The 5 Most Popular Asian Designers in 2021
These influential Asian designers, ranked according to Google search data, are making a mark internationally
In the design industry, becoming an overnight success is a rather rare feat. It takes years of hard work, grit, and delivering designs that push boundaries.
A report released by Radiance Fireplaces has analysed Google’s search data to identify the most influential designers that are currently topping the search engine’s ranks. Today’s most well-known designers and architects in Asia have crafted some of the most enviable interiors and produced stunning designs worldwide. While each of them has their specific design approaches and narrative, these prominent designers and architects are definitely landing their mark in the industry, taking the world by storm with their craft.
Here, we’ve listed the top five most popular designers and architects in Asia, according to Google search:
Topping the list with 10,800 yearly searches is Hong Kong-based interior architect André Fu. Known for his “relaxed luxury” design ethos that reflects beauty and warmth with refined sophistication, the hospitality designer leads his intentionally-acclaimed namesake practice to craft some of the most luxurious hotels worldwide.
This includes one of Hong Kong’s most exclusive hotels, The Upper House—also the project where Fu made his debut in luxury hospitality—as well as The Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Bangkok and the dining venues at the Shangri-la Hotel in Tokyo.
Capella Singapore, which recently underwent a year-long renovation by André Fu Studio (Image: Courtesy of Capella Singapore)
Louise restaurant in Hong Kong, designed by André Fu and his studio team (Photo: Mitchell Geng)
A bedroom suite at Upper House Hong Kong, where André Fu played a key role with its design (Image: Courtesy of Upper House Hong Kong)
In Singapore, Fu is the creative eye behind many illustrious hotels here, which include Andaz Singapore, The Fullerton Bay Hotel, and the recent renovation of Capella Singapore.
The 2016 Maison&Objet Asia’s Designer of the Year is not one to rest on his laurels; he has also stepped into the world of product design by creating a unique chair for Louis Vuitton’s Objets Nomads collection, as well as launching André Fu Living (AFL)—a collection of lifestyle products reflects his signature modern style.
Design maven Joyce Wang crafts interiors that take people on a unique journey throughout the space; she cites her nomadic upbringing and love for travel as the key behind her storytelling approach. Pulling in 9,600 yearly searches, the talented award-winning designer founded her eponymous studio in 2011.
The interiors of a private Hong Kong residence, designed by Wang and her firm (Image: Courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio)
The penthouse suite of London's Mandarin Oriental hotel in Hyde Park, designed by Wang and her firm (Image: Courtesy of Joyce Wang Studio)
Based in Hong Kong and London, Wang and her team have garnered an international presence in the industry; the studio’s repertoire includes luxury residences such as Shanghai’s three-storey Xintiandi penthouse as well as hospitality spaces such as Hong Kong’s Mott 32 restaurant and the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park hotel in London.
Wang’s notable projects also include bespoke furniture designs that capture her bold ideas and fascination with materials; her Flint homeware collection explores the potential of terrazzo, while the Rare Table Collection presents marble as slabs of raw meat to celebrate the material’s natural and physical qualities.
Born in Lebanon, West Asia, with an Armenian heritage, Chahan Minassian is renowned for his discerning eye for detail and keen design acumen. Besides designing striking interiors, the multifaceted designer is also an antique dealer and gallery director. Ranking third with 8,400 yearly searches, the former Ralph Laure creative director for Europe is known for his timeless design signature that consists of clean lines, historical references, and a balanced mixture of light, texture, and rare art collections.
A private house by the lake in Geneva, designed by Chahan Minassian (Image: Courtesy of Chahan Interior Design)
A corporate executive office overlooking Central Park in New York, designed by Chahan Minassian (Image: Courtesy of Chahan Interior Design)
Minassian moved to Paris in 1976, whilst keeping an international agenda with his designs. Besides working on showrooms in New York, lakeside houses in Geneva and country houses in Quebec, the designer has also designed private residential homes for clients in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
The fourth on the list with 7,200 yearly searches is Taiwanese-American interior designer Tony Chi, renowned for his stunning designs that elicit a sense of authenticity. Since the founding of his New York-based design practice Tonychi Studio in 1984, the design maverick has risen as one of the most prominent names in the design industry worldwide.
Chi launched the start of his prestigious career by designing restaurants; he quickly earned a reputation for his expertise at balancing understated luxury with ultimate comfort whilst paying homage to a place and its people and culture. This soon led Chi and his team to craft dining establishments for the likes of celebrated chefs Wolfgang Puck and Alain Ducasse.
The lounge area at Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore’s new East Wing, designed by tonychi studio (Image: Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore)
The Rose Bronze Gallery at Rosewood London, designed by Tony Chi (Photo: Durston Saylor, via Rosewood London)
The dining room of Andaz Tokyo hotel, also designed by Tony Chi (Photo: Michael Moran, via Andaz Tokyo)
However, the designer is best known for his designs in the luxury hospitality industry. His extensive portfolio includes brands from the Hyatt group such as Andaz Tokyo and the Grand Hyatt in Chengdu, China, as well as the Rosewood Hotels in London and Hong Kong. Closer to home, Chi also recently designed the new East Wing of Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore.
Fifth on the list is Lee Kwangho, who is one of the most prominent names in the South Korean design scene. Known for his creative contemporary product designs that are handcrafted from everyday materials, Lee weaves traditional techniques into the creative process to create eye-catching modern pieces.
His most iconic work to date is perhaps his chairs and lamps that double as eye-catching art pieces. Crafted from materials like leather, PVC tubing from garden hoses, and even electrical cables, the unique pieces reimagine what one can do with humble materials. The Korean designer, who’s a fan of exploring form and function, has also experimented with enameled copper works and 3D printing.
Often credited for revitalising the design movement in Korea, Lee was also named the artist of the year in 2011 by the Korean Ministry of Culture. Besides product design, he has also crafted the interiors of Seoul-based tea house Osulloc and collaborated with luxury fashion labels like Fendi, Bottega Veneta, and Swarovski.