Vibrant jewel tones laced with pops of metallic, luxurious layers of texture, pattern and punch. These are just a few ways to describe Designer Amanda Lwanga’s bold and intentional designs with plenty of mid-century influences mixed in with her own signature style. With over 12 years of experience in design and project management, Lwanga completed her Bachelor of Applied Science in Environmental Systems Engineering in 2007 before gaining her Masters of Advanced Studies in Architecture in 2016. After a decade in her field she left her industry position to pursue her passion: opening her design firm Linger Design Studio in 2017.
“I decided there was no time like the present to just jump with two feet and really build my own firm,” says Lwanga.
“I’ve just kind of knitted all of the pieces of experience together, the project management, the engineering, the architecture as well as the social and ecological perspective. That’s really what Linger design studio is, a combination of little bits and pieces that I’ve collected along the way.”
Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Lwanga immigrated with her family to Regina at the age of six. “I went from the aqua blue coasts of Kenya to the bright green wheat ‘coasts’,” Amanda jokes. Her well traveled background shows through in her work, influencing designs for clients across Canada.
Lwanga had the opportunity to participate in a 2019 Vignettes installation as part of the Works Arts and Design Festival. It was a collaborative effort with Artist, Cass Miller, General Contractor, Matt Weeks, Gerald Dixon from Iconic Cabinets and Furniture Designer, Kelvin Soo.
Artist: Cass Miller, Photo Credit: Romy Young
“I really wanted to do something satirical on the way we use social media so I came up with the idea that each patron who visited the installation would be our muse,” says Lwanga. “So we integrated the use of a lot of mirrors into the space and it was a progression of how people need to document their experiences on Instagram.”
Being self-employed amid a global pandemic is a journey that certainly isn’t for the faint of heart but Amanda says it hasn’t stopped her from creating meaningful designs for an even broader audience. “COVID has definitely opened up a conversation about how we work, live and play.”
“We’ve had the opportunity to work with clients on design across Canada and it has been a real joy to see how people socialize in different cities too.”
Monochromatic schemes and traditional designs are far from this creative’s comfort zone. “I call myself a maximalist. It’s about not just filling the space with a bunch of different things but I really feel like there’s power in people's stories and knitting together the things that bring them meaning.” says Lwanga.
“I like to focus on things people find meaningful and historically where they came from, and their heritage. We’re really big on sustainable design which means we need pieces to be meaningful and have longevity while still being playful and interesting,” says Lwanga.
“It’s really about aligning with what a clients long term goals are.”
Inspired by her background and educational experience, Lwanga also takes pride in working from a community that seems to celebrate small business in a big way. “The people in Edmonton are all so down to earth. A lot of people are self-made. Edmonton is a mix of government, industry and we also have a strong arts community. More than other cities I really love the entrepreneurial spirit that Edmonton has.”
We’d like to thank Amanda for participating in this month’s designer feature. To find out more about her work, visit Linger Design Studio here.