here are the notes we share on air at 938Live FM with Andre Ahchak – Singapore interior design profession and practice
@Homebase Program at 1:30pm – 2:00pm.
Welcome to the Second part of the home base on 938Live.
Interior Design is the art or process of designing the interior and sometimes include the exterior of a room or building. Certainly, it is also a multifaceted profession that include conceptual development, communicating with the stake holders of a project, management and execution of the design.
In the Singapore Interior Design Industry, there is an estimate of close to 500 graduates from the Polytechnics or Pte institutions entering the industry workforce every year. What actually constitute to be a qualified Interior Designer? How can we draw the line clearer so that these industry can be better recognised with professionalism been uphold.
We have with us Thierryson Chua and Perry Ng, council members of Interior Design Confederation Singapore (IDCS) and Stephen Goh from Metaphor Studio – who is one of the award winner of 2015 Design Excellence Award – Residential Design Category-“Pte House” held last week.
Andre’ : I remember in one of the session previously, a caller called in and mentioned that they engage an interior designer who charge design fees, yet they did not received any drawings and somehow later, some dispute arise when they found out that their designer is not trained in interior designing. This certainly create some interesting topic. How can someone qualify as an interior designer? Do they need to have some sort of Certifications or experience or affilated to some Organisation just like the Professional Engineers or Architects?
Thierryson: An interior designer need to possess certain competencies. One of the key to build competencies is through education. Technically, to be a qualify interior designer, you would need to possess a minimum qualification such as a diploma in interior design, which would likely take you 3 years to complete the education. Of course, once they enter the workforce, they will apply their knowledge and skills which will help them grow and develop along the pathway while acquring experience.
Andre’ – Perry I understand you are also an academia by profession, would you be able to let us know how student will trained during the 3 years tenor?
Perry: Formal interior design training develops skills and knowledge in 3 aspects: Art, Science and Technology. A trained interior designer is able to address (1) users’ experience and visual aesthetic of the interior space, (2) understand the ergonomics, technical requirements of interior spaces (3) the development of technology for safety & health.
- Q) What are the challenges you face apparently being a local designer? – Stephen
Stephen: Professional Recognition. I believe I’m speaking on behalf of most of the practicing design profession.
In term of interior design, till today the general public, are still unable to differentiate the contractor’s scope of work of a contractor vs that of a designer.
A designer provide the professional design service to protect the interest of an owner / client which comprise of site analysis, program of requirements, design & preparation of valid construction document for tender process, because the importance of construction documents which is also the only legal document (not the quotation) in the renovation industry for a contractor to execute a project efficiently. The designer charges a fee on these services.
Therefore, a good designer must be knowledgeable enough to advice on creative solution, preparing valid technical drawings / construction documents as well as envision the aesthetic value to the entire interior space as an overall design scheme.
An appointed contractor must be able to execute the designer’s idea thru the construction document which should be explained & understood by the user / owner before the starting of any work on site.
In Singapore, probably 90% of contractors name their company with the word ‘DESIGN’ since the word ‘DESIGN’ is not a regulated word in ROC. Thus, it has been obscurely used, misleading many homeowners.
No doubt that the contractor are able to provide some basic practical advice after their years of working experience but when it comes to creativity, it includes a more in-depth problem solving solution which at the same time incorporate the aesthetic value to the solution, that become the essential part of a design process. This knowledge is not easily adopted by any amateur.
- Perry, Would you be able to tell us more about Interior design Confederation Singapore (IDCS)?
Perry: IDCS was formed in 2003, with the merger of 2 professional Organisation; Interior Designers Associations and the Society of Interior Designers (Singapore) which possess similar goals and objectives.
One of our objectives is to promote a clearer understanding of these professions and to raise the level of professionalism in the interior design community.
The core members of IDCS are individual designers qualified to provide interior designs and related services. Professionals within the confederation’s membership provide these services under a wide range of circumstances across all living, recreational and commercial sectors.
IDCS is affiliated to the international Federation of Interior Architects/ Designers and Asia Pacific Space Designers Alliance with members from different countries. We do also engage with the Government agencies on talks pertaining to industry matters.
- Q) What are the criteria to be a member than? How does being a member of IDCS benefit the stakeholders?
Perry: To be a professional member, you will need to be qualified with diploma in interior designing and a min. 3 years working experience. We do have another category which is the associate members. This category is for members who may not have achieved 3 years of work experience or perhaps who have experience but only possess a certification in interior design.
Few benefits as members of IDCS:
- They are recognised as qualified professional to provide interior design services.
- IDCS works closely with the industrial players to hold talks and events which help and contribute to knowledge building for our members and partners.
- IDCS also works with the Government Agency such as the DesignSingapore Council, who constantly provide us updates on the latest policy or grants which greatly benefit the practictioner or their busineses. Many businesses are not aware of the availability of such grants or policy. These is one area how IDCS share knowledge to their members and eventually raise the standard of practice to the industry.
- One of the major events organised by IDCS is the Design Excellence Award (DEA). This award is to recognise, endorse and celebrate local professional practitioner’s achievements as well as those of talented, budding designers from the art and design institutions. We had just held our 2015’s DEA last Wednesday.
- IDCS participate in international and regional events to promote the capabilities of Singapore interior designers.
- IDCS also plan to work on professional development short courses to provide continue learning opportunities to interior designers.
- Q) Stephen, congratulation to you been the one of the winner of 2015 ‘Design Excellence Award – Residential Design Category-“Pte House” held last week. Tell us more how do you feel.
Stephen: It is an honor to be one of the recipient of DEA in the category of our expertise – Residential
With this award, we felt like we have arrived in another milestone of our journey on developing creative solution for a family home to enhance their quality of life.
Question : How Significant is this Award to You?
The Singapore Design Excellent Award is considerably the most important Interior Design Award organize in Singapore by IDCS which is also the only professional body to promote the interior design profession and constantly elevate the quality of local designers.
This year, the DEA award committee of IDCS stretched their effort all the way to invite main figures/judges from the local design industry as well as internationally. People like Richard Ho, Prof Gyung Sook Kim, Peter Tay and others, Their credentials are internationally recognized.
Unlike many other Local Award which are usually organized by the commercial sector that benefits whoever sponsoring the event based on the highest bids.
That includes the scam of the judging committee who are mainly comprised of non-design trained individuals and businessman. Usually those award helm with generous budget to publicize on major medias.
Have you have the intention to grow internationally?
Stephen – At this point we have already extended our design service to our neighboring country like Malaysia & Indonesia. We hope to use those portfolios to participate in similar type of awards within their specific country or the Asia Pacific, whenever available. Only with these recognitions, we could feel more equip to take up challenges internationally if opportunities arise.
WE HAVE DISCUSSED ABOUT THE CHALLENGE IN THE INTERIOR DESIGN INDUSTRY, THEREFORE, DO YOU THINK THAT THIS PROFESSION NEED TO BE REGULATED OR GET ACCREDITATED.
Thierryson: IDCS have always been an advocate in promoting professionalism. We are a self-regulated non-profit Organisation. We have a tedious process of due diligence checks or interview to ensure the quality of our memberships before the applicants are admitted to become our members, Therefore, we are certain that members of IDCS will uphold their professionalism to ensure that IDCS is a trusting Organisation .
We certainly believe that an accreditation programs will deeply benefit all stakeholders especially the practitioner and provide a pathway to help those who are not yet qualified to become a professional in this industry. Wheras for those who are qualified, they will continue to build upon their competencies to improve our local standard in the profession. We are working very closely with DesignSingapore Councils, to assist them on the development of an accreditation programs to our Industry.