Interview with Siu Man Chan

Winner of Urban Planning Design Awards

Award Winning Designer Siu Man Chan shares insights


Interview with Siu Man Chan at Sunday 24th of June 2018:

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?
SC : I studied Architecture at the University of Queensland, Australia.

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?
SC : I always had a passion in drawing and creative works ever since I was a child. It seems like a natural course I should take.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?
SC : My initial intention was to become an artist. However with my parent's influence, I decided to take on a profession in the creative industry with a more robust career development path.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?
SC : I am both an architect and urban designer. So I design master plan frameworks, urban spaces and buildings. I did a lot of commercial and residential masterplans before. Now I am doing a lot of R&D workplace and industrial town masterplan. I wish to do more energy-generating and interactive public urban spaces and buildings.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?
SC : I think firstly young designers should have a long-term goal to strive for, but yet ready to be lost along the way. I think only when you are lost, you can find your way and see your goals truly. Also do not be afraid to try new things, to dare and to be wrong, because there is no right in design.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?
SC : The ' grit' is the word recently used to measure success in education and professional life and I think this is true for designers, too. The other trait of a great designer from my perspective is intuition and understanding about people.

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?
SC : I think the first question is what do the project do for the people and the environment. Then I think the design is about how good you make use of the time and resources to create something suitable the project.

DL: What is the value of good design? Why should everyone invest in good design?
SC : True value of good design is about what its brings to the people and the environment. The same reason why we should invest in people and the environment.

DL: What would you design and who would you design for if you had the time?
SC : I wanted to create an web-based design platform for architects, urban designers & landscape architects alike to find work and inspirations. The beauty of this platform is that designers can allow to work anywhere and anytime they like.

DL: What is the dream project you haven’t yet had time to realize?
SC : Finding the right girl and building a family, then a dream house that comes after that.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?
SC : There is no secret recipe or secret ingredient. I think it is about staying focus, working hard on design and working smart on presentation and communication. I also try to keep learning news things and re-inventing myself over time.

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?
SC : Frank Lloyd Wright is my favorite classic modern architect. Rem Koolhas's philosophy and outlook on approach to architecture is truly inspirational. Bjarke Ingels'way of illustrating and communicating design concepts and ideas is truly legendary.

DL: What are your favorite designs by other designers, why do you like them?
SC : The Robie House and the Falling Waters by Frank Lloyd are my favorite design because they represent how simple ideas can create spectacular architectural designs.

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?
SC : I think my greatest design is yet to come.

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?
SC : Many designers are stuck inside their own world, in a way it makes them people with strong outlook on the world and design. However, they should try to look at the world from perspective of other people. I think once a designer realizes design is only a small part of the world then you can truly see the value of design.

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?
SC : I cannot imagine designing things completely out of my life. But if I am not designing things full time, I will be tennis coach.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?
SC : Design is a type of work in service for the greater community. Design is fun, frustrating and my passion.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?
SC : My parents are my biggest supporter. I didn't reach any heights, I am still 178 cm tall.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?
SC : I am not yet a great designer.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?
SC : I am not yet a design master. But the greatest obstacle anyone can face for anything is their own mindset I think.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?
SC : Through a lot of brainstorming, testing ideas, sketching, talking, chatting and texting.

DL: What’s your next design project, what should we expect from you in future?
SC : I am hoping to deliver an education and centre for elderly senior care.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?
SC : To inspire other designers to become better than themselves.

DL: What people expect from an esteemed designer such as yourself?
SC : It's pretty simple. They expect you to deliver a project before the deadline.

DL: How does design help create a better society?
SC : Design can help promote better lifestyle, better environment, maybe imagine how society works in the future.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?
SC : An education and centre for elderly senior care.

DL: Which design projects gave you the most satisfaction, why?
SC : Design projects for public spaces and communities.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?
SC : The design industry needs to adopt and embrace digital community and communication.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?
SC : Industry 4.0, design communities connected by internet network and focus on designers and people. I am totally against artificial intelligence.

DL: How long does it take you to finalize a design project?
SC : It can take weeks, months and up to years. Remember I am not alone in any design projects.

DL: When you have a new design project, where do you start?
SC : I always start off with background research and site analysis

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?
SC : Design is one kind of exercise for the brain.

DL: Do you think design sets the trends or trends set the designs?
SC : I think they work together hand in hand.

DL: What is the role of technology when you design?
SC : Technology plays two roles in design. Firstly technology pushes the boundaries of what can be physical manufactured or constructed. Secondly, it plays a huge role in the ways designers work on design and make presentations.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?
SC : I use AutoCad, Sketchup, Rhino, Vray, Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Excel, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint. I also use inks pens, tracing, color markers for sketching.

DL: What is the role of the color, materials and ambient in design?
SC : Color, materials and ambient is the best language to communicate design ideas. They are also the best way to portray feelings and convey ideas physically in design.

DL: When you see a new great design or product what comes into your mind?
SC : Inspirations ,ideas & maybe motions

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?
SC : Someone who has the same beliefs and someone who is less ego-centric. Co-design do not work if one particular designer is much more ego-centric.

DL: Which people you interacted had the most influence on your design?
SC : What would you have done to make your project better?

DL: Which books you read had the most effect on your design?
SC : Not on this particular design, but the book by BIG Yes is More has big influence on my thinking and design

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?
SC : Just constant practice and practice

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?
SC : Everyone of my ancestors and understand history from their perspective

DL: How do you feel about all the awards and recognition you had, is it hard to be famous?
SC : I am not famous and I do not have a lot of awards & recognition

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?
SC : Green, North Stradbroke Island, Pizza, Cheese & Parma Ham, Australian four deasons and addidas

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?
SC : When joke about how our design may figuratively look like something else.

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?
SC : i drink a lot of coffee and making drawings and renders look very pretty

DL: When you were a little child, was it obvious that you would become a great designer?
SC : No, i wanted to be an artist when I was little.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?
SC : Endless cycle of life and death and how little we really matter

DL: Please tell us anything you wish your fans to know about you, your design and anything else?
SC : If I had any fans at all. I will them story-telling is the best.