Photos by Andrew Loh
How does one distinguish your designing style from the rest?
When someone looks at all these projects that I’ve worked on, it’s distinctive they know they’re all from me; I mean, partly it’s because I know I’m not doing anything that different from the rest (laughs), so it’s not that hard to spot. I’ve been trying to skew towards the Parisian Art Deco-style for my designs lately, but it always has to be graceful for me. It can be as crazy as you want with the materials, but as long as it’s done up in a clean manner, that’s me.
What are you busy with these days?
The co-working space Common.Ground has been the biggest client that I love to work with, and they’re going to be keeping me busy for a while with their other outlets opening up around the Klang Valley – in Mont Kiara, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Bukit Bintang and Citta Mall. Besides that, Podgy and The Banker has moved out of Hartamas, and I’ve been commissioned to work on the design for its new outlet, alongside personal commissions for the owners’ homes of the aforementioned clients.
How do you get started with each project?
The materials we are to use come first for me: what are the materials that we have not used, and what are the other materials that complement. I’d say it’s like putting together an outfit. You mix and match items that you haven’t worn before with say, something you wear regularly, and you see how it goes. For example, for the current Common.Ground outlet in Damansara Heights, I’ve always wanted to use grilled glass panels that were commonly seen in offices of past decades. How the other materials come about depends on the client’s needs and the demographic they’re drawing in: it needs to be slightly corporate, but at the same time, we don’t want it to be rigid, but instead, cosy. And of course, you wouldn’t want to use the same anchor materials elsewhere.
Are there any materials that you’d constantly be drawn back to?
There will always be rattan in my designs. It’s a natural texture, so it provides an instant soulful and intimate ambiance. Same goes for plants as well, which I use as frequent as rattans. Also, we live in the tropics, and it adds that tropical flair to where we are. You wouldn’t want something too out of place, you know, too Scandi or too wintry.
What would you say is a common mistake when it comes to decorating a space?
I’ve seen designs that carry too many ideas at one go. Everything gets too excited and in your face. Sure, it expands on the creativity of the designer, but it does get overwhelming when there’s too much going on. Not everything has to be expensive and overly done to seem “stylish”. You don’t necessarily need to spend too much time, money and materials on a space, but rather focus on one or two key ideas you want to work with, and expand on these ideas.