Foo Hsiang Hsien
Design & Material Coordinator at Denniston International Architects and Planners, 2009
Diploma in Product Design
To excel in the industrial design industry, you have to be hardworking, creative, confident and brave enough to try to explore new things.
31 July 2009
Driven by Design
Written by By Christine Chan
Foo Hsiang Hsien developed an interest in design from watching MANGA animated movies during his childhood. Today he has won multiple awards for his work in industrial design, including the Malaysia Good Design Mark and is working with clients from across the globe. He takes some time off to tell Christine Chan what it’s like being what he is, and what he thinks good design is.
“Wherever you go, you see things, you feel things, you experience things, and these are all part of design,” states Foo Hsiang Hsien.
These are the words that form the inspiration driving Foo Hsiang Hsien, an award-winning industrial designer and alumnus of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. Hsien graduated with a Diploma in Product Design in 2001, and has been continually recognized by the industry ever since, winning one award after another.
In 2008, Hsien was shortlisted by the British Council as one out of four Malaysian finalists in the International Young Design Entrepreneur (IYDE). Six years ago, upon his graduation, Hsien was nominated as the grand finalist for the Royal Society for encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce (RSA) – Student Design Award for a packaging design in the United Kingdom.
Wherever you go, you see things, you feel things, you experience things, and these are all part of design.
Hsien is currently working as Design & Material Coordinator at Denniston International Architects and Planners, which is a consulting firm of architects and designers dedicated to provide comprehensive services in the fields of lifestyle resort developments and planning, architecture, interior design and hardscape. All these allow Hsien to handle plenty of projects worldwide.
To date, most of his projects are executed internationally, with prominent ones coming in from New York, Mexico, Greece, Maldives and Shanghai, to name a few. “Denniston gives me the opportunity to broaden my scope and experience as an industrial designer,” explained Hsien.
Hsien’s job scope covers specifying materials and playing the role of advisor, working together with architects, interior designers, manufacturers, contractors and clients.
“I’m not only exposed to working on consumer products design, but I have a chance to move one step ahead by exploring new and innovative materials for designs. Architecture and interior design is similar to industrial design but in a wider scale, because it is like designing hundreds of items into one finished product.”
When it comes to getting a strong foundation and receiving practical training in industrial design, you can do no better than Limkokwing University.
Denniston is not the first firm that Hsien has worked in. After his graduation he joined multiple award-winning industrial design company Orcadesign Consultant, where he designed and serviced clients such as Motorola, Phillips and Hewlett Packard for several years.
When he left Orcadesign, Hsien decided to do freelance and succeeded in bagging two awards for Malaysian homegrown brands and himself under the Malaysia Good Design Mark in 2007. The winning designs were NeoGeo shoe organizer and Simple-Dimple’s shield lifestyle diaper bag.
On top of the education you can get, Limkokwing University also gives us a portal to allow us to network with people from all over the world and learn their cultures.
Hsien did his practical training in Sharp Electronics Malaysia, an experience that changed much of his personal outlook and gave him the experience needed to leap into the industry and meet the demands of the professional world.
When asked about the impact of his alma mater on his life, he says that, “when it comes to getting a strong foundation and receiving practical training in industrial design, you can do no better than Limkokwing University.”
“On top of the education you can get, Limkokwing University also gives us a portal to allow us to network with people from all over the world and learn their cultures.”
The experience in dealing, working and understanding people’s culture and lifestyle from across the globe certainly comes in handy for Hsien right now, whose work with his international clientele involves taking into consideration numerous factors such as material selection, styles, aesthetic values and diversified culture in different countries, and transforming them into architectural structures and designs.
“To excel in the industrial design industry, you have to be hardworking, creative, confident and brave enough to try to explore new things,” says Hsien, when asked for his advice to those who wish to join the industry.
Hsien also shares how he allows his imagination and creativity to work so he can continually think up innovative designs. “I always visualize many designs in my mind, do rough sketches whenever possible just in case I forget, and if time permits, I will design in detail,” he explains.
To me, a design which provides good commercial value is what makes good design. It helps to enhance the quality of life and the environment.
At the point of interview, Hsien is working on analyzing and proposing materials to be used for a resort development in Egypt. He says, “To me, a design which provides good commercial value is what makes good design. It helps to enhance the quality of life and the environment.”
Hsien hopes to start a design firm of his own in the future and his ambition is to take Malaysia’s industrial design to an international level.