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Women in Design: Corina Leung, director – Singapore, LWK + PARTNERS

Women in Design: Corina Leung, director – Singapore, LWK + PARTNERS

Women in design, Corina leung, LWK+Partners

Corina Leung received her Bachelor of Interior Architecture degree from the University of New South Wales, Australia. After beginning her professional career in Sydney, she relocated to Shanghai before returning to her native Hong Kong. Prior to joining LWK+PARTNERS in 2018 Leung worked with several international architecture firms, planning and designing large-scale commercial interior projects across Hong Kong, Macau, China, Southeast Asia and Australia.  

What are your strategic plans for the business?

LWK + PARTNERS is an international architecture, interior design and urban planning firm with 34 years of solid experience in delivering award winning projects to esteemed clients. Originally established in Hong Kong in 1985, we now have 11 studios throughout Asia and the Middle East, with 1000 multi-disciplinary staff and over 2000 projects under our belt.

The addition of the Singapore office is a strategic step in further strengthening LWK’s global position in the market. Our big goal is to extend LWK’s footprint and help promote our brand across South East Asia region, covering LWK’s full range of services. Large-scale real estate developments are ideal opportunities for us to offer our design and architectural services and grow LWK + PARTNERS’s portfolio internationally.

We are looking at establishing LWK + PARTNERS as a global architecture firm. Our goal for the next two years would be to strengthen our presence in MENA and to grow strategically across South East Asia and its promising developing markets.

What are the main operational challenges you face in Singapore?

Launching a new regional office comes with many inevitable challenges. While our HK and China studios have worked with some of Asia’s most prestigious developers, we are not expecting any free rides here in Singapore and we know that we need to prove ourselves in this market. Singapore is a small and competitive market where the industry relies on existing long-term partners for architecture services while MENA is still very welcoming towards new players. That being said, we benefit from a strong reputation in Asia Pacific - thanks to our directors and large clients portfolio , which makes it easier for us to approach prospective clients.

What projects are your currently working on?

Our MENA office is currently working on a massive bridge project that is destined to cross Dubai Creek and which will be 380m long and 60m high. The intention for the Hanging Garden Bridge was not to create just a practical structure over a body of water but to make it a destination in itself. Our architects were inspired by the hanging gardens of Babylon and designed a “living” bridge covered with plants and trees. Dubai is renowned for its spectacular structure and buildings and we hope our bridge will contribute to enhancing the city’s unique architectural landscape.

What are the current trends in retail design?

With the rise of millennials, retail brands are facing an urgent need to adapt in order to survive. Social consciousness and environmentally friendly products are now at the centre of concerns. This extends to both brands’ products and to stores and the environment where shopping is done, which needs to reflect the brand’s involvement. Developing innovative shopping centres with a sustainable mindset that both keep attracting visitors and creating deep meaningful spaces for human interaction are our main focus points. Shoppers nowadays tend to be more driven by experiences. This has forced retail stores and malls to come up with immersive experiences that are not necessarily meant to drive a purchase but simply to attract and retain visitors. We design malls with this in mind and the last to date was K11 Musea. The entire complex was thought as an experience with plenty of Instagrammable and interactive sights meant to generate traffic.

The current trend of experiential retail will keep on gaining strength as consumers are becoming more demanding and no longer satisfied by brick and mortar outlets. The use of virtual reality, augmented reality and connected objects within the stores will become mandatory to stay competitive and attract prospects. Architects and designers will have to adapt and learn how to include seamlessly all these elements within their concepts.

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