TIME­LESS STYLE

Vic­tor Ng, the di­rec­tor of in­te­rior de­sign firm El­e­ments ID, dis­cusses the im­por­tance of am­bi­ence, space-plan­ning as well as the de­sign phi­los­o­phy that in­forms his projects

Singapore Tatler Homes - - STYLE -

How would you de­scribe your de­sign phi­los­o­phy?

I aim to craft lux­u­ri­ous and time­less in­te­ri­ors that will stand the test of time. Bear­ing in mind that most home­own­ers will re­side in their abode for at least seven to 10 years, my team and I want to cre­ate a look that stays fresh yet doesn’t be­come dated eas­ily. De­sign shouldn’t be too dis­tract­ing. We also try to avoid us­ing trendy pieces, as trends come and go quickly. The Ba­li­nese style was trend­ing 10 to 15 years ago; to­day, cafe-style in­te­ri­ors and the Scan­dichic look are very pop­u­lar among younger clients. Rather than go all out with th­ese pop­u­lar themes, my ap­proach is to keep the in­te­rior mod­ern and pair it with ac­cents from th­ese trends.

Which as­pects of in­te­rior de­sign speak to you the most?

I place great im­por­tance on space­plan­ning and am­bi­ence. The lay­out should be the first thing we work on—to min­imise wastage of space. Some ar­chi­tects may only con­sider the fa­cade without think­ing about the in­te­rior. En­gage an in­te­rior de­signer to work to­gether with the ar­chi­tect from the start, to avoid the hassle of hack­ing walls, mov­ing power points and other rec­ti­fi­ca­tion work that may need to be done. You must also be able to feel the in­tended am­bi­ence in the end prod­uct. Am­bi­ence isn’t easy to achieve. You can’t just get a con­trac­tor, show him a few photos, and ex­pect him to recre­ate that co­he­sive look and feel. From the space-plan­ning to the care­ful se­lec­tion of ma­te­ri­als, colours, di­men­sions, fur­ni­ture and light­ing— every­thing needs to come to­gether to cre­ate a co­her­ent look and feel.

Which ar­eas of the home tend to be poorly de­signed? How can th­ese spa­ces be put to bet­ter use?

Some of the most ne­glected ar­eas in­clude the bal­cony, which be­comes used as a laun­dry area or even a stor­age space. In fact, the bal­cony can be­come a seam­less ex­ten­sion of the in­te­rior; turn it into an out­door din­ing deck or a lounge area. In some large homes, the own­ers may in­clude a guest room, which is hardly ever used. We’ll try to find alternative uses for such rooms, and sug­gest con­vert­ing th­ese spa­ces into an out­door gar­den or a shower and steam room. For long cor­ri­dors, we’ll in­clude shelv­ing, art­works and sculp­tures where pos­si­ble to max­imise the use of the space.

Which ma­te­ri­als are more suit­able for the lo­cal cli­mate?

There are many high-qual­ity repli­cas that look like real wood and stone, yet which are much eas­ier to main­tain in our cli­mate. To me, syn­thetic ma­te­ri­als are the fu­ture of floor­ing. Be­fore start­ing on any project, we’ll ex­plain the pros and cons of us­ing syn­thetic ma­te­ri­als ver­sus nat­u­ral wood. For in­stance, while real wood floor­ing needs to be var­nished ev­ery year, the in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar vinyl floor­ing is weather- and scratch-re­sis­tant.

What are some ways of bring­ing lo­cal flavour into your abode?

Art­works, an­tiques and sculp­tures are an easy way of adding Asian­in­spired de­sign to your in­te­ri­ors while keep­ing the look time­less. We also work with a gallery, Ode to Art, to rec­om­mend and se­lect pieces for clients. A trop­i­cal theme is an­other way of sub­tly adding a lo­cal touch to your home. This can be achieved with the use of wood while ex­plor­ing var­i­ous ways of bring­ing na­ture into your home.

Tell us more about your most re­cent project.

It in­volved de­sign­ing the gen­eral ar­eas of The Peak @ Cairn­hill II,

FOR A FRESH YET MOD­ERN LOOK, KEEP THE IN­TE­RIOR SIM­PLE AND PAIR IT WITH AC­CENTS BASED ON CUR­RENT TRENDS

which in­clude the main lobby, gym and sky bar. In do­ing so, we stepped out of our role as in­te­rior de­signer a lit­tle and ven­tured into the ar­chi­tec­tural arena. We iden­ti­fied two un­der­utilised com­mon ar­eas and turned them into func­tional, value-added spa­ces. We re­moved a very tall planter, merged the walk­way and ex­ist­ing space, and used book-matched white mar­ble for the floor­ing; this be­came a bright and invit­ing lobby area. We also added an out­door gym, yoga gar­den and sky bar to the com­mon ar­eas on the 14th floor to make the most of the pre­mium city views.

How has the in­dus­try changed since you started?

Tech­nol­ogy has changed the way we present our con­cepts to our clients. Be­fore long, we may be able to “walk” a client through the pro­posed in­te­rior de­sign by us­ing vir­tual re­al­ity. This will make it eas­ier for clients to vi­su­alise and ex­pe­ri­ence their dream space—and prob­lems can be re­solved be­fore the ac­tual work takes place.

LEFT TO RIGHT Vic­tor Ng, di­rec­tor of El­e­ments ID; this re­sortin­spired home was named as the Best Lux­ury Con­cept at Sin­ga­pore Tatler Homes’ A Cel­e­bra­tion of De­sign 2017

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