Design is an innate talent of Iskandar’s. His earliest memories center around crayons on drawing block paper, fueled by an unfettered imagination. So much so his weekends were packed with art activities, competitions and classes.
And his curiosity driven explorations didn’t stop at the edge of the paper either. As a child, he once used six boxes of tissue paper and grated styrofoam to transform his room into a “snow world”, so his siblings and cousins could come and play. He completed the experience with gloves and snowcaps even. The clean up of course involved more than an earful from his mum.
Having left his TV hosting job to pour his heart and soul into his interior architecture business, here’s Iskandar in his own words
What were the hardest parts of growing up?
I guess it was very much about mastering self-confidence and self-respect. It took me many hard years to do that but I had a real breakthrough when I was 15. One thing I know, we are here to conquer our fears and ultimately to become brave. Fear itself exists so that we can become brave. If i had a billboard on KL’s busiest road I would say, “‘YOU ARE STRONG, AND YOU WILL MAKE IT.’
While many of us are struggling silently with battles that we probably have no idea about, sometimes it’s just comforting to be reminded of our strength and be reassured of our qualities.
What makes a great interior architect?
Sensitivity and knowledge. Great interior architects will be taught to design by using one’s senses and emotions, meaning to design a space by humanizing it first.
Many feel like they can do interior designing based on what they see on design shows or Pinterest, but it actually takes a greater sensitivity to details, to maximize the values and potentials of one space and its functionalities, and not just looking aesthetically pretty.
What’s your personal style?
Minimal, neat, mid-century style of work, characterized by Scandinavian attention to details and functions.
Can you describe your creative process?
Site visiting is so important to me as it allows me to have the look and feel of the space and its environment. Design is all about the experience so I really want to capture everything that I see from the moment I step in and walk around the space. I love being playful with the existing structural features and combining them with new elements.
Upon meeting, I will talk to the client and listen to their stories and inspirations first, and then propose to them ideas and solutions that will be best based on the potentials of the site. It will be an active, engaging process with the clients throughout the project, and I always like to make them be part of the craft rather than to dictate how the space should look and feel like. With such a personal and bespoke process; often after one project ends, I will eventually become friends with all of my clients.
What about criticism of your work?
First, realize that design is truly subjective. What looks nice to me, might not necessarily look nice to you too and vice versa. But that is also the beauty in differences. We give and we take, we exchange and we compromise then we meet in between for the best of the project! An architect is someone with high sensitivity and empathy because this is what creates the magic.
Iskandar is wearing a jacket by BOSS; TAG Heuer Aquaracer Professional 200 Date