I am greatly influenced by two architects, Luis Barragan and Peter Zumthor.
While I was studying architecture at The Bartlett in London, Minimalism was popular. I encountered renowned architects like Mies Van de Rohe, John Pawson and Tadao Ando, but it was the pioneering Mexican architect Luis Barragan who inspired me the most with his light, simple forms and bright colours. He published an eloquent manifesto in the 50s on the topic of emotional architecture, which means to create memorable spaces that calm, energise and elicit happiness. With this in mind, I was strongly encouraged to experiment with experiential qualities while I was in school.
The other architect in the present era that I also admire is Peter Zumthor, who crafts beautifully emotional spaces with the bold use of materials and light. Like Barragan, he poetically studied the history and context of the site, and embraced local materials so that senses emerged through tangibility, smell and acoustic qualities.
Instead of following trends, both Barragan and Zumthor designed spaces that evoke emotion, rather than with flamboyant structures and shapes. They allowed me to realize that I didn’t need to focus on spectacular forms; how someone experiences the space is key to a great design. Architecture and interior design should provide its user with an emotional connection with a powerful and unmistakable presence.
To me, it is important to experience the space and architecture first hand. Images on the Internet can be rather deceiving. It is the experience that will move and excite you, rather than the photos. In our current digital era, visuals on Instagram and Facebook may grab attention for split second, but architecture and interior spaces can only be felt when you are fully immersed in it – and if it’s done well, it should provide an unforgettable, long-lasting impression.
By Ada Leung