director, Studio XMSL (SINGAPORE)
In 2006 Matthew Lai graduated with a master's degree in architecture from the National University of Singapore as the overall top student and valedictorian. He was also awarded the Singapore Institute of Architecture Gold Medal, Board of Architects Gold Medal and the Architectural Alumni Association Book Prize. Lai established Studio XMSL (Extra/Mini/Super/Large) in 2009, combining clever planning and spatial strategies with strong aesthetic sensitivities, meticulous detailing and rigorous care to imbue spaces for living with character and identity. He is also pursuing his interest in furniture design, and served as a design studio tutor at the National University of Singapore School of Design & Environment from 2009 to 2013.
Lai has been awarded numerous accolades, such as the Gold Award in the residential category of the IAI Design Awards 2014, and Silver at the Hong Kong-based APIDA Awards in 2016.
Associate, HOK (HONG KONG)
Born and raised in Lithuania, Dovile Zuokaite attended Vilnius Academy of the Arts, where she earned a bachelor's degree in interior design before going on to join Studio Indigo in London. Driven by her passion for arts, design and travel, she visits new locations to understand the local culture for every project she works on.
She went on to receive a master's degree in interior design from the University of Westminster and then joined Tara Bernerd Studio, where she worked on a variety of exclusive hotel projects. She later joined HOK in Hong Kong, where she is leading a number of luxury hotel projects across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Her focus is on creating compelling places via the means of storytelling, to create an identity and a journey for everyone who visits.
Innovator in interior design, Avoid Obvious Architects (HONG KONG)
In 2017, while completing a degree in interior design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Emily Manasc joined the award-winning team at Avoid Obvious Architects. She has aided in the completion of multiple projects in Hong Kong, one of which is the city's first farm-to-table concept.
Many of her projects have won multiple awards, including the American Architecture Prize for her interior design of the DJI headquarters in Shenzhen. Manasc completed a technical degree in interior design at Dawson College in 2015 in her hometown of Montreal. Passionate about technology and sustainability in all of her work, she also volunteers with local group Architecture for Children, where she teaches local students about design and sustainability. She has helped the programme secure a community award from AIA Hong Kong as well as being featured in the German documentary series Founder's Valley.
Founder & creative director, LAANK (SINGAPORE)
Cherin Tan graduated with a degree in interior architecture from Curtin University, Australia. She has more than 10 years of experience in architecture and interior design across a wide array of projects, especially in industries such as hospitality, retail and F&B. Tan worked as a designer with interior design firm Asylum for six years before starting LAANK. She oversees the creative direction of the company and strives to make a difference in the industry by marrying functionality with workmanship and creativity to create a unique and valuable experience for both customers and users.
Tan has won many awards locally and worldwide, and has been invited to present talks as well as participate in interview features in the media. She strives to achieve and maintain a balance between high-quality work and managing both staff and client expectations.
Senior project interior designer, HOK (HONG KONG)
Ellie Shariff moved to Hong Kong from Singapore, and has practised as a furniture, fittings and equipment (FF&E) designer for more than a decade. With a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her name, her work is typified by her creative approach and sophisticated aesthetic sensibility, as well as an attention to detail, with emphasis on the use of materials, layering of textures and a combination of Asian and contemporary elements. Her aim is to create spaces that are not just meticulously conceived and detailed, but also executed with atmosphere, a sense of growth and understated elegance.
Founder & director, ED Design (HONG KONG)
Since setting up ED Design in 2014, Ed Lau has been involved in large-scale commercial developments in mainland China and Hong Kong. He has also extended his talent in various types of interior and furniture design. Lau earned a master's degree in architecture from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in 2011, as well as a bachelor's degree in social science and architecture from CUHK in 2008. He is a Registered Architect, Hong Kong Institute of Architects ARB as well as a Dutch Registered Architect, SBA, and a professional member of the Hong Kong Interior Design Association.
He is also a part-time lecturer in the architecture department at the Hong Kong Design Institute. Lau has received a number of awards, including the Top Ten Original Designer Award 2016-2017 at China's CIDF; and Commercial Space Gold Award at China's ISDA Idea-Tops 2017.
Founder, More Design Office (SHANGHAI, CHINA)
Jaycee Chui was born in Hong Kong, schooled in Canada and studied architecture in the United Kingdom. After working in London for six years, she moved to Shanghai and founded More Design Office in 2011. The practice now has a team of 20 designers, with architecture and interior projects across mainland China, Hong Kong and the Middle East. More Design Office has a wide portfolio of interior and architecture projects including commercial, residential, hospitality and exhibition design. Chui's design language bridges East and West; exploring the relationships between interior and architecture, her work seeks to create spaces of transformation.
Her projects are rooted in an architectural perspective, while simultaneously exploring different scales, aiming to achieve results rich in texture, detail and storytelling. The office also develops furniture, artwork and signage to support the designs, and Chui has constructed her own projects, including a series of apartments in Shanghai.
Founder, Grande Development (HONG KONG)
Matthew Li founded Hong Kong-based interior design firm Grande Development in 2013, going on to manage projects ranging from residential to commercial and from offices to retail window display design. Known for designing spaces that are functional, stylish, customised, cost-effective and thoughtful, Li believes each project should represent the individual client's own interests and lifestyle. His work has been featured in various design and lifestyle publications, including Perspective, Modern Home Bel Air Residences, Construction Plus, Interior Beauté,
Today's Living, Property Times, Asia Pacific's Best 2016-2017 and the Hong Kong Economic Times. Li has been honoured with multiple awards, including an MH Prominent Interior Designers Award, a Top 10 Interior Design Award, Interior Beauté Designer of the Year, an A' Design Award and an International Property Award.
Founder & design director, Yestudio (TAIPEI, TAIWAN)
Hung Yi-An's designs epitomise contemporary modernism with a combination of an innate aesthetic sensibility, simplicity of style and understanding of what looks and feels beautiful. In 2005 she launched her design studio to focus on interiors and furniture design, going on to win awards from Red Dot and iF Design a decade later. Her ethos is to create multi-functional interiors and furniture designs that are both contemporary and distinctly modern, marked by her use of timber, natural light and flawless construction detail to create an effortless spatial flow.
Her innovative A Chairs won two gold awards at the A' Design Awards 2017. She has also won a number of other international design awards, including K-Design (South Korea), Golden Pin (Taiwan) and IDA (Italy). Hung's design philosophy of integrating multiple functions into a simple flawless form with natural materials has captured international interest for her new approach to design trends.
Design director, Chinc's Workshop (HONG KONG)
Cyrus Cheng earned a bachelor's degree in architectural studies from Canada's University of Toronto. Having grown up in both Hong Kong and Canada, Cheng has found himself drawn to East-meets-West culture shock, fascinated by how each culture adheres to completely different sets of values. This ignited his interest in pursuing a design philosophy that fuses Eastern and Western aesthetics.
"The poetic nature of ancient Chinese aesthetics brings a sense of calmness and sophistication to the space, elevating the overall experience for users," says Cheng. After returning to Hong Kong in 2005, he joined renowned hotel design consultancy Hirsch Bedner Associates, honing his architectural knowledge via the high-end hotel projects in which the firm specialised. In 2008 he co-founded Chinc's Workshop to further pursue his dream of becoming an influential force in the design industry.
Founder & chief designer, AD ARCHITECTURE (SHANTOU, CHINA)
Senior interior architect, founder and chief designer of AD ARCHITECTURE, Xie Peihe focuses on the creation of interior spaces and the space experience. Xie believes that design derives from life, and emotional design inspiration can be extracted from experience, and rational design techniques can be used to start every design. This, according to Xie, breaks away from everyday design thought, enabling people to have different experiences and find joy in every type of space.
Founded in 2015, AD ARCHITECTURE approaches each project using coexistence and consensus as its conceptual starting point. Having gathered a team of designers who are all equally committed to collaborative design, the firm's main practice covers architectural design, interior design and soft furnishings.
Focusing on villas, sales offices, offices, clubs and public spaces, AD ARCHITECTURE is committed to providing high-level architectural and interior designs through professional and innovative design concepts.