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Lay Koon Tan

Dezeen Awards 2021 judge Lay Koon Tan

Malaysian-born Lay Koon Tan and is co-founder of Nature Squared, creating unique luxury surfaces from sustainable natural materials.

Lay Koon Tan moved to the UK in 1977. She studied at the London School of Economics in the early 1980s.

As a partner with the global accounting firm Arthur Andersen, Koon Tan consulted a wide range of financial institutions in the 1990s, including FTSE 100 companies, stock exchanges and central banks. In 2000 she founded Nature Squared: an ethical business, grounded on the principles of sustainability, leveraging heritage craft skills to transform waste natural materials into luxury surfaces for diverse applications. Koon Tan embarked on this venture with Paul Hoeve, former senior colleague from Andersen.

Koon Tan and Hoeve aimed to foster a holistic approach to sustainability: enhancing livelihood in emerging countries; preserving heritage skills; and encouraging stewardship of natural resources and local communities. Trade not aid is Nature Squared’s maxim.

Nearly 20 years later, Nature Squared is synonymous with beautiful surfaces, sustainability, innovation and the highest quality, found in the most exclusive surroundings: from the dashboard of a Rolls-Royce Phantom to superyacht, residential, hospitality and commercial interiors.

Nature Squared today employs a 200 strong workforce of artisans, engineers, materiologists and project managers, a large part of whom are based in the Philippines.

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