AN EMPATHIC AND FUNCTIONAL APPROACH COUPLED WITH SAVVY USE OF DIGITAL TOOLS SHAPES THE PROJECTS AND DESIGN PHILOSOPHY OF SC + DC
When it comes to crafting your interiors, the possibilities can seem endless. This abundance of information can be overwhelming, especially for a new homeowner. “Most people do not get to renovate or redesign their home that often. If a home is badly designed and poorly planned, the owners often have to live with it for years to come,” says Astley Ng, regional creative director of SC + DC. His practice aims to make the design process easier and less intimidating for clients. “Our projects are built on empathy, and this underlines our entire process. We strive to understand the needs of our clients, while educating them and giving them the opportunities to make more informed decisions,” explains Ng, who has more than two decades of experience in the industry. Each project starts with a consultation at the SC + DC showroom and studio, which is equipped with digital tools to help homeowners personalise and realise their plans for their dream home.
Ng prides his firm’s use of technology, which can aid the clients’ awareness on the spatial concerns of an existing home before the start of its renovation and design proper. This begins with a digital scanning tool that reads the space and captures it in a three-dimensional file that makes the renderings more accurate. “Beams, air-conditioning, piping and other site concerns can be spotted early, as we are able to recreate these spatial dimensions accurately in our drawn proposals,” explains the director. Another digital tool employed by SC + DC is its use of Virtual Reality (VR), which the firm has been using since 2016. Through the use of a VR headset, homeowners get to enjoy an immersive experience of the proposed design—it also enables them to make instant changes to the colour and material palette. “The designer is able to talk you through the design and change it on the spot, if you prefer a different colour for your walls or another material for your flooring, be it laminate, veneer tiles and so on,” shares the director. “You get to ‘test’ these combinations in real time, and you’re able to change the materials immediately, as long as these selections are carried within our digital library.”
In line with Ng’s forward-thinking approach, the showroom has been fitted with Amazon’s Alexa Smart Home, which includes voice-activated controls, as well as an interactive mirror display in the bathroom. The mirror lights up when you step into the bathroom, and it features a navigable and interactive screen with controls for the space; the team is also able to manage such lighting and air-conditioning settings remotely on their smartphones. “We’re trying to demonstrate how the old can coexist with the new in our showroom, which is situated in a conservation shophouse that’s infused with modern flair and technology,” explains Ng.
Beyond these tech-savvy tools, the human element is just as vital. To the director, it’s as important to anticipate the changing needs and lifestyle habits of the homeowners. In one instance, Ng advised a young couple to plan ahead for their growing family. “They wished to create a huge master bedroom with a pantry area, and integrate a washing machine into their walk-in wardrobe,” shares Ng. “They did plan on having kids soon, but they forgot about making space for a cot in their bedroom. So I asked them to rethink their requirements, with the realities of parenting in mind.” Through Ng’s practical and styleconscious approach, his practice caters to the owner’s user experience in every design detail. Mirrored surfaces, for instance, should be treated with a coating to minimise the appearance of handprints, while the strategic use of glass on furniture pieces and walls can improve the sense of space, even within small apartments. The designer would also share the following advice to wouldbe mums: “platform beds are not as friendly for pregnant women, as they’re not at the sitting height— it will become more challenging for them to settle into bed in the later stages of pregnancy, .” He sums up: “Well-designed homes should not only look good— these dwellings must be functional, exhibit character and tell meaningful stories in a space that their inhabitants call home.”
THIS PAGE Oak gives the home an inviting warmth; mirrored panels add to a sense of space in this apartment; black lines added to rafters at the SC + DC showroom highlight historic details of the conservation shophouse
OPPOSITE PAGE The oak parquet false ceiling is a characterful touch within the home’s modern interior