Young Designers From USM And Taylor’s Win Big At The Asia Young Designer Awards 2020

AYDA wraps up the year 2020 in its first ever fully digital awards ceremony as Dayana Aripin from University Sains Malaysia and Lim Yee Fah from Taylor’s University take home the Gold Award for Architecture and Interior Design Categories.

Kuala Lumpur, January 27- The Asia Young Designer Awards (“AYDA”) organised by Nippon Paint Malaysia in collaboration with IJM Land Berhad, has announced the two winners of the Asia Young Designer Awards 2020. Its first fully digital competition themed “Human-Centred Design”, saw Dayana Aripin from University Sains Malaysia and Lim Yee Fah from Taylor’s University grabbed first place, as gold winners in the architectural and interior design categories respectively. 

Both the Malaysian winners stand a chance to advance to the regional level of the competition where they are in the running to be sent on a once-in-a-lifetime 6-week-all-expense paid Design Discovery programme at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Boston, USA. This follows the establishment of the Gennosuke Obata Fellowship at Harvard, an esteemed partnership that provides both parties with the opportunity to exchange cross-cultural ideas and values.

For the past 13 years, AYDA has aimed to inspire young designers to elevate their creativity and innovate their ideas to push above and beyond the norm to create outstanding professionals in the architectural and interior design industry. 2020’s theme “Human-Centred Design” encouraged designers to further explore their problem-solving skills by developing designs that is intuitive to its intended users’ needs and wants.

The winners for this year, Dayana Aripin and Lim Yee Fah took home a cash prize of RM5,000 along with the prestigious title of ‘Gold Award Winner’ in the Architectural and Interior Design categories respectively. Gold Award winner Dayana Aripin realised an opportunity to uplift the lives of her fellow Penangites as they were facing gentrification due to the rapid development of urban areas and change demography within the local community.  She then developed a design that not only revitalises the heritage and culture of Penang but also provided affordable homes. As the idiom goes, ‘to feed two birds with one seed’, Dayana achieved precisely that through her Micro-housing proposal. 

Commenting on her design, Micro-housing Within Heritage, Dayana Aripin said “Penang has lost its culture and heritage due to overcrowding of tourists and the Rent Act that was introduced back in 2000. I strongly believe that these issues can be solved through micro-housing in pocket spaces within the heritage zone. It is a project that I personally think is possible and to be able to turn it into a reality will be a dream come true. I’m excited to see what’s in stored for me next.”

In the Interior Design category, Gold Award winner, Lim Yee Fah’s proposal entitled, ‘Wo.Men’, is a refreshing take on an empowerment centre that equips women with life training skills and doubles as a center of refuge for single mothers and women who had suffered abuse and domestic violence. ‘Wo.Men’ or ‘ 我们 ’ which means ‘us’ in Mandarin is envisioned to be a safe haven for women and a fresh start for all who seek. 

Lim Yee Fah’ on her design ‘Wo.Men’, said that, “My intention is to create a safe and affordable living space for victims of domestic abuse, single mothers and women to be able to learn, grow and heal. I would have never guessed that this idea would bring me this far. To be the gold winner for this year’s competition feels surreal. I am delighted that my decision to push out of my comfort zone has earned me this opportunity. I want to thank the judges for all the guidance and feedback, I have grown so much and I can’t wait for my next journey to learn even more.”

Mr Yaw Seng Heng, Group Managing Director of Nippon Paint Malaysia Group, said, “As we enter into the 13th year of AYDA, I’m proud to know the immense value it still brings to the table. AYDA is more than just a competition, it is a platform that nurtures the future generation of designers, allowing them to reach their fullest potential. This platform was initially conceptualised to be gathering of like-minded individuals who sought to pool their resources and share their collective vision, to leave behind a brighter future. It fills me with great joy that even after 13 years, the passion to provide a one-of-a-kind experience and to groom the designers of tomorrow is still alive and well today. We will continue in our pursuit to instil in them the desire to never stop learning and I believe that AYDA will continue to be a platform where young designers can learn and grow their talents to the next level. 2020 was the first time that AYDA has gone fully virtual and we have overcome them despite the hurdles we faced. Our goal as always is to stay connected with all participants. Even on a virtual platform, the judges took the time and effort to conduct workshops, mentoring and coaching sessions. I would like to commend everyone involved for making AYDA 2020 a roaring success and the ceaseless pursuit to nurture the design community. I am proud of each and every one of the finalists and as for the winners, I’m excited to see you both excel in your journey.” 

The Asia Young Designer Awards 2020 Award Ceremony saw renowned judges from the Architectural and Interior Designing industry. Chief judges who adjudicated this year’s competition were Ar. Sarly Adre Sarkum (Architecture Category) and Mr. Lai Siew Hong (Interior Design Category). 

Speaking on Dayana Aripin’s design, Chief Judge for the Architectural category, Ar. Sarly, said, “Dayana’s ‘Micro-housing Within Heritage Context’ project was executed with extraordinary detail and care, and she communicated the space and concept brilliantly. It is not impossible to bring this project to life. In addition, with the rent control issues in Penang, this project has addressed all the contextual considerations, solving multiple issues in one elegant solution.

Both winning projects have received high praise from industry experts. Commenting on Lim Yee Fah’s design, Chief Judge for the Interior Design category, Mr Lai Siew Hong, said, “Every year, the ideas brought to the table by the participants always go beyond what I expect and this year is no different. She presented her idea with so much passion and love. Her design was meticulously planned out and even the meaning behind the name Wo.Men was beautifully and thoughtfully iterated. Her ideation of helping single mothers, women who suffered domestic abuse and women is indeed an inspiration.”

Now in its 13th year, AYDA has grown to be a prestigious platform supported by the Ministry of Education Malaysia (MOE), Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM), Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Youth Malaysia (REHDA Youth), Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID), Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) and Malaysia Green Building Confederation (MGBC). The continuous collaborative efforts from all partners have made the AYDA programme a success year after year.  

To find out more about AYDA, the entries and other information, log on to

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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