Designer Profile: Akyra Manor Designer Chih Wen Chaw

Chih-WenName: Chih Wen Chaw
Company: Manor Studio
Position within company: Design Director

Tell us a little about your background in design…

I completed my architecture education with a Masters of Architecture in National University of Singapore. Upon graduation, I worked with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects (formerly Cesar Pelli Architects) in NYC where I honed my skills as a designer in projects of various scales ranging from small institutional project to skyscrapers. I moved to Skew Collaborative in Shanghai where I got to work on boutique projects that operates at the intersections of various disciplines such as Arts, Branding, Interior, and Architecture. These past experiences definitely have had a strong influence on the ethos of Manor Studio. I am also currently an Adjunct Design Tutor at my alma mater.

How would you describe your personal design style?

I rather not describe the design as a style but more of a working philosophy. I believe every individual is a designer in their own right and my job as a designer is not so much as to design for my clients but to design with them.

Where does your design inspiration come from?

From my clients, colleagues and students.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

Design is becoming more accessible both as a product and knowledge. This could be a double edged sword.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2015 and beyond.

1) Holistic experience design that intersects various disciplines
2) What are we sustaining in sustainable design
3) Integrating new fabrication techniques with local crafts
4) Economical relevance
5) The making of a design is as important as its conceptualisation

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design, what would it be?

Never lose the naivety of a child.

How important are The International Hotel and Property Awards as recognition of talent and achievement?

The award is not just a recognition of design team’s talents but more importantly a validation of the great team that has made the project possible. This includes the clients, builders, project consultants and project managers. Though a cliché, I am still a firm believer that a collaborative spirit is the key to a successful project.

What projects are you currently working on?

The studio is currently working on an array of projects that range from houses, spatial branding and F&B interiors.

What are your aims and goals for the next twelve months?

To be continuously excited and motivated.

Final thoughts; tell us a little more about yourself…

Your most treasured possession?

A clutch pencil my wife bought me.

Your favourite holiday destination?


Your favourite hotel / restaurant / bar?

Sekiping Victoria

Your favourite book / film / song?

Chungking Express

Your favourite food and drink?

Anything with coffee

Your favourite way to spend an afternoon?

Sitting at a corner, observing how people inhabit the spaces I design. There are usually pleasant surprises.

If you weren’t a designer, what would you be?


Anything else interesting?