Tsz Yan Ng joined the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning at the University of Michigan in 2007 as the Walter S. Sanders Fellow. Prior to coming to Michigan, she taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level at McGill University and the State University of New York at Buffalo where she was the Reyner Banham Fellow in 2001-2002. She is the principal of an independent design practice Tsz Yan Ng Architecture|Design since 2004. The studio focuses on experimental design/research for architectural commissions, competitions, and installations.

Recent commissions include work for the NY fashion label Lafayette 148, for their global headquarters/manufacturing facility in Shantou, China and their retail shops in N. America and China (in collaboration with Mehrdad Hadighi). She has received awards and recognitions for her creative work in architectural competitions and installations. Recent installations and design work have been exhibited in Los Angeles, Ann Arbor, Ithaca, Montréal, Buffalo, and NYC.

Her design work, research, and teaching are closely related in that they probe the questions of perception in architectural production by exposing the artifice of social, cultural, and political construction.

The Visibility of Labor

From the storefront, a full-scaled figure emerges from the wall, as if the plastered wall surface is elastic. Hands forward, the figure presents a black sheath dress. Inside the gallery, seventeen pairs of plaster hands similarly push out from the walls in a ghostly manner. A 20-minute film accompanies the installation featuring a garment manufacturing facility and its workers in Shantou, China. The factory belongs to Lafayette 148 New York, a New York-based fashion label. The cast hands in the gallery can be identified with some of the workers highlighted in the film. The gestures of each hand, contemplated and decided by the workers themselves, are expressions of their enacted labor.  

This Visibility of Labor is an installation and film that deal with issues of labor in global textile manufacturing. More specifically it asks the question of how many pairs of hands go into the design and manufacture of a single garment? Collectively, the field of hands highlights the workers and their labor in the making of the dress, from design to research and development, and from production to shipping. Up close, the fidelity of the hands, with calluses, cuts, and wrinkles, bears evidence to one’s lifetime of work. The project attempts to make tangible the unseen labor by North American consumers who only know the finished product. The immediacy of the casting, as a one-to-one relationship, makes tangible their presence in the world where their labor is invisible. 


9338 Campau Gallery: http://9338campau.com/pastevents.html 


This project was made possible through the generous support from the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning, University of Michigan, UMOR (the University of Michigan Office of Research), and 9338 Campau Gallery. 

Film edited by Ryan Moritz. 

Production team: Rachel Mulder, Kasper O’Brien, Chris Pine, Andrew Thompson, Alyssa Bogdan, and Alexandra Martin 

Thank you to: Lafayette 148 New York and their team in Shantou, China 

Anita Wong, Irene Tam, Cindy Yang, Sammy Wong, Sarah Zheng, Jonathan Chan 

Special thanks to:  Deirdre Quinn and Harvey Lok at Lafayette 148 New York 

And all the designers + workers who participated: Emily Smith, Carla Chiaro, Barbara Gast, Cyndi Yang, Sam Wang, Cheng Yin Poon, Anita Wong, Irene Tam, Lam Sid Yin, Wong, Wein Nam, Hoi Yeu Wor, Lam Kein Sing, Jonathan Chan, Loi Mon Wen, Siu Seiu Chun, Hui Chong Nei, Lai Jing Yin, Zhan Shun Lang 


Year: 2015 Location: US Type: Installation Scale: Small