Outside In | No Borders - Tim Kwan

Outside In | No Borders is a D.Cast series where we explore the lives, perspectives, and reflections of a diverse range of New Zealand designers who live and work overseas.

In this instalment of Outside in | No Borders, Brendan Jarvis PDINZ, the Managing Founder of The Space InBetween speaks to Tim Kwan.

Tim is the co-founder of Office AIO, an award-winning interdisciplinary design practice that is based in Beijing, China. We get insights into what its like living and working overseas, Tim's background, practice and future plans.

Office AIO offers clients architecture, interior design, and customised objects of desire.

Lately, the practice has been on a rapid ascent, winning numerous global awards, including at the INSIDE awards, Bar Lotus - Dezeen Awards, Restaurant and Bar design awards, and Architizer A+ Awards.

Before starting Office AIO with his spouse, Isabelle, Tim and Isabelle ran a floral design business in Beijing called Florette, which quickly became the go-to supplier for luxury brands like Cartier, De Beers, Rolls-Royce and Prada.

Winding the clock back a little, Tim’s connection to New Zealand began in 1991 at the age of 8, after his family migrated here from Hong Kong.
In 2006 Tim graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Auckland, with a first-class honours degree.

As a fresh graduate he went to work at Moller Architects, one of New Zealand's most respected architectural firms.

And after a few years a new opportunity knocked.
In 2010, Tim took a leap of faith and moved to China to work for HOK, a global design, architecture and engineering firm. 

There he was an architectural design specialist, drawing everything from the headquarters of China’s largest bank to a 5-star resort on a man-made island.

In this episode...
- What’s been influential in the evolution of your design practice?
- How has your perspective on design changed since living overseas?
- What’s surprised you about the recognition you’ve been receiving?
- What change is coming that New Zealand designers need to understand?
- What career challenges have you faced as an Asian New Zealand designer?

Plus much more!

Listen below to hear more about Tim's journey and how he got to where he is today.
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DINZ Interviews

When the opportunity arises, DINZ interviews leading designers from here and overseas. These interviews seek to dig beneath the surface to address the common and uncommon challenges, problems and opportunities the design community faces.