Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher (2020) follows South African filmmaker and Sea Change Project founder Craig Foster as he spends a year forging a close bond with a wild octopus while diving every day in a kelp forest near Cape Town, an experience that helps him appreciate the fragility of nature and the importance of connection. Otto Ng, co-founder and design director of innovative Hong Kong architectural studio LAAB, which has worked on projects including K11 Musea and Victoria Dockside, and f22 foto space, explains how it changed his life. I stayed put most of the time that year (2020) due to the pandemic. I’m glad that we have streaming technologies. I saw the film on Netflix when it first came out. I was drawn by the title. I like watching documentaries in general, not just about nature. For me, documentaries offer a helpful point of departure to understand the world. Not everything shown in documentaries is “reality”, of course, but I enjoy seeing how different directors construct their films to offer their versions of the truth. I like going deeper into a subject matter to gain a better understanding from different sources. I learned a lot about the intelligence of octopuses after watching My Octopus Teacher . The documentary is beautifully executed. I was really moved by the power of nature – how we are part of nature with our own cycle of life and how serendipity brings us together. I was impressed by Craig Foster’s commitment to going to the water every day and trying to understand other species and their lives. I was also moved by the pure beauty of the relationship built upon a trust that overcomes the difference in species. It makes me think deeply about our relationships, our humanity and our civilisation. Would there still be war if we truly listened to each other and learned from each other? The documentary taught me to be humble: in front of my work, in front of people and in front of nature. One thing that really stuck with me is the trust built between Foster and the octopus. It takes a lot of humility and commitment to learn the language of another species, how they live their lives and what they are trying to do. I need to collaborate with a lot of people at work – colleagues, clients and practitioners of architecture, design and other fields – and I think that great designs begin with good communication. Taking the time and humility to understand everyone is tiring. Especially when we are busy, we tend to make a point without really understanding what other people think – we see but we don’t observe; we hear but we don’t listen. My Octopus Teacher reminds me of the importance of humility – it is the starting point of developing trust in relationships.