Q&A with Goy Zhenru, Goy Architects: I find joy in supporting and empowering the local craft industries

Q&A with Goy Zhenru, Goy Architects: I find joy in supporting and empowering the local craft industries

Q&A with Goy Zhenru, Goy Architects: I find joy in supporting and empowering the local craft industries

Singapore took inspiration from Switzerland during its early nation-building years. How has your education in the European country (ETH Zurich) inspired you to be a better designer? 

Technically, it has taught me about the refinement of design; culturally, it has reignited my interest in regional crafts and vernacular knowledge. 

Why are you so keen on designing custom collections of furniture and decorative objects than purchasing them for your projects? 

We love the process of making, so when the opportunity arises to develop a piece of furniture inspired by the project brief or client, we jump at it. Other times, we are interested in a specific manufacturing method, for example, a wire brush technique on timber that only a few makers can do; we introduce them through our furniture. 

Which three designers, from the past or present, do you most admire? Why?

I admire Geoffrey Bawa for his sensitivity to the local context; Ilse Crawford for valuing the unmeasurable in design; and Peter Zumthor for his poetic posture towards architecture. 

What are your three favourite buildings in Southeast Asia?

Too many! The top three that pop into my head now are Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, The Tamarind Village hotel in Chiang Mai, and Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion in Penang. 

What would you say to our readers to encourage them to support vernacular architecture and craftsmanship more? 

I find joy in supporting and empowering the local craft industries, which, in a way, celebrates diversity and preserves our cultural heritage in the region. I also find knowledge in traditional building techniques that inspire me to design for more sustainable and contextually sensitive solutions.

Goy Zhenru is the Principal Architect of Goy Architects.

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