Known for designing objects of beauty including a lipstick case for Shu Uemura and Singapore’s Suntec City, Tsao & McKown goes deep into design and architecture, blending them into meaningful outcomes, and rooted with a shared passion to help society, as revealed by co-founder Calvin Tsao.

What is your design philosophy or vision?

Our key approach is to have no preconceived notions. We try to start with a very blank slate every time and that’s why it does not lend itself to one style being developed. It can be redeveloped and evolved, and so each project is brand new on its own terms. What I think is special, perhaps, is that in our approach to design, we do not distinguish between interior design and architecture. For example, with The Master Collection, we were involved in the construction and interior design which is quite unusual for a design studio.

I also like to think that architects have a unique position. We are artists but also like shamans, witch doctors, hospitals, therapists, or even a personal coach. To draw out the best, we inhabit our clients’ or our patrons’ character, and then we create on their behalf, materials that we know more about that would best express their character.

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