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Olivia Lee: The Award-Winning Industrial Designer You Should Know

We go behind-the-scenes with noted industrial designer Olivia Lee, this year's winner of the long-running Her World Woman of The Year Award, and her innovative co-working space, Wonder Facility.

olivia lee

Co-working spaces are popping up faster than hipsters can be seen at them these days, but Wonder Facility bucks the overtly commercial nature of such start-ups – it caters specially to the artistically minded design set.

Founded by industrial designer/multi-disciplinary artist Olivia Lee, 32 (above), the 1,000-
sq-ft space opened in 2016 and is currently home to up-and-comers such as design studio Lanzavecchia + Wai, theatre writer Tan Jia Yee, and artist Clara Yee.

olivia lee

loat (2014), cast resin, lotus leaves, powder-coated steel

Recognising that there are creatives straddling genres of art, design and technology who are “drawn to co-working arrangements, yet prefer quieter and more settled environments”, Lee created Wonder Facility, located in an industrial building in Ubi. It’s probably the first of its kind founded by an independent designer – part office, part studio, while also a place for events and functioning as a community work space.

Through Lee’s innovative layout and use of racking systems (cost-effective, versatile and manoeuvrable) to create individual workstations, space can even be sectioned or opened up to host exhibitions and seminars.

olivia lee

The Marvellous Marble Factory (2015)

Before Wonder Facility, Lee had already worked with an impressive roster of clients such as Samsung, Aquascutum and LVMH, with her other personal projects often blurring the boundaries of art and design. Take The Marvellous Marble Factory, commissioned for Singaplural 2015, which saw her fashion real-looking “confections” out of inorganic substances such as granite and marble. Her aim? To subvert the function of marble (as a material) and provoke people to rethink the role of “authenticity” in consuming (figuratively speaking) a product.

olivia lee

The Marvellous Marble Factory (2015)

Lee’s experimental streak continues with her participation in Milan Design Week 2017 – the design world’s equivalent of Fashion Week.

 

This story first appeared in Female‘s January 2017 issue.

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