Donald Choi, Architecture ’80


Architecture 1980 | Managing Director, Nan Fung Development Ltd. | Email

Donald is the MD of one of the leading real estate development companys in Hong Kong. Prior to his current appointment, he is Director of Foster and Partners and later the Authorized Person of the Passenger Terminal of the Hong Kong International Airport. Donald also served as the Chairman of the Architects Registration Board of HKSAR from 2008-2010. In additional to his professional life, he also serve as Director for the German Swiss International School Foundation. Donald thinks it’s a small world after all!

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island

is the Tap Room in Memorial Hall and the soft couch of Cable Car.

My vivid memory of RISD

is Eddie, Mihai Nadin and The Breakers; Michael Hays still had red hair and St. Florian before the WWII Memorial; Machado/Silvetti’s Steps of Providence; Rare books in Athenaeum; Benefit Street autumn foliage; Inspiration and desperation from the first light into BEB after an all nighter; Sleep deprived and slept 36 hours straight after the final crit.

My advise(s) to prospective students

is RISD is the Reason I Still Dream.

What occupies me now

is Complexity and Contradiction, Venturi should learn from HK instead of Las Vegas; Kowloon walled city and HSBC Headquarters).

My next big move

is to see Hong Kong is a City of ingenious creativity and is the place to make a difference where it only takes a few to change.

Elmer Chen, Architecture ’82


Architecture 1982 | Captain, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited| Email

Anything you want to know about flying and airplanes and can not find a pilot to ask, you now have this chance!

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island is


My vivid memory of RISD is

Very difficult to find a parking space near the architectural building

My advise(s) to prospective students is

Very good and solid architectural program

What occupies you now…

Collecting WW2 German items and flying in the friendly sky

 my next BIG MOVE

Visit RISD again

Frank Chow, Landscape Architecture ’92


Landscape Architecture 1992 | Founder, Director FRC,

Frank founded f r c, an urban design + landscape architecture studio in 2008 after being the regional creative director and principal at EDAW/ AECOM. He has been travelling and working extensively within china for the past 15 years and enjoys the being part of the changes of the country. He serves as an advisor to a number of local NGOs that assist urban-rural and education related in hk/ china. Close to almost 20 years after graduation, he finally has a chance to slow down and has his first solo photography exhibition in Shanghai recently.

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island is

fox point drawbridge, the few steps outside of BEB, college hill bookstore, there were a bunch of junkyards further away- don’t recall their names anymore…

My vivid memory of RISD is

the difference between RISD and Brown students…

I was a freshman turning sophomore in ’89 and the incident at Tiananmen Square changed my perspective at all levels…it was then I learned this English word ‘apathetic’ and I started this RISD group ‘Forum’…

Building a 1:1 installation outside of BEB for Art in Public Places

rest are all about the girls…(unfortunately!!- still very vivid)…

My advise(s) to prospective students is

1.      don’t be afraid to be a generalist (as long as you are good at it)

2.      keep reading and writing

3.      know/ learn about yourself 

What occupies me now…

keeping all sorts of things in good balance

And my next BIG MOVE

keep thinking, planning and making things happen about the next series of smaller moves…thinking more on Urban DNA from a professional standpoint, think harder on how I cam influence the art and design education system in china, and perhaps a succession plan for frc in which I can have more time to engage in fine art….and continue to learn from my two kids (3+5) on the what’s next…just enjoying the (beginning of the) ride!!

PS. also just started my blog- and is in simplified chinese only !! (

Brian Ma, Architecture ’99

29963752-Resize of BMA RISD (1)

Architecture 1999 | Brand Visionaire | Email | LinkedIn! 

Proven Brand Visionaire, Entrepreneur, and Design Thinker with 10+ years of international industry experience; multi-lingual and multi-cultural, I have lived and worked in 6 countries conducting business extensively in 12+ countries. I see possibilities where others see limitations.

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island is

Bayard Ewing Building (BEB)

My vivid memory of RISD is

2am review with TA

My advise(s) to prospective students is

If you haven’t seen the future, you are Not dreaming Fast enough!

