London, United Kingdom
New York, New York
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Auckland, New Zealand
A recipient of Interior Design magazine’s inaugural 30 Under 30 award, Shanna is an Associate at Woods Bagot specialized in commercial interiors.
She started her career cutting her teeth in luxury retail design but quickly found passion in hospitality Design. No matter the project type, she always seeks to infuse the spaces with warmth and intimacy.
Her background in Architecture heavily influences her approach to interior design. For the better half of the last decade, she has honed her design ability by finding clever ways to seamlessly blend interiors with architecture and systems.
Throughout her career, she has excelled as a team leader, serving as the design lead on projects ranging from a boutique retail store in Brooklyn to a mixed-used Highrise project in Miami. Her work has been recognized by and nominated for multiple interior awards.
What does #EmbraceEquity mean to you?
I Initially went to school for Architecture, which I saw as a more male dominated industry. Interestingly, my graduating class had more women than men, which was unusual. So right away my belief system was tested a bit. Ultimately, I chose to specialize in Interiors because it gives me more opportunities to design to human scale and focus more on the user experience. I realize that embracing equity isn’t so much about “male” and “female” as was traditionally thought, but a more nuanced and universal human feeling. Consequently, to consider that means we are embracing the whole of the human experience in all its forms, age, race, genders, and sexual orientation etc.
If you could give advice to anyone, especially young women, looking into a similar field or career path, what would you give?
I would advise any young person, including young women, beginning their careers to choose the opportunities and paths that offer you the best opportunities to grow. This means testing out and exposing yourself to as much as you can. Through this process, you will not only learn about the industry, but also better understand yourself, your interests, and your strengths. Saying yes to opportunities will help you hone in on what you really want, and in turn what you don’t.
30/30 (Thirty Under Thirty) New York, Interior Design program, 2022.
Shanna Chan and the team at Brooklyn Tower early site tour.
“Embracing equity isn’t so much about ‘male’ and ‘female’ as was traditionally thought, but a more nuanced and universal human feeling. Consequently, to consider that means we are embracing the whole of the human experience in all its forms.”
What would you say to your younger self?
I would tell her to learn to trust her gut feeling because things will, almost without fail, turn out better if she does. Earlier in my career, it was hard for me to speak up for what I believed in, especially when my opinions were going against the grain or the majority. With experience and time, I learned to trust myself and that gut feeling more. This built up my confidence in becoming more comfortable sharing my ideas and promoting the collaboration that is so crucial for our profession.
What has been the highlight in your career/life?
One of the highlights in my career that I will always be grateful for is how elated I feel time and time again when walking through a newly completed project. It is (still!) so rewarding to be able to “step into” one of our renderings and witness the designs come to life into a physical space. That bodily experience – it never gets old.
To get in touch with Shanna Chan, contact us here.
Stay tuned for more stories celebrating women leading the way in the architecture & design industry, groundbreaking projects and celebrating #EmbraceEquity for International Women’s Day.
In its inaugural launch of 30/30 (Thirty Under Thirty) New York, Interior Design–known for its global, industry-leading print and digital publications–invited Woods Bagot New York Associate Shanna Chan to join their exclusive fellowship.
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