The son of academic parents, Derek grew up in a Los Angeles home steeped in scholarly inquiry. His mother emigrated from Beijing at the age of 16, and as a boy, Derek frequently traveled with his parents to Japan and China. Later, while pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts in Japan, the scale of Derek’s art projects became larger and larger until he realized that his creative talents were meant for architecture.
Derek’s experiences abroad, as a cultural outsider, informs his approach to design, supporting his ability to question accepted norms and view library, cultural, and community projects with an analytical eye. As a design leader, Derek focuses on choreographing cultural experiences by bridging disciplines to find richer, more relevant purpose. In this way, he uses design to help clients tell their stories of physical and cultural place.