Carolyn Iu: 1994 Hall of Fame Inductee
“What I really like,” notes Carolyn Iu, AIA, of
Iu & Bibliowicz
, “is a simple, classic contemporary interior with a little bit of tension. All good interiors have a sense of balance created by the architecture of the space. The volume, the proportions, the quality of light, all these make an interior, not just the furniture, colors and finishes.”
The range of what Iu has accomplished in terms of design, while it may fall more or less neatly into that definition, spans the wide stylistic divide between traditional and contemporary as well as the tremendous scale from several thousands of square feet to multiple millions. Her work has been predominantly on corporate interiors, and has included the largest possible domains to the details of desktop accessories.
Born and raised in Hong Kong, she received her design degree from Cornell University. In 1977 she joined
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
and worked as an Associate Partner until 1994. Ms. Iu formed Iu & Lewis Design in 1995, and subsequently founded a partnership with Mr. Bibliowicz. Her work life has spanned the globe as well, with projects in the Near East, the Far East, the Pacific Rim and scattered across the continental United States.
On the subject of design philosophy, she explains that her approach to each project remains consistent: every job forms a puzzle that requires solving. Listening, a skill she has cultivated, provides the basis for determining both the clues and the solutions. “I really do listen: to the client’s needs, to the budget, to the information about the explanation of the corporate culture. Once you learn how to listen you can develop a team concept between the client and the designer. It becomes possible to establish a relationship of mutual respect,” she explains.
Her professional activities are numerous, and include membership in the leading professional organizations (the AIA, IIDA, and ASID). She is a registered architect in New York, a certified interior designer in California and a member of the New York State Board of Interior Design.