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“An architecture that makes you feel more at home in the world”: Meet your 2024 INDE Luminaries

Woven Image proudly partners our industry’s most prestigious honour with Luminaries Brit Andresen and Colin Seah.

“An architecture that makes you feel more at home in the world”: Meet your 2024 INDE Luminaries

Vanke Triple V Gallery, Edward Hendricks.

For the past seven years, the INDE.Awards has reached an annual crescendo with an award that is bestowed onto those who have created a legacy that renders them an immortal of design. Aptly named ‘The Luminary’, the award marks the true greats of our industry, elevating those stalwarts of architecture, interior and product design who have forged a legacy around the Indo-Pacific.

2024 marks the second consecutive year the Luminary category has been partnered by Woven Image, and the sixth year of the brand’s involvement in the INDE.Awards. As a brand committed to excellence in their own product range, the alignment to the Luminary creates a continuity built from the recognition of authentic and considered design that rises to meet needs right across our communities, our geographies, and our social contexts.

Two of this year’s award recipients, as platformed through Indesign Magazine, are Brit Andresen and Colin Seah, both creatives who have influenced design in their home countries and beyond.

Brit Andresen

Brit Andresen is an architect who has developed and shaped architectural ideas through her words and designs. Born in Norway, Andresen spent much of her childhood travelling the globe with her family, where such an early exposure to dramatically different landscapes and cultures fostered a love for environments both built and natural.

Brit Andresen, photograph by Anthony Browell.

As an undergraduate, Andresen initially studied mathematics in England before returning to Norway to enrol in architecture. Much of her early career was spent exploring the typologies of public and mass housing, and the new and radical ideas in this space coming out of Europe in the 1950s and 1960s. Academic studies in this space led to an invitation to lecture at the School of Architecture in Cambridge, where she later taught in the design studio with Barry Gasson, who collaborated with her (and later John Meunier) on an international, two-stage design competition for a new gallery in Glasgow.

Sedimentary Subtropical Brisane, First City, John Gollings.

After their winning design was paused indefinitely in 1976, Andresen accepted a teaching position in Australia at the University of Queensland. What was due to be a short-term tenure turned into a life-long move, as Andresen met fellow faculty member Peter O’Gorman, who became her husband and practice partner (at the eponymous Andresen O’Gorman Architects) for the next 30 years.

Burrell Collection Art Gallery, Lindsay Johnston.

In both her practice and teaching, Andresen looks for the chance to extend an appreciation of qualities in the landscape and the wider setting. She considers the land and context to be among the most important aspects to consider when designing. She explains: “Whether it’s a house or an art gallery, a unit block or some other shelter, it’s a matter of strengthening the relationships between the building and its surroundings to offer an experience of ‘where you are’ and ‘what you belong to’ as a part of a bigger geography, topography and ecology.”

Over the years, this approach has produced incredible and iconic work, including Mooloomba House (1997), Ocean View Farmhouse (1995), Moreton Bay House (2001) and Moonshine (2018), as well as projects including the Sedimentary City design research project (in collaboration with Mara Francis), which has been presented in different iterations at the second International Urban Design Conference, the 12th International Architecture Biennale in the Australian Pavilion, and as a prize-winner in the international design competition for CAPITheticAL in 2013. In 2002, Andresen was the first female recipient of the prestigious Gold Medal, the Royal Australian Institute of Architects’ highest honour.

Reflecting on architecture as a practice, Andresen says, “I value expressing how one can live with the site and the environment, raising the question of how much space does one need and what is the most beautiful way that one can achieve that?” She also notes that “an architecture that makes you feel more at home in the world and at one with the place – I suppose that’s what continues to fascinate me.”

Ocean View House.

Colin Seah

As the Founder and Director of Design at Ministry of Design (MOD), Colin Seah has made an indelible imprint on the built landscape of Singapore and beyond. He advocates for exemplary ingenuity on every level and the proof is a burgeoning portfolio of projects that span the breadth of architecture, landscape, interiors, masterplans, signage, product, graphics, art curation and installation, plus brand strategy.

Colin Seah.

Anyone familiar with Seah will understand that the variety of his work is an echo of his character, and the product of an early love of photography and the theatre. It was at 24 that Seah decided to pursue architecture, as a more permanent and tangible way to create and memorialise spaces and worlds of his own. His studies at the University of Arizona in the United States were integral in helping define and develop his ideas of architecture and life, and saw him land a summer internship with OMA as well as positions with the LA architect, Kate Diamond, and later with Rebecca L Binder’s studio.

New Majestic Hotel, Rory Daniels.

In 2000, Seah followed his heart back to Singapore, where he taught architecture at the national university, and reestablished his roots by marrying and renovating his first home. This home changed the trajectory of Seah’s career, after a dinner guest and burgeoning hotelier fell in love with the space and offered Seah a role as the Interior Designer of his next project.

Vue Hotel, Edward Hendricks.

Sensing opportunity, Seah quit the academic life and founded MOD, working on The New Majestic Hotel and, in doing so, changed the direction of hospitality design in Singapore forever. The success of this project saw other commissions follow, with MOD working across typologies including hospitality, residential, commercial, workplace and retail.

UOL Edge Gallery, Edward Hendricks.

Accolades and awards continue to roll in for Seah and his team, including for the Citi Wealth Hub (winner of 11 international awards including The Workplace category at the 2022 INDE.Awards), YTL Headquarters (nine awards), and for VUE Hotel Houhai Beijing (13 awards).

Sho-U Restaurant, Edward Hendricks.

As a person, Colin Seah is down-to-earth and pragmatic, but he sees life through the prism of design where a vision is multifaceted and instinctive. His charm and humour are infectious, but it is the passion within that drives him to create projects that stand the test of time and sustain people and the environment.

Saporiti Luxury Tower, Ministry of Design.

“When I encounter situations, there’s always a very distinctive clarity in how it should be responded to,” he says. “And that’s almost like a vision or a clear voice that never wavers, despite changing circumstances. I think my best attribute is to solve, navigate and fit myself into the cracks where things have a particular challenge and then to respond in a way that is potentially the most appropriate or the most unique for them. I really enjoy doing that.”

The 2024 Luminaries will be formally recognised at the 2024 INDE.Awards.


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