Faces of Foshan

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Daniela Meira

Architect & Interior Designer - Director, PI Works

What makes Foshan unique to an architect as a city in comparison to other cities around the world?

Since you started working in China, what changes did PI Works undergo and how have you grown with these changes?

As an experienced international architect, how important was it to adapt your approach since you started working in Foshan?


What makes Foshan unique to an atchitect as a city in comparison to other cities around the world?

 Although some first-tier cities, such as Shanghai are famous for their architecture studios, the market has become quite saturated. Foshan, on the other hand has fewer architecture studios, while still being a very big city located in the world’s biggest consumer market – the PRD with it’s 65 million consumers. When I moved to Foshan, I was impressed with the speed of the city and the wide range of projects which clients requested – from high-rise hotels, huge landscape projects to medium and smallerretails, showrooms and workspaces.

 Since you started working in China, what changes did PI Works undergo and how have you grown with these changes?

 I was the first foreigner hired by the company, initially hired as an architect and interior designer. At that moment, the company just started doing work in architecture and interior design, but our clients soon liked our work and in only 3 months we had doubled the amount of projects and I was promoted to be the creative director in charge of the whole department. Now, we are doing a lot of work in interior design, facades, urban planning, villas and other projects. I had to learn quickly how to manage my local team, sell to the client and manage their expectations, so it was an interesting journey! 

As an experienced international architect, how important was it to adapt your approach since you started working in Foshan? 

I believe that architects shouldn’t blindly follow international trends, but design spaces for the place and the people who will inhabit it. If you visit Paris, you want to see architecture which says something about the place and it’s culture, and the same should go for Foshan. When we build in a certain place, we as architects have a responsibility to understand the place, the culture and it’s people to build spaces which will preserve the identity of the place. China has a strong and beautiful culture, and I am learning more and more about it’s elements, fengshui and using it in my projects. Architecture should be alive, with character! We must be careful not to create beautiful, but shallow spaces without identity.