Industrial designer is Young Woman Achiever


Ms Olivia Lee, 33, was named one of the eight most promising designers at the renowned Salone del Mobile Milano furniture exhibition in Italy in April 2017.
Ms Olivia Lee, 33, was named one of the eight most promising designers at the renowned Salone del Mobile Milano furniture exhibition in Italy in April 2017.ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

A local industrial designer who earned widespread praise at a prestigious furniture fair last year was named this year's Young Woman Achiever by women's magazine Her World.

Ms Olivia Lee, 33, shot to prominence after being named one of the eight most promising designers at the renowned Salone del Mobile Milano furniture exhibition in Italy in April last year.

She received the award from Mr Loh Yew Seng, chief executive officer of Singapore Press Holdings Magazines, at a gala dinner at the Shangri-La Hotel last night.

Ms Lee, who founded her own design company Olivia Lee, said she was humbled by the award, and was stunned when she received the news. "I believe this is an important message for little girls everywhere - that hopes and dreams come in different sizes, and that all of them are attainable," she said of her win.

Businesswoman Jennie Chua, who headed the committee of seven judges to select the award recipients, said Ms Lee demonstrated her capability with her strong reputation overseas, having showcased her work in Milan, Berlin and Tokyo.

Ms Chua said: "Her knack of incorporating a sense of playful wonder into her work, as well as her ability to seamlessly combine form and function, is what makes her stand out."

For Ms Lee, the award comes as a welcome validation of her efforts, having worked to establish herself in the traditionally male-dominated industry. On rare occasions, she has been on the receiving end of sexist comments.

 

"Like many renowned and respected women in design, both in the past and present, we want our work to speak for itself, and we do not want it to be defined by our gender," said Ms Lee.

"But at the same time, we are women. And, that is something special we should never deny."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 25, 2018, with the headline 'Industrial designer is Young Woman Achiever'. Print Edition | Subscribe