Jacqueline Chak

Co-founder of Editecture, re- EDIT and Edit Academy

What do you think sets you apart in such a competitive and male-dominated industry?

Specifically, it would be women’s intricate and more detailed mind. I believe we have a more softhearted and emotional perspective to see things and communicate with others. Maybe a bit more sentimental, but we can bring more emotions to projects, though I’m still figuring out if that’s beneficial or not. 

Can you share a specific moment in your career that empowered you to keep doing what you like?

About 10 years ago, I posed a question on better ways to deal with wastage, specifically ways to reuse or recycle temporary structures or pop-ups. At that time, three contractors and two clients (all male) told me that idea was silly and nonsense. 

After 10 years of exploring ideas, gathering materials and learning through experiences, we managed to find our own answer! We are now able to do projects more sustainably, and be able to donate over 100 pieces of furniture that would have been discarded traditionally.

As a female interior designer and entrepreneur, have you faced any challenges in your career? How did you overcome them?

I don’t think there have been any significant challenges. Perhaps it is communicating with contractors, which is a male oriented industry, and going to site construction because it demands certain toughness physically. 

How does being a woman influence your design philosophy and approach?

I believe that nothing is impossible for a woman. We can do anything we wish, and our expertise is multitasking. 

My design philosophy is to stay passionate, doing more than I am asked to, and giving more than what is expected. That is how we keep the fire in our hearts to make every project interesting and fun. Recent years I’ve also managed to do more to bridge the gap between our commercial clients and our community by focusing on the underserved sector in the city. It’s important for me to give back to our community. 

What sparked your pursuit in sustainability projects?

The message about 2050, when there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean. I really hope the next generation can still have the chance to swim freely among fishes and other sea creatures, but sadly they’re facing the consequences from our overconsumption. That’s why I want to teach them about sustainability through Edit Academy, to share with them the learnings we gained from our working experience. No one person or one entity can solve the world’s problem, it will take the whole world to come together, therefore on the commercial side we try to provide our clients with more sustainable solutions. I hope to direct our focus and energy on what we can do, through small efforts, to build a more circular future and a better world.

How do you balance your unique design style with client’s preferences?

It is important to respect clients’ point of view and preferences, but I will not hesitate to share my design perspective, experience and knowledge on materials with them. That is also the reason why they commission me to work on projects together. 

Have you had any influential female mentors or role models in your journey?

It will be the two Michelles, Michelle Obama and Michelle Yeoh. Both have shone through a male-dominated industry and been able to do what they achieved. Meanwhile they have never stopped supporting and empowering other women. There is also Zaha Hadid as an architect role model. In her generation it was even harder for a woman to establish herself among all the male architects. She did it with passion, hard work and persistence to gain the status and respect that she deserved. 

How do you motivate yourself to keep doing better and become a role model for younger generations?

This is a super good question. It is a question I ask myself over and over again. As a woman, we get a few emotional days every month by nature, and I am quite affected by that. I will always reflect and ask myself if I am doing what I love, because if so then it is already a blessing and motivation to achieve more. I will also question myself if there is anything else that I would rather do, and if not, I should stay the course and keep fighting. My goal and mission in life is to make a small positive impact on the world, and be able to inspire younger generations. I will stay passionate and positive until I have achieved that goal.

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