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What Makes A Space Beautiful: William Ti

Architect William Ti believes that the human presence is the essence of beauty in a space

You look around and see beauty everywhere, in all types of forms. As such, we can say that the word “beauty” is deeply personal, intent to adapt to how we perceive things. Someone’s work of art could pinch your heart like a love you’ve long yearned for, or the company you keep could be the constant inspiration that colors your everyday life. Beauty is in every space-- in different shapes and sizes, in an array of bright and somber and matte and vivid hues, in stillness and in movement—that your eyes absorb and reflect into. 

As intimate as its meaning is, we braved and questioned several designers on  “What makes a space beautiful?” as we celebrate beauty this month—a series of anecdotes from the experts in the industry that explains the point of the matter. 

In their line of work, creating a “work of beauty” is essential. But outside of it, how do they really see its significance? How do they incorporate it in their lives? What do they consider as beautiful? These, and a number of breathtaking visuals of their personal masterpieces will introduce to you the kind of beauty that reflects from their very eyes.

Today, WTA Architecture and Design Studio’s William Ti explains how the presence of people is essential in how beauty blooms in a space.

For you, what makes a space beautiful?

“I believe that people make a space beautiful. Spaces that delight and bring joy, spaces that uplift, spaces that tell a story and instill a memory; these spaces are beautiful because they are full of life and become part of our lives.

How do you incorporate beauty in design in your everyday life?

“I try to go through my everyday life in search of beautiful ideas and stories. I fill my days with all sorts of narratives and information whether they be books or videos or lively discussions with brilliant minds. The most beautiful things only exists in fleeting moments and so I go through my days trying to set myself up to have these moments cross my path. In a way I am designing my day to best have the opportunity to capture these beautiful moments.”

When do you say that a design is beautiful? 

“I believe that design must show its intent and have a good rational foundation. Beauty must have a sense of purpose and be definable. I do not have any requirements for beauty, rather I believe the most beautiful things in fact come as pleasant surprises. Unexpected changes and ideas that break the mold are the most beautiful if only because they present the thrill of a new experience.”

What is one work of yours that you consider as most beautiful? Why? 

“I have a quixotic mind that believes our most beautiful projects are the ones on our drawing boards, and when those get built, then the next one, in turn, becomes the most beautiful. Certain projects however have an impact beyond the immediate. One project,called The Book Stop Project marked the start of our explorations into social architecture and continue to define how we develop our ideas. It has opened a whole new world for us to explore and consider as we try to redefine how architecture can better affect our communities.

How has your perception of beauty changed through the years?

“Beauty has evolved from the material to the abstract idea, from ornamentation to cold austerity, to irrational expression and calculated precision. I am delighted that the information age has allowed us to explore various ideas simultaneously and has prevented the dominance of any single aesthetic. Perhaps beauty today is best defined by its rich diversity and our embrace of varying perspectives. Beauty and design itself has become more experiential and less mandated. It has become a democratic expression of individual ideas.”

What is a beautiful thing that has inspired you?

“I find beauty in seeing human agency. There is something poignantly beautiful in the way that life ebbs and flows in our communities, in the fragility and audacity of human endeavors. It informs my work and sensibilities by defining for me what it means to be of our own time and place and yet reinforce the undeterrable certainty of progress and change. Life will always keep moving and we can only try to frame and accommodate the beauty of existence.”

In the gallery below, see what architect William Ti finds most beautiful: