“The only way is up”—that’s the forward-thinking motto of Los Angeles-based firm OWIU Design; its name is an acronym of that creative maxim. “We believe it is our duty to make sure that a space is not just built to last, but also built to evolve with its inhabitant,” says Amanda Gunawan, who co-founded the firm with her partner Joel Wong.
The duo met in Singapore—Indonesia-born Gunawan was raised in the city-state from a young age, while Wong is Singaporean—and they both studied at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in the US.
They established OWIU Design in 2018 after a year spent working at Morphosis Architects. “We chose Los Angeles as our base as we felt like there is a very strong and supportive creative community. There are also a lot of opportunities from the design and build aspects,” explains Wong. The firm notably worked on a recent home renovation for actor Henry Golding in Los Angeles.
The firm has worked on projects spanning from cafes to luxury homes, some of which belong to celebrity clients. In Singapore, the studio transformed the interior of the office lobby for ADDP Architects and has also designed the interiors of dining venues for hospitality group Proper Concepts, which include Rappu Handroll Bar, Mezcla and GOHO Kaiseki.