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May 7, 2017

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It’s not all about just the project: it’s about people

CARMEN Lee received her Masters in architecture from McGill University in Montreal. She has been living in Shanghai for more than a decade, focusing particularly on interior architecture and interior design. Lately, she has been practicing on her own, doing small projects, as well as provided design consultancy for a few overseas firms, and working on relatively larger scale projects in Asia.

Some of the projects that I participated are Water House boutique hotel, K11 shopping mall, Miela House showroom, Ginger Modern Asia Bistro and VAI gelato shop.

The most rewarding experience is not the project itself, but the working relationships with people who are passionate and committed to their specialties.

It’s very inspiring to watch a chef/owner supervising her staff and her dishes for five to six hours, or a creative director with a design background reviewing, and commenting a spoon from both functional and aesthetic perspectives. I’m glad that I have met these dedicated and talented people, and valued the time I spent with them.

I’m currently involved in a six-star hospitality/resort project as a stylist, working closely with the creative director on different aspects of the project, sourcing materials, furniture and operational items.

I like to keep everything simple, bold direct and — most importantly — honest and meaningful. Also, because we are living in a time in which everyone should be conscious about our impact on the environment, as designers, we have obligations to select material that not only speaks for the ideas behind, but also has the least impact on our environment.

Out on the street, biking or walking around the city. Anything can be a source of inspiration. I like to visit exhibitions, especially the ones that incorporate emotions and three-dimensional space in installations.

Home is a place where you can be the biggest fool with your family and friends. It is a place that shapes oneself intellectually and spiritually. Thus, it can be anywhere, or you can call more than one place “home.”

Any well-thought items, especially the ones with a sense of humor.

I like to bike around the city, walk in the lilong, where you can discover small cafes or boutique shops.

Anything that reminds us of the local traditional heritage and culture in a modern context. Both design and social trends are changing at a very fast pace.

This is very evident in Shanghai. We need to find ways to acknowledge how we get here, and at the same time, reflect where we are heading. I think every project needs to be educational, even in the smallest possible ways.


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