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Chooake Wongwattanasilpa Architect Design Image Credit: d+a
Chooake Wongwattanasilpa Architect Design Image Credit: d+a

What Architects Do

What is design thinking? Chooake Wongwattanasilpa is a subject matter expert who sheds light on it and draws parallels with what architects do.

Low Shi Ping

These days, it seems like the words “design thinking” are on everyone’s lips.

According to design firm IDEO, it “encourages organisations to focus on the people they’re creating for and leads to human-centred products, services, and internal processes”.

One organisation that is an advocate of it is DBS Bank. Five years ago, it hired Chooake Wongwattanasilpa to helm the user experience and design division, which employs the concept as its main tool to solve problems particularly in the online space.

Under his charge, the department has burgeoned from two to 50 today – illustrating the importance of design thinking to the bank.

“It is about how things work and how people feel when they interact with something,” says Chooake, who also spoke on the subject at the Design Education Summit organised by the Design Singapore Council in November last year.

“We have a step-by-step process where we discover, define, design and develop.”

If all this sounds familiar, it is.

Chooake says there are parallels to be drawn between design thinking and the design process for the built environment.

“Architects have a mood board to express how their ideas will look and feel, and they use floor plans to show how a space is used.

“We do the same. We have wireframes that act as a guide, and employ visual design to illustrate our ideas.”

Also common to both


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