Gensler Voices: Asenath Yeung, Gensler San Jose

This Q&A is part of a series of interviews with Gensler architects, designers, and others in the firm about their career journey, and the impact that design and architecture can have on our communities and the human experience. Here, we sit down with Asenath Yeung, interior designer, Gensler San Jose:

What was your first introduction to the field of architecture and design?

I was introduced to the industry through an engineering drafting elective class in high school. It was the prerequisite to the architecture elective and involved lots of scaled drafting with the T-square and lead holder, the “old school” tools. We learned how to draw components and different hatch patterns. I fell in love with the details and intricacies. And when we moved into 3D modeling on the computer? I would daydream about orbiting the model while I was in all my other classes. I was deep, deep down this rabbit hole! I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

The most important thing I've learned as an architect/designer is...

Design is for everyone! All communities interact with architecture and interior spaces regularly. Therefore, it’s important for us, as designers, to be as forward-thinking, inclusive, and equitable as possible. Empathy goes a long way in our industry.

If you could choose anyone, who would you like to design a project for?

I would love to design a showroom for Steinway & Sons or Kawai. Music is a huge part of my life and I would love to showcase the beauty of pianos for musicians and non-musicians alike. Whenever I see a piano in a space, I’m always awestruck regardless of the manufacturer, size, or age. Now imagine expanding that energy into the entire space! The complexity that goes into building a piano could lend itself beautifully to a concept. Music and design are quite similar in the sense that they appeal to everyone in a unique way. The combination of technical and artistic qualities is quite thought-provoking. Also, my technical side is also itching to work with a lighting and acoustical consultant!

How has being a queer impacted your design work/point of view?

Being queer hasn’t impacted my design work per se, but I do try actively to create inclusive designs. As an Asian-American lesbian, I hear opinions from both communities on how design can be improved upon and what they seek in a space. By channeling and embodying their thoughts, I’m living up to their values and ensuring their voices are heard.

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