Founder & director, Contact Design Group (HONG KONG)
Connie Lee is the founder and director of Contact Design Group, an award-winning design and innovation company based in Hong Kong. Since studying industrial design at the Design Academy Eindhoven, Lee has worked on a wide spectrum of projects in partnership with international brands including Sony, Target, illy, Hyundai and various start-ups. Lee founded The Contact Store, a lifestyle experience store in Milan and at Hong Kong Science Park. With the mantra 'Connect. Co-Design. Create', the platform aims to connect different industry players to engage in collaboration and conversation.
Lee has won numerous awards, including a Red Dot Design Concept Award, a Design for Asia Award and a Smart Gifts Design Award, and was selected to be on the 100 Designers list at the Kun Shan University Annual International Design Symposium. Passionate about nurturing young design talent, Lee is a visiting lecturer at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design.
Based in Bangkok, architecture, art and design studio Atelier2+ was founded in 2010 by Worapong Manupipatpong and Ada Chirakranont, who both graduated with master's degrees in fine arts from Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design in Sweden. Atelier 2+ handles a range of projects in different fields, with its team members hailing from the practice, research and academic arenas. Projects range from retail, hotels, pubs and restaurants to residences, offices and exhibitions.
Describing its work as 'somewhere between art and design, theoretical and practical', the practice's interests lie in different forms of design, ranging from product design to interiors and architecture. Atelier 2+ is one of co-founders of DesignPLANT, a group of young furniture design talents set up in 2013 that aims to raise international awareness of the Thai furniture industry.
Founder, Zhoujie Zhang Digital Lab (SHANGHAI, CHINA)
Zhang Zhoujie graduated from Central Saint Martins art and design college in London, and is a member of the Architectural Association School of Architecture. He established Zhoujie Zhang Digital Lab in 2010, and is widely considered a pioneer in the realm of digital creativity.
His work is known for being independent, experimental and futuristic. Zhang believes that objects in the digital world can grow and morph much like those found in nature, and he is dedicated to discovering and exploring the methods within these transformations. His work mainly focuses on the simplicity of logic, variety and unpredictability, which is based on his understanding of nature.
His collections have been exhibited widely around the world and selected by museums and individual collectors. His work has appeared in publications including Wallpaper*, The New York Times and Vogue.
Co-founder & head designer, THINKK Studio (BANGKOK, THAILAND)
A graduate of both Bangkok's King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang and the University of Art and Design Lausanne, Switzerland, Decha Archjananun set up THINKK Studio in 2008 together with Ploypan Theerachai. His projects range from small desk accessories and furniture to hotels, and he also works with local craft communities to develop products, consults for various design brands, curates exhibitions, lectures at universities and writes articles.
He has received local and international awards, including three Good Design Awards in Japan and four Demark Awards in Thailand in 2016-17. Named Thai Designer of the Year in 2013 by the Faculty of Decorative Arts, Silpakorn University, the Department of International Trade Promotion and the Thai Graphic Designers Association, Decha was also selected by Elle Decoration in 2012 as one of six key emerging Asian talents to present their works at Maison et Objet, Paris.
Founder, Omar Khan Rugs (KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA)
A graduate of New York's Parsons School of Design, Omar Khan draws on his expertise in furniture design, interior design and illustration to develop rugs distinguished by their unique composition and expert craftsmanship. Born in Singapore and based in Kuala Lumpur, Khan's multicultural background – a blend of Dutch, Chinese, Egyptian, Pakistani and German heritage – is a rich source of aesthetic inspiration for his designs.
Since establishing Omar Khan Rugs, his works can be found in the homes of dignitaries and high-end spaces. Apart from his core bespoke collection, he has a more accessible off-the-loom range carried by Hong Kong retail giant Lane Crawford, which is entering its third collection. Khan was also the first Southeast Asian designer invited by Tai Ping Carpets to create a collection of Axminster carpets for its commercial clients.
Founder, SAIF FAISAL design workshop BANGALORE, INDIA
Self-taught industrial designer Saif Faisal founded his eponymous workshop, an interdisciplinary design studio, in 2014. He works across product design, furniture, lighting, design development, creative direction, architecture, interiors, motorcycle design, automotive racing, brand identity, craft and jewellery.
Representing a new breed of contemporary Indian designers, Faisal has won and been nominated for numerous international awards, including a Lexus Design Award 2018 India. His studio has collaborations across the world, and is currently working on a solar project in Africa. His designs draw heavily from his appreciation of technology and processes, with his experience in motor racing often manifesting itself in his architecture and design. From a very young age he has been into making things with whatever he could lay his hands on. With his fascination for geometry, his style is characterised by strong shapes that render a certain formal rigour to visual and functional attributes.
LEED AP / Partner, MisoSoupDesign TAIPEI, TAIWAN
A graduate of both Meiji University in Tokyo and Columbia University in New York, Daisuke Nagatomo founded MisoSoupDesign, a multi-disciplinary design practice based in Taipei, with his partner Minnie Jan.
Their aim is to explore the various fields of design, from architecture and interiors to furniture and products. Nagatomo's design works have been lauded with numerous international design awards, including a Platinum A' Design Award, a Best of Golden Pin design award, and a Designer of the Year award from the International Association of Designers.
He has also conducted design studios and lectures at a number of schools, including Tokyo Denki University, Pratt Institute, Tokyo University of Science, Keio University and National Chiao Tung University. He is currently an assistant professor at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan and an active member of the Architectural Institute of Japan.