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5 Minutes with… Chris Lee

Asylum’s founder and creative director tells his plans for 2013.

5 Minutes with… Chris Lee


February 13th, 2013

Singapore-based Asylum, led by Chris Lee, is a multidisciplinary studio with more than 100 international awards under its belt, including Singapore’s prestigious President’s Design Award, which Lee took home in 2009.

What projects will you be busy with this year?

It’s still early in the year but we are seeing a myriad different projects in 2013. For branding we are currently working on a very prestigious art museum that will open in 2015. We are also working with a hotelier in Jakarta to create something exciting. For interior projects, we have started designing a multi-storey bar and our first high-end Chinese restaurant!



Johnnie Walker House, Shanghai

Is there a work resolution you hope to keep in 2013?

Keeping the balance right – we always balance between commercial and non-commercial work. Non-commercial work include art projects or self-initiated projects that can benefit society.

Describe your studio.

Our studio does serious work, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.



Flamingo Office, Shanghai

Name your top 3 influences.

Vaughan Oliver, Herzog & De Meuron and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

What’s your dream project – real or imaginary?

I would love to create and curate an art museum one day. That way I can be surrounded by art without owning them!

Who would be a dream person to collaborate with?

Herzog & De Meuron.



Kaiseki Yoshiyuki and Horse’s Mouth, Singapore

Tell us your number one concern for the design scene in Singapore.

There are too many graduates every year and the industry is unable to absorb these young designers. We should reduce the number and have better quality instead.


Hublot’s first pop-up store, Singapore

What’s the most interesting thing about the way you work?

We brief in every project to a graphic designer, an interior designer and a digital designer. Ideas could come from any of these disciplines and the collaboration makes our work unpredictable and interesting.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without in your studio?

Wine and whisky!


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