What occupies you now…


And my next BIG MOVE

Next big move is – Tell you later!

Pearl Ng, Industrial Design ’98


Industrial Design 1998 | Director, Pearly | Email

With an international upbringing that spans from Hong Kong, Sydney to San Francisco, jewelry designer Pearl Ng began her journey with her Bachelor’s studies with The Rhode Island School of Design in Industrial Design. Having studied art since a young age, Pearl won numerous awards locally in San Francisco in paintings and sculptures, and began selling her artworks and jewelry since high school. RISD was a clear first choice for her passion in design when she was entering college.

At RISD Pearl had the opportunities to study with iconic and celebrated designers and educators such as Mark Harrison, Robert O’Neal, Ken Hunnibel and painter Victor Lara. She had first hand industry experiences through RISD, with a semester at Harvard Business School working with BMW, a summer study abroad with Nissan San Diego in Milan, she interned for the prominent Industrial Design firm Design Continuum in MA. With her student projects, Pearl won awards with Tylenol Arthritic Foundation and Dansk International, which led her to begin freelancing in design while at RISD. The design education she received and the experiences she accumulated propelled and fast tracked her design career. After graduation, RISD ID professors Aidan Petrie and Stephen Lane invited Pearl to join their firm ITEM New Product Development in Providence (now Ximedica) as a junior designer, she later joined RPG in New York (The Royal Promotion Group) as a Point-of-Purchase designer. Pearl honed in on her luxury and brand related experience, with project for some of the most prestigious large brands such as Marc Jacobs, Nine West, Benefit, outfitting for retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Sephora. She created on-point brand driven displays and remarkable projects that had had an extensive global reach. In 2003 Pearl returned to New York University to obtain her masters in Art Education. During which she privately studied with Parsons instructors for shoemaking, leather bags, couture sewing, sculpture and silversmithing, exploring the craft of handmade goods. With her love of jewelry and accessories, Pearl wanted to create her own luxury label that centers on artisan handmade pieces using the best materials. She began working with private customers, created custom made shoes and leather bags, and she began working on custom projects with craftsman in the jewelry district of New York.

In 2007, Pearl moved to Hong Kong and founded Pearl, focusing on bespoke fine jewelry and creating handmade limited edition fine jewelry collections. Since then she has brought her collections to London and was based out of both cities, while being represented by The Felicities in London 2012-2015. Pearly collections showcased on London Fashion Week runways along with regular presentations, sold at high-end boutiques, trunk shows and pop up shops, with trade fairs such as Who’s Next in Paris. Her work has been featured in top industry magazines from The Jeweller, Jewellery Focus, Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and is worn by celebrities and fashion elites all over the world. Pearl Ng is a GIA Graduate Gemologist (The Gemology Institute of America) as well as a certified GIA Jewelry Designer. Pearly’s exclusive bespoke pieces emphasize on one-of-a-kind designs that speaks to the wearers’ hearts and desires. With her unusual dual background in design and gemology, Pearl brings a new point of view to tradition fine jewelry design in gold and platinum, utilizing rare and natural colored gemstones and top quality diamonds in her designs. Her vintage inspired jewelry pieces are timeless and fashionable, designed to be modern heritage pieces to be collected and treasured.

As an active member of the RISD alumni committee and for the love of her alma mater, Pearl created the limited edition “RISD rocks” ring, which is designed for all members of the RISD community. Pearly bespoke and collection pieces can be found at, at the RISD museum store RISDworks. Pearl has worked a part time lecturer for six years at Hong Kong Art School and Polytechnic University in Hong Kong; she now guest lectures in universities and organizations on luxury, branding, creativity and entrepreneurship.

Follow Pearl on her design adventures:


My favorite hangout at Rhode Island is Benefit Street. I purposely drank the water from the fountain, just so I will always go back, and hangout there again, hopefully running into someone I know still and have a great conversation.

