Michael Hsu

Austin, Houston - Founder and principal of Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

How would you describe your personal aesthetic? We don’t have a style at the firm. Every site, every project in every city has its own solution. That’s how you connect with people—you show respect and empathy. We try to immerse ourselves in the place and community when we’re designing for it.

What is a design trend you are loving now? I love seeing the return of pattern, and richer details and materials in designs that are also modern.

What is a trend that you are over? I’ve seen enough fake reclaimed wood.

What is inspiring you in Texas now? What I find beautiful about Texas’ rural culture is simplicity and honesty, and that’s always imbued in the projects we’ve done. We borrow materials from the landscape and use them in new ways. We use Texas hickory and pecan. We use metal roofing, exposed wood, big windows, simple structures.

Who are some of your design heroes? Carlo Scarpa, Patricia Urquiola, Pierre Chareau

What are some of your favorite secret sources for projects? We love to use local artists and artisans. We work with Warbach Lighting for a lot of our custom lighting elements. We work with artists like Michael Wilson out of Wimberley; he creates beautiful wooden sculptures. We custom-design a lot of our furnishings with fabricator Litmus Industries. Some other artists we’re enjoying lately include Patrick Puckett, Alma Haser and Davy Gray. We have pieces from all of these artists in our Houston office that opened last summer.