The OWIU Design team including our mascots, Koby and Kipper.

In OWIU, there is little differentiation between work and residential spaces, seen in the manifestation of our projects and our team dynamics.In fact, we work out of a loft space originally intended as a personal residence for our co-founder Amanda Gunawan.

Deliberately avoiding traditional business models, we prefer casual and open spaces where partitions and closed doors are less about divisive hierarchies and more for creating break out spaces of reprieve or privacy during meetings. We hold charrettes at the kitchen counter, encouraging an open dialogue where all input comes to the table with equal value and on Friday nights, we convert the same kitchen counter into a space for team building, cooking dinners together, and simply enjoying the pleasure of each other’s company.

Our two founding principals, Joel Wong and Amanda Gunawan
Senior Architecture Associate, Claudia Wainer

The transitions from work to play are organic to our team’s genuine friendships and the company philosophy. From the beginning, we emphasize that pleasure should be inherent to the process and that work does not have to be punishing in order to be productive.

Our founding principals, Amanda Gunawan and Joel Wong are both Architectural designers originally from Singapore but now are based in Los Angeles, who obtained their bachelors’ degree in architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), receiving the prestigious merit thesis prize.

Amanda has a diverse design background. She worked in Urban Planning and Design at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore, which oversees the master-planning for the country. More recently, she worked for Pritzker-prize winning Architect, Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects. Amanda a strong social media presence and has worked to create creative content for brands such as Dyson, Samsung and Google. Amanda was named one of the “Architects to watch” by Design and Architecture Magazine in 2022.

​Joel Wong is a designer based in Los Angeles, born and raised in Singapore. He pursued his bachelors degree in architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), graduating with distinction, was awarded the prestigious merit thesis prize and Henry Adams prize for outstanding student. Joel has lots of experience in the Architectural field. He has worked for firms such as ADDP Architects in Singapore and also most recently for Pritzker Prize winning Architect, Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects.

Claudia Wainer, Senior Architecture Associate, Professor Faculty at Cal-Poly Pomona.M. Arch and Post-graduate degree in Design Theory and Pedagogy from SCI-Arc.

If you love the work, it shouldn’t feel like work. Here at OWIU, the cornerstone is precision and thoughtfulness. Taking pride in how this philosophy matriculates. We have developed a culture rather than a company, even outside architecture. One of the ways this has manifested is in their ceramics practice, borne out of a team-building exercise. Today, we have a robust home goods line, that started out of a little studio hobby, that has now turned into a service we offer that furthers and braids into our aesthetic vision.

The team dynamic, the shared belief in the OWIU philosophy, the amalgamation of different personalities and skills, the genuine friendship that is formed as a result of our collaboration is what provides meaning to the work that we do and it is through this, that we are able to create what we create.