Meet the Dynamic Duo Behind This Architecture Firm That’s Slowly Making Waves in Los Angeles and Singapore
Today, OWIU Design is a holistic brand that goes beyond offering design services. It has an Inflexion Builds construction arm with its own carpentry shop and fabrication lab that does their LA projects. This allows them to control the quality of projects and better manage budgets.
It’s a slightly different scenario for their projects in Singapore, where they still rely on construction companies as the most cost-effective model.
“The advantage is that the responsibility is not on us, but sometimes it will be insufficient in terms of quality,” Gunawan said. That said, she appreciates the efficiency of Singapore, where the speed of construction and obtaining permits is much faster. “In LA, because labor is so expensive, there’s no idling so [work is] back to back,” she said.
They also launched OWIU Goods, which offers ceramic pieces. “I decided our studio needed to do something outside of architecture, so I got a ceramics subscription for everyone. We were producing a ton of ceramics and started selling them. Our customers wanted to order them for their homes, so we started offering services,” Gunawan said.
OWIU Design’s multifaceted service offerings are part of the company’s long-term goal of building a recognizable and respected brand. They dabbled in home development to test ideas on their own terms.
After Biscuit Loft, Wong and Gunawan purchased a home as the next iteration of their case study homes as they call it, referencing the experimental case study homes commissioned by Arts + Architecture magazine in 1945 that have produced famous dwellings by architects such as Pierre Koenig and Richard. Neutral. They documented the processes in a book.