My vivid memory of RISD was sawing into my finger freshman year in the wee hours of the morning, while making my Brancusi life size chess pieces for 3D class. There were bits of foam in my wound and I could see the bone in my finger. I was wandering around in shock, and Simon took me to the men’s room to wash my hand. Chad was playing a guitar and singing in the hallway still at that hour.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

My advise(s) to prospective students is to walk in with an open mind and work super hard. You have four years (or five in Architecture) of undivided attention with some of the best of the best in their respective fields. Take advantage of that. Have fun. Experiment. Many of us wish we can be there and do it all over again.

What occupies me now is creating the best I can and pushing my craft to another level higher. I love what I do and I’m busy as can be, learning to get even better every opportunity I get.

My next move is to find out where my life and my work will take me.


Rex Wong, Architecture ’03


Architecture 2003 | Executive Director, Kum Shing Group | Email

Rex worked with several leading architectural design consultancies in Madrid, New York and Hong Kong before becoming the real estate development & corporate communication guy for his family’s 50 years young construction business.  He is a Registered Architect in the US and recognized as a LEED AP and BEAM Pro for keeping up with the latest in sustainable design.  In addition to his professional life, Rex also serve the public at the local and regional level by being a Part-time Member of the Central Policy Unit of the Hong Kong SAR Government and a Member of the Guangzhou Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island

went from the RISD Beach to the RISD Farm over the 5 years while there.  I think the Beach stands for attention and a kind of comfort zone, while the Farm stands for solitude and an adventurous attitude.  It sort of reflect the mental journey I was going through at the time.  One can become very humble yet daring at RISD when surrounded by so many talents.  Btw, the RISD Beach is not really a beach, it is just a 5,000 square feet public space on the intersection of Benefit Street and Angell Street covered with grass.20331591-RISD_Beach20331528-RISD_Farm 

My vivid memory of RISD

is the contrast between feeling exhausted after an all-nighter and the boost of energy just before a crit.  Also hard to forget is the emptiness after a good crit.

My advise(s) to prospective students

is to take the Liberal Arts classes more seriously.  While I agree with the saying that studio culture is the most important part of the RISD experience, I personally feel that I have gained just as much if not even more from RISD’s excellent liberal arts curriculum.  From philosophy and history to literature and writing, I have discovered so much knowledge in these areas and become a better thinker and writer during those years.  Also, I will suggest not to be afraid to take full advantage of Brown’s offering in the field of economics and international relations.  It’s really common sense stuff but worthwhile to learn what’s all the buzz about.

What occupies me now

is trying to convince everyone I come across (including myself) to pay more for better design. 

My next big move

is to Alaska.  Just kidding.

Maggie Ma, Architecture ’04


Architecture 2004 | Director, MSY Engineering Ltd. | Email

Maggie is a contractor in training at her family building foundation business after practicing architecture at leading design offices in Hong Kong for 5 years.  Her interest in environmentally conscious design leads to a Master degree in Sustainable and Environmental Design from the CUHK  and she is also a recognized LEED AP at the USGBC.  While attending to her family business and involving in other public and charity works, Maggie is also a Member of the Jianmen Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the founding partner at Design Trademark, a design consultancy group. 

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island

is during spring and summer – outdoor tables at the Cable Car Cafe with a coffee, tuna melt and my comrades from the BEB. For the winter, it’s always the breakfast place on Wickenden St.  It’s almost a ritual for me to have a nice breakfast there on the first day of snow every year!

My vivid memory of RISD

is taking Christopher Ho’s class for the second time after 4 years.  I took his class during my freshmen year and I was really too fresh to understand any of the contemporary art theories.  So of course I didn’t do too well in that class.  During my fifth year I was determined to give his other class a second try and it was the most inspiring class ever!   Chris actually remembers me while taking attendance and surprised by how 4 years went by so quickly!  It’s my vivid memory of RISD because I can see and feel how I’ve mature and grown up as a designer at the school! (I got an A in my second attempt btw :D)

My advise(s) to prospective students

is go crazy, ask question, try and see and touch everything around you!  You are going to be surrounded by the most inspiring, interesting, fascinating, talented and amazing people so don’t miss your chance!

What occupies me now

Too much! 

My next big move

Take over the world!  WATCH OUT!

