Could you talk about how you became a designer?
I always knew I wanted to do something creative and I’ve been obsessed with design since day one. When I was a kid, the only thing I wanted to become was a fashion designer. But when I came to the US for college at 18, the school that I enrolled in did not offer fashion design as a major. It was definitely a bummer, and after about two years of searching for my path, I accidentally bumped into Architecture in a drawing class. Since then I was fascinated by Architecture… how interesting, exciting and complicated it could get. So it became my major and now it’s my career. And I am also very intrigued by graphics, interiors, product & jewelry design.

What is your background?
I graduated my master in architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design in 2002. Right before I entered the real world of Architecture, I did a couple internships for my two professors at Harvard: Rafael Moneo in Madrid and Monica Ponce de Leon at Office dA, Boston. 2002 was a rough year to start a career. I was very lucky that my professor found me a job in a renowned corporate firm called Skidmore Owings & Merrill. The four years of foundation in SOM was definitely not easy but fruitful. Then I was recruited by a medium size firm that specialized in Hospitality- the first project I worked on was the Ritz Carlton Hotel at North Star, Lake Tahoe. After spending five years, I knew I needed to move on, so I found an interesting opportunity to join a startup design studio. My boss came from another corporate firm who planned to start on his own in San Francisco, and I became the design director of his startup. We specialized in Master planning and large scale mixed-use developments in China and together we built the studio from scratch. The experience was very unique & experimental. Currently, my focus is on single-family residential which I find very challenging and a more intimate experience. I love the idea of working in a small firm because one is trained to be well rounded and is never bored.

Can you describe your creative process?
My creative process begins around the desires from a client(s) or an imaginative target. I like to build my work around a character, a story, with a concept or a destination. But my process usually happens in my thoughts and dreams; I don’t sketch. The process usually involves a series of sleepless nights. I take breaks in-between the design process because I need to keep my vision clear for self-criticism. In short, my creative process is quite lonely but I do love discussing and finding new elements during the process of interacting with people and getting inspired by other external forces.

What inspires you and who is your muse(s)?
Anyone who speaks their mind and does not usually go with the flow of things. A quote from Andy Hunt once said: “Only dead fish go with the flow.”
My muses are Alexander McQueen, Gaudi and Alvaro Siza.

Through the years, has there been any change in what you value in design & in your career?
Yes, for sure. When I was a young designer, I had to listen to a lot of direction and comments; I tried my best to learn and absorb from others. And now I still value all the comments from my colleagues, but I choose and decide what I take in the end. It is not about an ego or being humble, it is all about driving the result to the best possible outcome.
Career wise, my path has been about exploring- from a large company & building scale such as a  350 meters tall skyscrapers to a medium-size like hotel & resort development, and eventually to a smaller scale now with single-family homes.

What is your design motto?
Trust your instinct, be yourself, and to stay true. A good design only comes from Honesty, Authenticity, and Confidence.

Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
Don’t listen to people’s advice, in general; you need to truly understand yourself first before taking any advice. I still think all you need to listen is your heart.