With over two decades of experience in the interior design business, Selina Tay, founder and principal designer of Collective Designs, is a stalwart in her own right. Here, she shares insights gained on her journey.
Selina Tay, founder and principal designer of Collective Designs, is a stalwart in her own right.
M aking a difference. That’s what Selina Tay of Collective Designs keeps in mind when designing her clients’ living spaces. “I want them to feel the desire to be at home and to spend time with family, to enjoy cooking and eating together more often,” she opines. “It’s about creating opportunities for more interaction. I want my clients to feel inspired and invite friends home for a meal, instead of dining out. I would also like them to feel that their home is their refuge from the outside world!”
Collective Designs was founded in 1991 and has come a long way, but not without Selina going through the proverbial school of hard knocks. She put herself through a year of interior design school, while working at a construction and home materials supplier company for three years. “It was with this company that I learnt about materials and their limitations, both in construction and usage,” she recalls. “I did that for a year but was given minimal room for creativity. I left soon after for a carpentry and construction company to start up its interior design department where I was given free rein. I also pursued my diploma in ne arts at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts concurrently. For additional income at the company, I did its invoicing, administration, accounts and other miscellaneous paperwork. I learnt to run a company from my ex-boss whom I regard as my mentor.”
Today Collective Designs is a boutique-size rm with a staff of 18, comprising designers, CAD designers, soft furnishing/ decor and project/site teams, along with a back-end support team.
How did you start out?
I started out as a consultancy. I already had a number of clients wanting me to design their homes. I was able to see projects through from start to end as I had a lot of industry contacts and I was able to run multiple projects at the same time, with the best contractors and carpenters at the time.
“I want my clients to feel inspired and invite friends home for a meal, instead of dining out.”