Urban Explorer Series: Interview with Pakho Ng

Urban Explorer Series: Interview with Pakho Ng

“During the manufacturing process, I do not dictate how it should be done; rather, I let the process and mechanical properties of the components guide me.”




Pakho Ng

Co-founder and Design Engineer of Noah & Grey

Our Urban Explorer


Could you please introduce yourself to our guests?

I am Pakho Ng, the Co-founder, and Design Engineer of Noah & Grey, which was founded by my dad K.C., and I. We specialise in lighting, furniture, and home accessories.


How did you decide to start your brand?

At the time, I was working at my engineering job, but I was also designing in my free time. After a while, my engineering job was becoming quite tedious, so I decided to take a break from it and focus on design full-time. During this stint, it just so happened that K11 Art Mall was hosting a design competition which pushed me right into the deep end of this industry. This opportunity allowed me to design my first product and sell it. I committed to making 50 lamps for customers who purchased from us through the competition. That is essentially how it all started!



There are so many different areas of design, from industrial and interior to fashion and graphic. Do you draw inspiration from these areas for your own work?

My design inspiration comes primarily from mid-century furniture because I love how aesthetically pleasing it looks yet functional, and it is simply constructed at a reasonable price point. I look to films like Blade Runner and Dune and that futuristic world for inspiration. I am also inspired by music that my wife introduces me to like Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, and Childish Gambino, which is very different from what I have ever touched on. I hope to capture the essence or mood of a certain song and incorporate it into my designs.


What does a day in the life of Mr. Pakho Ng look like?

I like to start my mornings with more brain-intensive work like modeling that puts my concept into a 3D version where I can better visualise it. Late in the morning, I will start to follow up with suppliers on the status of various parts that I am manufacturing. As the afternoon rolls around, I will go to the workshop to construct the piece I am working on, like prototyping and testing out how each piece will come together to create the final product.



What does” Urban Explorer” mean to you and how do you think you fit into this term?

If you take the immediate meaning, urban exploration refers to someone who enjoys exploration and travel. But in the broader sense, to me, it is someone who follows their curiosity. When you follow your curiosity, you create space for the possibility of meaningful experiences you could have never anticipated. Whether you are into history, art, or artificial intelligence, you may be surprised by what you will learn and how it can take you on a different path.


Nostalgic for the Old, Hungry for the New


Behind Noah & Grey is a talented father and son duo. How do you enjoy working with your father and do you ever get into any disagreements?

Oh, absolutely. I really enjoy working with my dad but at times we have our own perspectives on how to solve a problem. But the majority of the time, we actually get to similar conclusions. It’s good fun!


How do you come up with the initial concept for a piece?

In the conceptual stages, I really focus on functionality, and it will always go back to how it can solve a problem for someone. I have simple building blocks of the manufacturing processes, like CNC, laser cut, and brass turning that I play around with, and it gives me the most interesting outcome. During the manufacturing process, I do not dictate how it should be done; rather, I let the process and mechanical properties of the components guide me. Once I have the structure in place, I am able to work on the finer details to support its overall function.



Could you tell us more about the latest pieces you have designed for the collaboration between Noah & Grey and Page8?

We are very fortunate to be presented with the opportunity to design some bespoke pieces for Page8. In this series, we designed sofas, coffee tables, floor lamps, ottomans, and liquor cabinets. We are currently working on the liquor cabinet, and it is by far the most complex, but we are excited to share it once it is completed! From the conceptual stages, we tried to channel Page Hotels’ minimalistic vibe and utilise materials that we were quite familiar with already like stainless steel, brass, and walnut timber. We try to use metal elements as the core skeleton and have the wood be the interface which guests could interact with because it looks and feels warmer and softer.


From a design perspective, how do you think that Noah & Grey and the Page Hotels brand have synergy?
There is a whole lot of overlap between Page Hotels and Noah & Grey’s aesthetic style. Page Hotels and Noah & Grey both possess a modern and minimalistic elegance. In our design aesthetic, there really is nothing out of place or a part that does not serve a purpose. As you can see, many of Page8’s exterior elements are mirrored in its interiors that is modern but has an old-school element to them, like an old English trunk made of fine, aged leather.



Design can be very subjective. Working with clients from across the sector, how important do you think it is to stick to your own artistic vision?

My approach is always solutions-orientated and to try and solve the client’s design wants and needs. From this perspective, there is not that much subjectivity because my goal is to meet the client’s brief. At times, I actually prefer working on a client project more because you are working within confined guidelines; whereas if I am designing on my own, sometimes the lack of constraint can be harder. I think it’s actually quite good to have a clear goal.



Exploring The City


What inspires you to travel?

I definitely get my travel inspiration through word of mouth, especially from friends and on Instagram as well. Experiences and travel stories from friends are way more accurate and convincing. However, it can be difficult to grasp the full picture of what that experience is like from Instagram because it can be highly edited, but I think it is a good jumping-off point.


What other destinations are on your bucket list?

I generally travel to a place for its captivating activities, be it trekking, skiing, or surfing, as well as a place that offers rich cultural experiences and gastronomy. One thing I would love to do is sail around the world or join the Clipper Race, which allows novices with no sailing experience to join a crew and they will teach you how to sail throughout those months. This is definitely on my bucket list! There is another race called the Mongo Race where you start from the UK or somewhere in Europe and race all the way to Mongolia with raggedy old cars. This is also on my bucket list of things to do!



What do you love about Hong Kong?

I just love how connected Hong Kong is. You can get anywhere around the city within an hour, from pristine beaches to amazing natural scenery.


In 3 words, how would you describe Hong Kong?

Connected, Vibrant, Efficient