Johnson Chou, a graduate of the University of Waterloo School of Architecture, was employed during his internship and in the mid-nineties at several architectural firms; however, he deviated briefly from his professional direction to pursue the visual arts. He co-founded Archive Inc in 1996. Gallery & Art Library in the nascent Queen West Gallery District, which was known by authors, musicians, designers, and filmmakers for its groundbreaking group shows.
It was through the Gallery that Chou’s emerging practise of design developed. For its minimalist style and transformational architectural ideas, his design for the spare, but the multi-functional gallery was recognised. The first projects by Chou were the homes and offices of Archive art patrons.
His architecture practise was launched in 1999 and incorporated in 2001. In 2003, at a symposium entitled “The Next Generations” sponsored by Metropolis Magazine in New York City, he was selected to talk about his work. Nationally and globally, Chou has taught and lectured about his work.
His work includes a retrospective show at Ballenford Books; Toronto architects and designers’ FRAME magazine exhibition and was commissioned by the Design Exchange of Toronto to create a sustainable prototype of furniture for their exhibit entitled “New Landscapes: Design Transforms Canadian Furniture” a study of contemporary Canadian furniture design and development.
He was a member of the Advisory Board of the Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art (MoCCA), a founding director of the 381 Projects of the Red Bull Gallery. He was named as an Academician of the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts (RCA) in recognition of his work in 2008. Chou’s patronage and interest in the visual arts continues. He was chosen as the Academy’s Vice-President in 2011. In 2012, Johnson Chou was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his studies. As picked and awarded by AZURE Magazine, he is actually among The Best 30 Designers in Canada”.