Lee's interior design practice Studio & Projects creates spaces and products for cultural, commercial and residential clients, taking a "narrative approach to design"
"My designs are always informed by context, location and function," Lee told Dezeen. "I always think about the project's story and connect that to the design decisions I make."
Lee is also the founder of Black Folks in Design, an organisation which raises awareness and promotes the culture and importance of Black designers. She was named the first winner of the Female Design Council and NicoleHollis Grant recognising women of colour-led interior design firms located in the US.
"The grant was an investment in my talent and skill and helped me sustain my momentum to build and invest in future projects," said Lee.
Lee among Dezeen Awards 2023 judges
Dezeen Awards 2023, in partnership with Bentley Motors, is closed for entries. The longlists will be published on Dezeen in two weeks.
Other judges joining Lee this year include architects Jason Long and Zhu Pei, interior designers Diana Radomysler, Colin King and Martin Brudnizki, and designers Yves Béhar, Ineke Hans and Lani Adeoye.
Read on to find Lee's views on the five projects that best represent her work:
National Black Theatre
"National Black Theatre is a unique project as it combines public, performance, and residential spaces.
"It is a historic major capital redevelopment project that will transform the current property into a 21st-century destination for Black culture through theatre.
"This project will anchor and recapitalise the institution with a 250-seat flexible temple space and a 99-seat studio theatre.
"As part of the same project, the developer Ray is also working on National Black Theatre Way, a building on 2033 5th Ave which will house residential, event and retail spaces."
OKRA for Odabashian
"OKRA was the first design by Studio & Projects from our upcoming rug collection with manufacturer Odabashian.
Ace Hotel Toronto
"Ace Hotel Toronto opened in July 2022 and is the brand's first location in Canada.
"The 123-room hotel was designed by revered Toronto firm Shim-Sutcliffe Architects, led by Brigitte Shim and Howard Sutcliffe, in collaboration with Atelier Ace with me as the Atelier Ace/Ace Hotel Group present design director."
Black Folks in Design
"Black Folks in Design (BFiD) is a network that connects Black designers within and across disciplines to support each other and share professional opportunities.
"We help people understand the excellence, contributions and importance of black designers to create economic and portfolio-building opportunities for Black designers."
National Museum of African American History and Culture exhibitions
"The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture.
"The museum helps all Americans see how their story, their history, and culture are shaped and informed by global influences. It explores what it means to be an American and shares how values like resiliency, optimism and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture."
Dezeen Awards 2023
Dezeen Awards celebrates the world's best architecture, interiors and design. Now in its sixth year, it has become the ultimate accolade for architects and designers across the globe. The annual awards are in partnership with Bentley Motors, as part of a wider collaboration that will see the brand work with Dezeen to support and inspire the next generation of design talent.