Ponk, a Thai architect who specializes in designing single-occupancy homes, moved to the UK in 2014 after training and working in Bangkok for more than 10 years. While working on projects, she noticed the same issue recurring: ‘Trying to collaborate with the owner, the engineers and the builder was difficult,’ she says.
After being selected for the London Design Museum's first-ever Entrepreneurs Hub, a program helping 15 founders of design-led startups to develop their ideas into viable businesses, Ponk set out to streamline processes in the industry and launched HTCH in July 2021.
The software is a multiplayer design tool, where all those involved in a project can easily view, edit and work harmoniously on one platform. Created in collaboration with Ponk's husband Michele, the founder of a UX design agency, the idea was born after he saw her struggle on a complicated project.
‘For weeks, I'd been battling to get this project done. He couldn't believe it. That's when it was obvious [that] collaborating shouldn't be this hard,’ says Ponk. ‘Architecture needed a reboot. So, we decided to reboot it.’ The pair's core mission was to ‘focus on collaboration’, using Ponk's domain expertise and Michele's knowledge of UX design to develop a playful and easy-to-navigate platform.
HTCH is also spotlighting accessibility. ‘The web is special because it's accessible to everyone. Doesn't matter if your user is on iOS, Android phone, laptop or tablet,’ says Ponk. The community-first app is set to launch a beta product to gather insight from the industry on what improvements are needed. ‘We'll release more features based on the needs of our customers.
Architects are at the heart of how we develop our product. That's how we're building a product they'll love.’