Architects and Fire Consultants

THE DESIGNFIRE is a specialist architecture and fire consultancy based in Auckland, New Zealand

history

Founded in 2010 as CASA Consulting Group, the practice was renamed THE DESIGNFIRE in 2020 as part of our 10-year anniversary to reflect our specific expertise.

THE DESIGNFIRE is now a fast-growing building consultancy with some of the best architects and consultants New Zealand has to offer.

Our two directors, Louie Kang and Ryan Shin, are NZ registered architects, each with over 15 years of experience in their fields.

Read more about “THE DESIGNFIRE” name

When we look at the design of buildings and the preventative measures we put in place to remove and reduce the risk of fire, fire engineers and consultants use the concept of ‘Design Fire’.

The definition of this concept, in the context of fire compliance within the New Zealand building industry, includes: ‘Quantitative description of assumed fire characteristics within the design scenario’ 

This concept encapsulates what we do and reflects our unique ability to combine and interweave specialist fire compliance into the practical application of Architecture and Construction.

Our Leadership

Our Team

History

Contact Us

A Team of Industry Experts:

Architects, Fire Engineers, Building Compliance Specialists, Consultants

We manage all types of projects including:

  • Residential and Commercial Development
  • Home Construction and Alteration
  • Interior Design
  • Fire Engineering Report
  • Passive Fire Design
  • Emergency Lighting Design

our leadership

Louie Kang

Managing Director | BArch ANZIA MBOINZ Fire Consultant
[email protected]

Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I have been working in the New Zealand construction industry since 2002.  During this time, I worked as a managing director, lead project architect, a contract manager, a building/fire compliance officer, and a fire consultant. I began reviewing and writing fire reports in 2005, so have been a specialist in this area for over 15 years.

What brought you into this profession?

As a teenager, I learned a great deal about science and math, but at the same time I was always interested in the beauty of shapes and forms. Architecture and the fire compliance field has the right balance of these in fulfilling my professional interest.

What are you inspired by? 

I am inspired by many things passing around me. I like to catch small details at those quick moments, store them in my mind and capture them in notes. These things then inspire me with aspects I can implement into buildings, writings and relationships around me.

What do you like about the office and the team?

I like the fact that our team has a down-to-earth quality in what we do and say. Everyone in our office is friendly and genuine.

What are you most proud of, other than work? 

Our three kids.

Ryan Shin

Technical Director | BArch ANZIA Registered Architect, Passive Fire Designer
[email protected]

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a technical-led architect and passive fire designer with over 15 years’ experience in the New Zealand construction industry. Working alongside Louie, I also work with the other THE DESIGNFIRE team as a technical leader and mentor. Within this leadership role, I have formed strong relationships with many public and private sector clients, having worked on multiple master planning and architectural projects for their facilities. More recently, I take particular interest in the subject of passive fire design where I now spend a good part of my working hours. I design a specific passive fire design system for various kind of commercial and development projects, thereby supporting other consultants and our clients. I am also a father of two children, a coffee lover, and a beginner golfer.

What brought you into this profession?

I love arts and also gadgets. Architecture is a perfect match for me to enjoy both fields – of course, in a bigger scale.

What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by great buildings, nature, and friends.

What do you like about the office and the team?

This is a busy little office with cheerful team members.

What are you most proud of, other than work?

The thing I am most proud of is that I am saved by Jesus Christ.

our team

THE DESIGNFIRE team consists of a collaboration of building experts – Trusted Architects, Building Compliance Specialists, Fire Engineers and Consultants.

THE DESIGNFIRE technical staff are tertiary qualified and fully experienced in the New Zealand building industry. Call us for an initial chat about your next project.

    Eugene Kim

    CAD Manager | NDAT Unitec Institute of Technology

    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I shifted to The DESIGNFIRE after working at my previous company for 10+ years. I felt it was time to expand my knowledge and learn from other designers. I am specialized in residential developments focusing on three essential principles – expertise, performance, and value that give to client plans that work.

    What brought you into this profession?

    I had hoped to become an architect since I watched the Hollywood film Fountainhead (1949). This was back when I was in college, so it has definitely been a profession I was eager to get into for a while.

    What are you inspired by?

    I like to find inspiration in everything around me. I think that by being a designer, I see objects and buildings and nature in a different light.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    Everyone in the team is very friendly. They are always kind and willing to help one another.

    Sean Xu

    Senior Lead Designer | BSc
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself. 

    I have 7 years of broad-ranging experience in the architectural field.  I have worked on a multitude of luxury residential developments, house recladding, land subdivisions, multi-unit terraced housing, and apartment buildings.

    I am a very conscientious worker, always delivering high-quality work for clients.

    During my free time, I enjoy playing basketball with friends and spending time with my family.

    My Philosophy is that design should always be in the service of a better life.

    What are you inspired by?

    I am inspired by things I face and work through in my daily life.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    like the collaborative environment in the office. Everyone is willing to help and share their knowledge.

