On the surface, Penny Ng embraces design in her daily life. But unbeknown to many, Penny together with her husband Shin Chang are the duo responsible for breathing new life into several historic buildings and pre- war shophouses surrounding the Petaling Street and Chow Kit areas. As part of the core team who spearheaded the revamp of former iconic cinema Rex KL into a creative arts and culture hub, Penny believes the future of design revolves around recognising opportunities and creative problem solving. “It isn’t about aesthetics but more on the design sense of purpose that we can apply to our modern lives.”
An interior architect by training, she runs multidisciplinary design firm Mentahmatter with Shin. Penny describes her design philosophy as human centric, stating that it is very much related to the user. “I always think from the human scale; the perfect proportion between the user and the context, the journey; on how a user reacts to the space whether it is the texture, material, scent or greenery. Sometimes the most simple approach produces the best results,” she says.
Aside from their architectural firm, Penny’s maiden F&B project, Chocha Foodstore, also exemplifies the duo’s creative approach when it comes to reusing old spaces with minimal intervention. This unique approach has made it possible to preserve the building’s very own heritage identity while attracting the public to re-explore Petaling Street.
As for what drives her to push forward, Penny says, “Continue to explore new ideas, keep growing and never stop learning.”
Talisman bangle in white gold & diamonds; Aria ring in white gold, Caress, Swan, Enchanted Lotus bands by De Beers