We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our "Office Design Challenge / Edition #2" competition – Stephanie Choo, Wen Hui Foo, Ke Zhen Lim and Jien Yong Yap from Malaysia!

Honorable mention winners from Malaysia

Think Cloud Design Lab is a design and architecture practice founded in 2013 by Ong Sharon and Foo Wen Hui. We are based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We are a close-knit team of 5 that are always looking for opportunities to inject creativity into our everyday design work through open studio culture, collaboration work, and shared learning experiences.

We are a noisy bunch who are always laughing... a little humour goes a long way when it comes to problem-solving and enduring through challenging times.

We are also currently involved in running a shared studio and event space focusing on the needs of architects and designers, therefore we have an inherent curiosity as well as invested interest in the research, experimentation, and design of work spaces, and by extension the wellbeing and productivity of the inhabitants of these spaces.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

Think Cloud Design Lab has been involved in a variety of residential and commercial projects. Our work primarily focuses on human-scaled everyday spaces.

Our stubborn optimism led us to believe the importance of well-designed vernacular architecture in transforming and elevating our everyday life experience in built spaces. We also believe that good architecture is the result of successful collaboration between designers, clients, builders and craftsmen. Architects play a central and visionary role on maintaining this delicate and complicated relationship.

One of the most interesting projects we have enjoyed working on was the library at the Rainforest Treehouse at Johor, Malaysia. We will perpetually appreciate the experience of designing and building a series of fun spaces for children and grown-ups to play and read while nestled amongst centuries-old tree branches and under the blanket of vast canopies.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Stephanie Choo: A problem solver that solves problem that might be 'invisible' or intangible in daily life. questioning of human behaviour, answering to questions from the public.

Ke Zhen Lim: Architecture, to me, is the art of feeling space—an exploration of unseen emotions and colours. It goes beyond physical structures, encompassing the intangible qualities that inspire and connect us. Architects play a crucial role in our society by crafting spaces that evoke specific emotions and enhance our well-being. We possess the skill to translate human needs and desires into tangible forms, designing structures that foster community, sustainability, and beauty. Through our vision and creativity, architects shape the physical environment, influencing how we interact, experience, and feel within our society.

Yap Jien Yong: Architecture is more than a profession; it's an attitude that shapes how I perceive the world. My goal as an architect is to design spaces that blend aesthetics and functionality, creating meaningful experiences for users. I believe architecture has the power to evoke emotions and leave lasting impressions. I strive to be an agent of change, inspiring others to appreciate the value of architecture and its impact on society. By promoting sustainability and responsible design practices, I aim to create a harmonious balance between human needs and the natural environment. Ultimately, I see myself as a catalyst for transforming the built environment and fostering a deeper understanding of architecture's profound influence.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Stephanie Choo: Engaging in architecture competitions serves as a catalyst for the thinking process. Amidst our busy work schedules, our thinking and design abilities can become stagnant over time. However, participating in these competitions allows me to initiate meaningful discussions on specific subjects, backed by thorough research and justifications. Simultaneously, it provides an opportunity to embrace fresh perspectives and innovative ideas that greatly enhance the overall topic.

Ke Zhen Lim: Taking part in architecture competitions is a significant endeavor for personal growth and staying informed about the latest concerns in the field. By engaging in these competitions, I expose myself to a diverse range of design challenges and cutting-edge architectural concepts. This allows me to continually expand my knowledge, skills, and creative thinking abilities.

Jien Yong Yap: Architecture competitions hold great value for me. They provide an avenue for our ideas to be acknowledged and embraced, offering validation and recognition. If our concepts are implemented, they can contribute to society and shape the built environment. Competitions also facilitate personal and professional growth, providing valuable experience, skill refinement, and exposure to diverse perspectives. Engaging with fellow architects' work stimulates creativity and expands my knowledge. Overall, participating in architecture competitions fuels my passion, allowing for recognition, societal contribution, experience gain, and continuous evolution as a designer.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Stephanie Choo: During my initial foray into competitions, I encountered challenges and confusion in setting the right mindset for a competition. Often, we become accustomed to receiving feedback and judgments within our own familiar circles. However, participating in competitions enabled me to venture beyond these limitations. It allowed me to explore diverse perspectives in response to a single brief and taught me how to effectively communicate my own ideas, even if they seemed unconventional at times. The experience instilled in me the understanding that starting somewhere, no matter how seemingly absurd, is a crucial step in the journey.

Ke Zhen Lim: To those unsure about participating in architecture competitions, I would say: Embrace the opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery. Competitions push you to explore new design ideas, expand your skills, and step outside your comfort zone. They offer a chance to test your abilities, gain valuable feedback, and build a network of like-minded professionals. Regardless of the outcome, the process itself is a transformative journey that allows you to learn, evolve, and discover your own creative potential. So, take a leap of faith, embrace the challenge, and unlock the potential for growth that architecture competitions can offer.

Jien Yong Yap: For individuals unsure about participating in architecture competitions, my advice is to consider the potential benefits. Competitions offer an opportunity to enhance your portfolio with unique designs, increasing your chances of getting noticed by your dream company. Additionally, participating allows you to network with competitors, potentially forming valuable connections for future collaborations. Most importantly, competitions provide a platform to showcase your creativity and concepts to a wider audience, establishing your presence in the field and leaving a lasting impression.

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