Last year in Interior Design Week, an event where The One Academy’s School of Interior Design organizes activities for a selected week for students to learn the ropes of the industry, the theme ‘ID is Hot’ was used to highlight the global warming issue and how interior designers can lend their expertise in tackling this phenomenon.
This year, the School of Interior Design featured design pioneers and entrepreneurs who were brave and bold enough to start their own company in the face of many challenges during the ID Week Conference held at TGV Sunway Pyramid. In addition to obtaining knowledge, students also learnt the struggles that inspired them to follow in successful footsteps. This round, The One Academy Penang students were able to join in with their peers in Sunway.
For Alex Lee, the Founder & Creative Director of luxury interior design firm Nu Infinity, the journey to his current success was not always smooth-sailing. He considered himself rebellious for going against his mother’s wishes for him not to study interior design. But at 23, he had already started his own company. Today, he has won many local and international design awards including NewMan Creative Pioneer Award 2015, Singapore Interior Design Award, A’Design Award and many others.
Besides getting no moral support from family, interior design was also at its early stages in Malaysia. The average Joe’s perception towards an interior designer was as a construction worker or renovator. But since then, times have changed. Today, Alex takes on many residential and commercial projects as shown in his breathtaking 3D renders.
According to him, lamination is today’s most popular choice when it comes to renovation as it is scratch proof and easy to maintain. However, he tries to diversify and experiment with a lot of other materials such as solid wood, plants, real stones and cement render to produce the effect of timelessness.
Alex also thinks about how his design can complement the architecture of the structure he works on. For example, in his projects for H2O Residence, Gaya Residence, Bale Club, Ascenda Residence and The Studio, Gardens allow him to play around with natural lighting and shadow to produce different impact to distinct space and time.
Another speaker at the conference was Viinc Yew, founder of Viinc Yew Studio and The One Academy graduate. After graduating here, he furthered his studies to University of Hertfordshire, UK, which is one of The One Academy’s partners. There, he was commended by the Hertfordshire Architecture Association and is a project–based casual interior architect for his university.
Within only 2 and a half years of operating, Viinc’s studio has completed over 80 projects and counting, with an average of 3 projects per month. He advised students to understand what is expected of the market. He showed many of his successful projects to students that contains the influences of Scandinavian, midcentury (pertinent in Airbnb), Moroccan and urban styles.
Upon returning from Singapore, Kay Liew built her startup Space Matrix which is now 15 years old. As the company’s design director, she has to create distinctly unique designs for each of her clients, which is a crucial element of an interior designer’s job.
According to Alex also, every interior design is customised for every client and are never ready-made. Most important are the aspects of having expectations and understanding of space. To create better designs, he said to challenge the clients’ unrealistic requests and to break in their comfort zone and ask them personal questions which information could be used to a great advantage.
Besides having impact, interior designs should also carry reason, which was demonstrated by Alex’s idea of hiding wires in hollow steel bars. At the end, students were reminded by Kay to design with their heart, because that is how everyone wants their design to be.
[The One Academy of Communication Design was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting the region as the world’s center of creative reference. Strategically located in the thriving creative hub of Bandar Sunway, Selangor, with a branch in Georgetown, Penang, The One Academy is today a top notch leading international institute in art, design and creative multimedia, renowned with graduates who steer successful careers in creative capitals worldwide. The courses offered are Multimedia Design with Digital Media and Interactive Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Film Visual Effects, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Design, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making and Fine Arts.]