Designer Crush: Alice Chiu


Oftentimes a career in design can fall into one’s lap. This was the case for S.F-native Alice Chiu who began her professional life as an operations manager in the engineering industry. Not feeling fulfilled led her to pursue a degree in interior design from the San Francisco Academy of Art University. Now, at the helm of her own firm Chiu realizes that her technical training and skills from her previous role in engineering have greatly contributed to her design business. Read more about our current crush below.

Photo by Tim D. Coy

-How has your upbringing in S.F. influenced your work? San Francisco is one of the most diverse cities in the world, so growing up here has made me appreciate art and culture from all over. Certainly, it has made my design more versatile. 

How would you define your style? My style is functional, contemporary and serene. With the challenges and chaos of the external world, I design for comfort.  For me, it’s about the simple pleasures, like natural elements and organic materials––all of which make us feel at home. I want my designs to feel nourishing to the soul and connected with nature.

How have the arts influenced your work? The arts help me delve into my imagination and channel my ideas. I start each space as a blank canvas, aiming to instill a sense of calm, simplicity, and rejuvenation.

Photo by Tim D. Coy

-Which other designers or creative’s inspired your career the most? Studio Thomas for their commitment to helping clients live their best lifestyle through simplicity or as I like to call it, simplistic sophistication.

Any brands or furniture decorative artists you are obsessed with? I am loving Katy Skelton’s line. I admire how she fuses curvilinear and straight lines in simple designs while using high quality craftsmanship, locally sourced materials, and a dedication to social responsibility.

How does your engineering background contribute to your design work? I’m able to read and analyze the composition of a space including its inhabitants! Also, I think my background helps me come up with unique solutions to problems. 

Photo by Curt Walton

Favorite S.F. restaurant for the design. Eight Tables for it’s simple, minimal, yet elegant design. It’s reminiscent of home.

Next time you can travel, where will you go? “Stairway to Heaven” in Austria’s Salzkammergut resort area for the view! 

If you weren’t a designer, you would be? A spiritual guide.

Photo by Curt Walton

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