AList 2023-RienTan1

Ar. Rien Tan

Director of TKCArchitect

If making it in life was about balancing between risk and return, Rien couldn’t have picked a more opportune time to put this hypothesis to the test. When the world came to a Covid standstill, he struck out on his own and inaugurated his own architectural practice. Property development was fraught with trepidation in trying times, but the lean period taught him to become better at running a business. For the audacious but calculated risk he bore, it set him up for success in the ensuing years. His firm is now on the right track with numerous projects of varying scales in the pipeline, and his team has been expanded substantially to shoulder the technical remits to enable him to function as the helmsman – pitching and winning new projects.

What are the things that inspire you?

Whenever I travel overseas, I am constantly asked where I am from. One time I asked myself: Why would people ask such a question? When you tell them that you are from a major city, they instantly know the name. But I am not; I am from Pontian, a small town in Johor. It is the place that gives me the most inspiration because it is where I grew up. I think a person’s heritage is very important because it inspires and shapes you as a person.

How do you describe your approach towards your work? 

When I was at university, I was a winner of the Asia Young Designer Awards. It made me believe that people appreciate good design. In this industry, time is the most valuable thing. We spend a lot of time preparing a proposal. We want to produce and show our best and that we are consistent. When a client looks for us, they know that they can expect a certain standard from us and we don’t go any lower. 

What are some of the things people might not know about you?

I love to cook. My late father was a chef and I was greatly influenced by him. Cooking helps me de-stress. No matter how busy I am, I always find time to cook for myself and sometimes for my friends. I enjoy the process of cooking and prepping ingredients, but not the washing up!