Wesley Liu, Founder and Creative Director of PplusP Creations Limited

One-third of the professional jury panel of BCI Interior Design Awards (IDA) 2023, Wesley is Founder and Creative Director of Hong Kong-based design firm PplusP Creations Limited. The firm specialises in producing high-quality and innovative solutions through the synthesis of interior design and project management. Wesley’s exceptional works have earned him numerous accolades from around the world, including the Best of Year Award and American MasterPrize in the United States; International Property Awards in the United Kingdom; as well as Design for Asia Award and Asia Pacific Interior Design Awards in Hong Kong.

Over the years, he has been actively involved in the design community. Presently, he is Vice Chairman of Hong Kong Interior Design Association (HKIDA); a Board Member of the Asia Pacific Space Designers Association (APSDA) and an associate member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

What does human-centred design mean to you as a multidisciplinary designer? How does this approach impact the interiority of built structures in the local AEC industry?
For me, human-centred design is apparently about the materials. The majority of the IDA 2023 entries are from Southeast Asia and I saw a significant difference in the use of materials between these regions and well-developed cities like Hong Kong. Raw materials such as bamboo, wood and cork were widely adopted in their projects, making the interior so close to nature and, hence, more human-centric. They also provide a warm and inviting aesthetic to interior spaces. Together with the considerations on forms and colour tones, these local projects are more like sculpture than carpentry.

Besides, this year’s IDA winning projects have demonstrated the blurred boundaries between the inside and outside. The smooth transition allows people to bring indoor living outside, which is not commonly seen in international cities. Same for Hong Kong—it is not easy to achieve this kind of human-centred design visually due to cultural and climatic differences. Instead, we local designers and architects can refer to the building standards of certifications like LEED and WELL to enhance people’s health and well-being as well as the environment and sustainability.  

The use of materials like wood and bamboo can make the interior closer to nature; image by PplusP Creations Limited

What on-trend technological tools and/or smart ideas play an integral part in ensuring the inside of new buildings functions as well as it looks?
Currently, the most popular smart design concept is automation, particularly in residential interior design projects. The indoor-outdoor temperature difference, which is often caused by the high usage of air-conditioning, could be incredibly destructive to the inside of buildings. Interior elements including tiles, wallpapers, fabric and wooden products will deteriorate easily under such conditions. With home automation, users can also control and adjust lights, curtains and air-conditioners as well as appliances, entertainment systems and home security systems. This could help sustain the interior environment with stable temperature and humidity, and bring convenience to daily life.

AI can automate various tasks but designers should not overly rely on it; image by ME Image/shutterstock

What are some of the biggest challenges facing the interior design industry today?
By no doubt, it’s artificial intelligence (AI). It can automate various tasks and provide abundant information and recommendations tailored to individual needs. Nevertheless, unless it could completely replace human creativity and design techniques, we should not entirely assign AI and other new technologies to do the job for us. There are always pros and cons to new things—the key lies in how you utilise and control them properly. This is also a matter of ethics, especially for paid designers. Our imagination, creative talents and experiences are irreplaceable, but an overreliance on AI technology could result in the loss of human influence.

This is an excerpt. The original article is published in
Construction+ Q3 2023 Issue: The inside of architecture/built structures.
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