tonkin liu
architecture landscape sculpture

how we work

Direct yet conceptual. Provocative and engaging. Design & illustration for brands, publications, and people.

We apply a refined set of principles to each and every project to ensure our work is consistently exemplary. Each is based upon lessons learnt from nature. Collectively, these principles form the pillars of our practice.


1. Storytelling

Nature gives us enigmatic and enduring forms like the flower, tree, mountain and sea. We aspire for our projects to be equally admired and long-lasting. To achieve this, we develop a simple story to bring conceptual clarity to each of our projects. Through storytelling we uncover the potentials of a project, speculate upon what it can become, and discover how best to make it real. We call this unique methodology ‘Asking, Looking, Playing, Making’. Time and time again successful stories translate into successful projects.


2. Technical innovation

Nature demonstrates awe-inspiring ingenuity through the evolution of form. We look to match this ingenuity by placing particular emphasis of the technical development of each project. To do so we return to first principles and leave no stone unturned in search of the optimal design solution. We embrace the power of the computer and the potential of new fabrication techniques to aid the imaginative invention of truly innovative works of architecture and art.


3. The most from the least

Nature demonstrates both flamboyance and economy. We believe efficiency is an expression of design excellence and so we look to use the least to make the most. We strive for no wastage of materials, energy, or space. Through inventive construction methods, intelligent design detailing, and structural ingenuity, we transform inexpensive materials into works of consummate craftsmanship.


4. Capturing light

Nature reaffirms our primal attraction to light. Light signifies warmth and human gathering, it marks the passage of time, and brings materials to life. Its absence can be equally exciting and captivating. We carefully curate and control light through form and material to maximise the joy it brings to the spaces it spills and fills.


5. Families of parts

Nature is founded upon families that share similarities but also host varying attributes to suit a particular purpose. We use families of similar parts that adapt to different situations, to offer multiplicity within a controlled order. In this way we can directly reflect complex patterns of activities.


6. Integrating systems

Nature provides many examples of responsive systems that cleverly adapt to widely varying conditions. In looking to do the same, we design integrated systems that seamlessly accommodate the social, structural, and environmental needs of each project. The system is a robust framework that enables each project to develop and adapt to its complex parameters without compromising the quality of the design. This holistic approach ensures each project is tailored to the people that use it, the place it is cited, and the culture that surrounds it.