Designer Spotlight: Free Space Intent
You might have seen him on Mediacorp’s home and décor variety shows, playing judge and giving his expert opinions. Meet Raymond Seow, the Design Director of interior design firm Free Space Intent.
Having been an interior designer for 15 years, he had the opportunity to design the home of local filmmaker Royston Tan. Despite having such celebrity credentials under his belt, he remains a down-to-earth and approachable person. We speak to him about his design preferences, and what Free Space Intent is all about.
(Raymond is standing at the back, in yellow shirt)
Qanvast: Please share with us more about your firm.
Raymond (R): Our team put a lot of thought into coming up with creative designs, and improving a homeowner’s ideal décor concept. We do not simply follow the set of requirements given to us by homeowners, but we will break their needs down and make it better.
Homeowners who require our services have to be comfortable with paying a design fee, as we work in a small team and spend a lot of time coming up with creative designs. Our design fee is relatively inexpensive (ranges from $1,500 to 2,500) compared with other firms. We choose to do projects that would bring out the best in our company, and are in alignment with the client’s interests.
Qanvast: We see a lot of bold, artistic strokes in your design. Is this the style of Free Space Intent?
R: Many homeowners associate us with retro-theme projects, because we use a lot of bright colours and people tend to associate bright colours with the retro style. But we don’t focus on that; we actually do various styles such as industrial, quirky, and even modern luxury.
Qanvast: What is your personal take on interior design?
R: Personally I like bright colours, especially orange. The minimalist, sleek style is not for me; it’s too bare and clinical for my liking. I like bright colours coming together; and ‘arranged chaos’ in a house; which is akin to the editorial design of a Japanese magazine. At first glance, the magazine seems to be full of things shouting at you, but when you look at it carefully, they are all very neatly arranged and there’s a certain style to it. It’s very different from European magazines which tend to feature a clean minimalistic look.
(Home to Raymond)
Qanvast: There is a rising trend in clean lines, and the uncluttered look at home. What are your thoughts on this interior style?
R: If a client has such a request, I will first make sure that this is what they wanted and let them know what this style is about, because there are many minimalist-style photos with a ‘Pinterest-worthy’ look on social media have undergone a certain degree of editing. The decor looks nice in pictures but may not be practical in real life.
Once you move in, the clutter will eventually set in and homeowners would start to know better when they have to deal with the upkeep of it. To put in simply, it’s better to have a design that caters to your lifestyle needs.
The minimalist look also requires lots of storage solutions to hide the clutter. The Japanese are really good at hiding their clutter to keep their home looking neat and minimalistic. Sometimes, you may even need to spend more on carpentry for your storage needs, and this may rack up additional renovation costs.
Qanvast: Give us a piece of advice for new homeowners.
R: It’s very important to have a skeleton for spatial planning. Work on the site planning, take key measurements, and then plan the basic items that would be placed in the room. Give the designer some time to put together a concrete master plan.
Homeowners should not be hasty and head straight for a design that they want. You need to understand whether the space works for your lifestyle. In terms of design ideas, you should be sure of what you want. If you don’t know what you want, go for a simple decor and do home improvements later. Design is always evolving, so there’s no such thing as an evergreen style.
To view more works designed by Free Space Intent, check out their portfolio as well as homeowner reviews on the Qanvast app now. The free Qanvast app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play.