    What are you most proud of, other than work?

    I am proud of the fact that I have a loving family and my girls are energetic and cute.

    Qiqi Wang

    Intermediate Architectural Designer | Dip. Interior Design Unitec Institute of Technology
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I am a graduate with a degree in Finance and Management from Massey University. I also have an interior design diploma from Unitec. I have two years of work experience as an architectural designer, specialising in residential design.

     

    What brings you into this profession?

    I like the fact that architecture delivers your ideas and imagination into reality.

     

    What are you inspired by?

    Travelling around the world always inspired me to appreciate a distinctive look and feel of architecture in a different vernacular setting. I consider it is a very noble quality of architecture.

     

    What are you most proud of other than work?

    My family.

    Ahmad Ali Akhunzada

    Intermediate Architectural Designer | BArch
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I moved to New Zealand in 2016 with 3 years of overseas experience in design. My time in New Zealand has seen me work on different scale projects, including high-end residential developments, terrace houses, new subdivisions, addition/alteration to the existing structure. I have also been key team player in the development of different day-care centres.

    In my time out of the office, I enjoy playing cricket and other outdoor sports.

    What brought you into this profession?

    My interest in drawing buildings and landscapes introduces me to this field. I believe every client is unique in a way. I like working closely with the clients, listening to their requirements and providing a better design solution that fulfils their dreams without exceeding the budget.

    What are you inspired by?

    I am inspired by the little detail’s in nature and how it’s the designers work to help sustain the environment and enhance natures details.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    I like the team and working environment as it motivates me to become a better leader and designer.

    What are you most proud of other than work?

    My Mother.

    Chloe Zhang

    Architectural Designer | BDS Auckland University of Technology
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

     I moved to New Zealand at the age of sixteen with a mind dedicated to exploring a new environment and culture.  After gaduating from Rangitoto College, I choose Spatial Design in AUT to explore further in the architecture and interior design industry. My passion for design knowledge strengthens my design, allowing me to create solutions to the challenges that we face in the current industry. In my own time, I like to try new things to expand my knowledge. Badminton, skiing, handcrafts and baking is just a few that I have picked up.

    What brought you into this profession?

    Architecture design is about enhancing the well-being of the dweller. Our work is not only to create shelter but to enhance their living quality. I believe that through mindful design and careful planning, my concepts will provide a space that can be enjoyed and loved by our clients.

    What are you inspired by?

    Learning in work and life, from everything around me, along with the magical nature and life experience are the most important sources of inspiration for me. Just as the creation of the motivation, the inspiration comes from life.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    I like the collaborative environment in the office. Everyone is willing to help, to guide on technical matters and to share their knowledge.

    What are you most proud of, other than work?

    My family.

    Emilio Ocampo

    Architectural Designer | BAS MArch (Prof), University of Auckland
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I moved to New Zealand 13 years ago, spending most of my childhood and school years here in Auckland. I have always liked creating drawings/visual works that communicate and make an impact, whether abstract or technical. I also love photography, sports, and music. With a particular interest in the guitar, having practised and performed for 10 years & counting.

    What brought you into this profession?

    My late uncle practised architecture and growing up I was close with him – so naturally that had an effect on me being drawn into architecture. But the feeling of visiting an amazing place and/or building, and the desire to be part of creating that feeling, is what draws me in the most.

    What are you inspired by?

    The people before me. Mentors that provide lesson & knowledge and exemplary works I have visited while travelling overseas.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    As my first professional role in architecture after having finished my Masters, I enjoy the learning process & environment in partaking within the firm’s projects.

    What are you most proud of, other than work?

    Myself, friends, and family.

    Camillia Kim

    Practice Manager | BSc BCom MTax
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I am a busy working mum who loves to spend time with my family when I’m not working.  I love camping and doing outdoor activities with friends and family.

    What brought you into this profession?

    My background in the commercial business field, as an accountant and tax consultant, naturally led me to help Louie and the team to run this vibrant professional business.

    What are you inspired by?

    I am inspired by doing the right things in systematic ways.  I am inspired to support the team in the company to feel valued, professional and proud of themselves at work.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    I love the trust, openness and transparency of the team culture so we can talk and solve issues together.

    What are you most proud of, other than work?

    I am proud of my faith in Jesus, who is my saviour.  I am also proud of my life being guided by him.

    Daniel Park

    Project Administrator | BSc University of Auckland
    [email protected]

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    I joined THE DESIGNFIRE soon after I graduated from university. As a project admin I’m usually involved in the planning and contract stage of each project. I also provide support resolving technical issues in the office.

    What brought you into this profession?

    I’ve always wanted to be a part of a team as a technician, and now I enjoy helping my colleagues with the smooth running of the practice.

    What are you inspired by?

    I am inspired by the people around me. Every single person is different and I like to learn many different things from them.

    What do you like about the office and the team?

    It’s a great team, I feel very comfortable working with my teammates.

    What are you most proud of, other than work?

