January 02, 2020

Five Questions with Manuela King: President of Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey

Manuela King designs beautiful, sensitive spaces that enrich the lives of people and their communities. This guiding principle emerged through her work with her mentor, modernist landscape architecture luminary Robert Royston. Today she leads the firm he founded, Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey (RHAA).

Through thoughtful craft, environmental sensitivity, and diversity of scales, projects, and collaborators, Manuela expands her profession’s potential for artistic expression and its ability to bring humans into a more balanced living relationship with natural systems. She is, quite literally, building a better world.

She’ll be exploring some of this at January’s In/Visible Talks conference when she joins Sophie Maxwell from Pearlfisher and Designer & Food Futurist Carolien Niebling in a panel discussion on “Keeping Our World Healthy Through Design”.

Here are some of the things that make Manuela tick.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“Immersed in it 24/7. I cannot avoid thinking about design and solutions to everything I encounter, from architecture to product design to plating food.” 

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

“I was always an artist from the time I was a young child. My family had a great deal of impact on my choosing to be creative. I come from a family of artists and engineers, and it was very natural for me to move in that direction.”

How or where do you find inspiration?

“In the visual. I have a very active Pinterest page where I tag images that inspire me. I am constantly aware of things that I see and places that I visit. Travel is a great source of inspiration.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Ensuring that the creative vision for a project stays true from initial concept to construction. There are so many people a project has to pass through in the design process, and keeping the strength of the story that drives the design can be challenging.”

Who is one of your heroes and why?

“Andy Warhol. He was my cousin, and his creative approach to everything was always present in my life.” 

Bonus Round: What’s on your desk?

“Inspiring art cards, a dry erase board to keep track of what I need to do that day, and a sage stick, just in case I need it.”