Katherine Wong, Architecture ’05

Katherine Wong

Architecture 2005 | Director, Omberry | Email

Katherine is an architect and has practiced for over 6 years in New York City. She has recently co-founded a new yoga and travel wear company, Omberry Living Aesthetics, with a childhood friend. Omberry creates edgy, versatile, and aesthetically functional apparel with a vintage flair. We want to create chic and comfortable designs with quality fabrications that will empower women. Katherine enjoys traveling, watercolor, knitting, sewing, yoga, and running.

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island

Cable Car and friend’s homes

My vivid memory of RISD

The strong creative energy and the insanely talented crazy people.

My advise(s) to prospective students

Always keep an open mind, Never say never.

What occupies me now

Omberry, interior design, yoga, running, family and friends.

My next big move

The unknown future is the constant big move.

Joseph Ng, Architecture ’08


Architecture 2008 | Co-Founder, Handsome Bag Co. | Email

Joseph is an architect in training but in his spare time he runs a social enterprise, Handsome Bag Co., with the aims of empowering local craftsmen and to bring back small time skilled manufacturing to Hong Kong. He is also an avid cyclist and ultra-marathon runner.

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island

The Pit (Shave Steak Sub with extra mushrooms), Circle A Cycles (for the bikes), the Beach (for the grass and people watching), the Farm (for the bike ride), the Point Street Bridge (for the peace), the Jolly Roger (cause I worked the night shifts), the Coffee Exchange (for the hot coffee) and Seven Stars Bakery (for the Ice Coffee).

My vivid memory of RISD

Lee Dejasu’s freshman class for teaching me that nothing is perfect but you won’t know unless you try.

My advise(s) to prospective students

RISD is the Reason I’m Sleep Deprived.

What occupies me now

Too much? I see that as an occurring theme with RISD grads, then again, it can never be too much. You only live once.

My next big move

Continue to be Hungry and Humble.

Alice Zhang, Graphic Design ’06


Graphic Design 2006 | Founder, Mischmasch | Email

Alice is a graphic designer and gallery owner. She founded Mischmasch, the online artist community, in 2008 as a tool for herself and her friends to keep each other updated with their work. Mischmasch now has artists from over 55 cities and consists of a physical art gallery in Hong Kong and an online store. Alice is interested in using technology and social media to change the relationship between art, the gallery and the public. Born in China and grew up in New Zealand, Alice has lived in four continents and worked as a graphic designer in Beijing, Auckland, New York City, and London. Alice moved to Hong Kong in 2008. She has been featured in various media for her contribution to the local art scene including Milk Magazine, Harpers Bazaar HK, ATV World News, Time Out HK, and Travel+Leisure Asia.

My favorite hangout at Rhode Island…

The benches outside the Design Center, next to the river. It’s an open space so you feel a bit vulnerable sitting there…in a good way.
My vivid memory of RISD…

2 weeks before finals in senior year my friend closed her car door on my thumb, yeah the car door CLOSED ON MY THUMB. I was taken to the ER, where the nurse used something reminiscent of superglue to stick pieces of my thumb back together. I remember being in so much pain not just physically but because I almost gave up on my final project then and there. (My final project involved a lot of craft — I was making a board game — you know, cutting up cardboard with an x-acto knife and glueing things straight). So I calmed down and thought “I can’t let my degree go down the drain cos of a broken thumb, who needs a thumb anyway!" I don’t know how I did it, but I ended up finishing… Oh yeah, I made a wall of Red Bull cans in my dorm room and listened to The Prodigy on repeat, it was fun!

My advise(s) to prospective students

Try to have your portfolio ready as soon as you graduate and put your work online. If you don’t know how to build a website you can use a template or a blog.
What occupies me now

Figuring out how to use technology as a tool to help bring this thousand year old art industry to the future. Turning Mischmasch into a social e-commerce website. Figuring out how to make Chinese people have good taste. And I just got a gig as the art consultant for the third tallest building in Guangzhou…so that…and I paint sometimes.
My next big move

I think Hong Kong is a nice doorstep to a really big house.