Q&A: Dajiang Tai

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The designer receiving his award at the 2014 Interior Awards ceremony.

The designer receiving his award at the 2014 Interior Awards ceremony. Image: Duncan Innes

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Last year's Emerging Design Professional Award winner, Dajiang Tai.

Last year’s Emerging Design Professional Award winner, Dajiang Tai. Image: Supplied

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Tai's past projects include Timber Office (left) and Ortolana restaurant (right).

Tai’s past projects include Timber Office (left) and Ortolana restaurant (right). Image: Jeremy Toth

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ArchitectureNow chats with 2014 Emerging Design Professional award winner ahead of this year's Interior Awards.

ArchitectureNow: What have you been working on since we last caught up?

Dajiang Tai: I’ve finished the lower deck of City Works Depot, re-created the entire ground floor and public spaces at 46 Parnell Road – including the refurbishment at ground floor lobby and upper floor tenancies of the building. I’m currently working within two heritage buildings on Tyler Street at Britomart (we at Cheshire Architects just finished the base-building end of that project last year). In the weekends I work on a small online publication that talks about cities, architecture and the profession, craftsmen in Auckland, and also on a comic book that I told the judges about in the Interior Award presentation.

ArchitectureNow: How has the award win affected your work?

DT: Wining the award has reinforced the way that I work, my approach to architecture, and I gained a lot of confidence in the way that I present my work. These are the things that are fundamental for me to trust my own judgment and be able to create more interesting spaces with confidence. At the same time I now work in a more efficient manner. Winning the award also gave great exposure to my work, especially in the local Chinese community… and this has meant a lot to me.

ArchitectureNow: What was your experience of taking part in the Interior Awards, and what did you think about the live presentation part?

DT: Interior Awards was a very well-organised award program which was heavily contested, one had to treat the award with great seriousness.

I liked the live presentation a lot. There is something special about seeing the work and the person presenting it at the same time with the judges, you feel much more engaged. It was a great moment when me and colleague Emily Priest went back to the office after the presentation and saw everyone squeezed in front of one computer with the speaker turned on full, ready to give you a hug. It felt like you just presented your work to a much wider audience.

ArchitectureNow: What would you say to your peers who are thinking about entering the Interior Awards in 2015?

DT: Go for it and do not hold back. 

ArchitectureNow: Where do you keep your trophy and what did you spend the prize money on?

DT: The trophy is displayed on my drawing board at home beside pens and paper.
With the money I remember buying two big tree pots, and two indoor fig trees that are standing in my living room at the moment. They have grown a lot since then.

To enter the 2015 Interior Awards, click here.

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