Sometimes, the best laid plans are swept aside by serendipitous opportunities—even for people who plan for a living. For Team HC’s co-founders, Clarence Chiang Jr. and Hannah Lee, the path to success has been a combination of being in the right place at the right time and their desire to produce meaningful architecture.
Clarence trained as an architect at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, while Hannah studied interior design at Pratt Institute, both in New York. They returned to Hong Kong in the early 1990s; while Clarence worked at Anthony Ng Architects and P2H Design Associates, Hannah gained valuable experience at SL+A Hotels Group and Leese Robertson Freeman Designers. The couple had mutual friends that introduced them in 1993 and they married in 1998. Soon afterwards, the two decided to become business partners as well.
Hannah and Clarence originally formed Team HC in 1998 while riding on the dot com wave, with a furniture sourcing website supported by their design and architecture practice. Today, their focus is on creating individualistic projects that personify their clients’ character, with meticulous attention to craftsmanship and a strong sense of place. They treat every job as if it was their baby and are very hands on, with a studio of talented people backing them up.
Team HC prides itself on bespoke and understated projects. The couple adores traveling, and they endeavor to comb the globe sourcing that perfect antique chair or one-of-a-kind pendant lamp that makes a space extraordinary. They practice sustainable design and believe that part of the process is to encourage clients to act more responsibly towards the environment.
While Hannah focuses on the micro aspect of projects such as fabrics, colors, finishes and details, Clarence looks at the big picture and handles planning, architecture and other macro duties. They are sensitive to the very Hong Kong concerns of fast track timelines, yet their creativity always yields excellent results. Their approach is to form long term partnerships with like-minded clients, with many becoming lifelong friends.
Clarence is a member of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, the American Institute of Architects (Hong Kong Chapter) and the Young Entrepreneurs Organization. The couple volunteers their design services to charitable organizations such as Bring Me a Book, to promote parents reading to their children, and Feng Zi Kai, an annual award recognizing children’s authors.