    My family.

    our clients

    “I have worked with THE DESIGNFIRE since 2014 with projects ranging from residential developments and high-end holiday homes. THE DESIGNFIRE has indeed become not only my company’s “Chief Designer” but also my “Personal Design Adviser”. THE DESIGNFIRE was engaged for all of our high-end residential developments and all of my holiday homes in Auckland. They were able to help me as a single point of responsibility with initial concept designs, material and colour selections right through to implementation and build, all within a set budget and timescale. I gained two fundamental benefits from employing THE DESIGNFIRE.

    One is the design itself. They were able to take a few basic and rather uncertain ideas of mine and show how they could be realised to best effect. They put forward the most incredible ideas for floor plans, spatial quality, interior design, and special architectural features. They were particularly amazing at coming up with solutions, and improvising, for the areas I hadn’t considered. Sourcing everything would have taken me weeks, or never at all. I have to say that they have a wonderful & trendy taste of design ideas. They always give you choices and add some interesting things in that you just wouldn’t have thought of, but that works beautifully. Another one is commercial benefits, our clients were all extremely happy with the design solution in our development, and they believe our product is different from those by other developers. I believe THE DESIGNFIRE’s design had some good influence here. Speaking of my own holiday houses, while I’ve only got to enjoy a few days in a year, most of the other times were rented out short term, and the return has been amazing, the stylish houses that THE DESIGNFIRE created generated huge interest and made my houses really popular in the area.”

    —Frank Li, Luxury Infinity Investment Group Limited

    “We employed THE DESIGNFIRE as the lead consultant to get the Building Consent on our two stories 40 units Motel development in Oamaru. THE DESIGNFIRE was led by Louie Kang.

    In their capacity as the lead consultants, THE DESIGNFIRE was required to coordinate with several specialist consultants including Geotechnical Engineers, Structural Engineers, Civil Works designers and planners to compile all necessary documentation to submit the Building Consent application to Waitaki District Council, for the proposed development.

    In Oamaru, in the recent past, there has been no such project of this magnitude had been proposed to the council. Hence it was quite new to the staff at the consenting authorities to deal in several specialist areas. This, in return, became an extremely challenging task for THE DESIGNFIRE to make timely technical decisions & professional judgements when dealing with the Consenting Authorities.

    THE DESIGNFIRE has shown the highest degree of professionalism, particularly Louie Kang in dealing with various parties to get the Building Consent within budget and time. We are very satisfied with THE DESIGNFIRE’s performance.”

    —Hari De Alwis, Goodland Development Limited

    “I am Harland Murray from Statesman Projects. We are the main contractor for Wang Trading.

    Working alongside CCG was easy; it couldn’t have been better. They handled the council work, provided faster responses to minor variation and the team on site found the plans easy to read. We did have challenges, with the change of specifications for a couple of products. After through the job we had to hold up, waiting for the consents for the minor changes. CCG handled all of this work, and we found it easy.

    CCG handled the architectural and the passive fire, which made it easy for us. We had a few challenges on-site with passive fire, and due to the fact that we’re dealing with one team, that was resolved quickly and efficiently.

    We definitely would recommend CCG. We look forward to working with them again in the future. They are easy to work with, and we really enjoyed working with them.”

    —Harland Murray, Statesman Projects 

    “THE DESIGNFIRE was recommended to us via work, and we loved their way of just listening to what we wanted, not forcing anything on us and were always at the end of the phone when we needed to talk to them.

    You were listening and helping us get the best house we could have. When I compare it to other similar homes on our street, that had the same concept plan, I’m so so so happy we used THE DESIGNFIRE and changed it all around. We even swapped the whole house around by having the master bedroom in the front upstairs so we could maximise the view of the boats and golf club. Thanks, THE DESIGNFIRE we love our house.”

    —Jacqui, proud house owner

    “THE DESIGNFIRE has worked closely with KN Building on numerous projects. They have always delivered on what has been agreed to and are a cost-effective architectural solution. They offer the complete package from simple designs to design and build with all engineering aspects taken care of through their network of partners they have formed over the years. THE DESIGNFIRE is KN Building’s first choice when architectural elements are required for any project.”

    —J Boom, KN Building

    “My name is Farzbod Taefi. I am the director of Skills Update Training Institute.

    About five years ago, in conjunction with NMIT, we purchased a site on 42 Upper Queen Street. This building needed a lot of renovation and make-over, so we handed the design amongst a number of architectural firms, and the most attractive design came from THE DESIGNFIRE.

    We found them very flexible and receptive to our comments and ideas. I think it was the winning card for us as the client. Getting the permits through the council is not an easy task. They had good contacts in the council, they were well known to the council, and that really speeded up the process. I think if we’ve chosen another group of architects, this project may have taken twice as long. We have recommended THE DESIGNFIRE to many people and referred them to Louie. You know the sample of his work is here, and people can see what they can get.”

    —Farzbod Taefi, Director, Skills Update Training Institute