Designer Spotlight: Meet The Power Couple of Prozfile Design
Eight years after its inception in 2010, local interior design company Prozfile continues to innovate with original designs fit for modern times – from Muji-inspired dwellings to a revamped loft-style shophouse.
(Prozfile designers Roy Poh and Cadine Lim, back row, fourth and fifth from left)
In this edition of Designer Spotlight, we sat down with the minds behind the company, Roy Poh and Cadine Lim, to find out why learning is their secret to success and how it has shaped their approach to design.
Qanvast: Could you tell us how you got started with designing homes?
Roy (R): I started out really young, I think when I was 24?
I have a friend, who is also an interior designer, and his work inspired me to begin designing homes.
However, what really keeps me going is the satisfaction of completing a project. You just feel an immense sense of achievement when a home that you planned, designed and worked on comes to life.
Cadine (C): Unlike Roy who has been in the industry right from the start, I was originally from the shipping line.
We were still dating at that point of time, and I got to learn about interior design while helping him out. Eventually, I found myself attracted to this line of work because of how different it was from regular 9-to-5 jobs.
Just like Roy, I find the sense of experience of building something from scratch really satisfying, and it's also why I agreed to join Prozfile back in 2010.
Qanvast: How has running an interior design company for close to a decade changed you?
R: Basically, I feel that I have become a more detail-oriented person. When it comes to designing homes, it's important to take note of their owners. I don't mean their needs – of course, that's important – but rather their physical build.
For instance, if you are designing a wardrobe, it's a given that the internal components, such as the hanging bar and drawers, should be at a height that is accessible.
But things get tricky when you need to find a balance for couples with a noticeable height difference. In this manner, I feel that I have become more sensitive towards the needs of others.
C: I would say that I have become a more hands-on person. I got my interior design experience and knowledge about the technical stuff by learning on the job. Aside from professional part-time courses and self-learning, Roy taught me most of what I know while we were working together.
Not to boast, but this (job) is something that I am genuinely proud of.
When I was younger, I had dreams of joining NAFA (Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts) to pursue a career in art. Even though I wasn't accepted in the end, I am able to sketch interior plans from hand today, which is why I believe that anything is possible as long as you have the will to learn.
Qanvast: On the other hand, what hasn't changed since Prozfile was first started?
R: One thing that hasn't changed is the trust that we inspire in our customers. I have a client who has worked with me across three different projects; once when I was still at my first company and twice after Prozfile was started.
C: As much as I believe in the strength of Prozfile's reputation and portfolio, I feel that personal branding matters too.
Like in Roy's case, I believe that clients will stay loyal when you have a reputation for delivering quality results – this aspect of our business hasn't changed since day one.
Qanvast: Out of all of Prozfile's projects, which one do you find most memorable?
R: It's hard to choose a favourite, because there's something to like about every project. But if I had to choose one, I would say the Nclave at Telok Kurau.
I remember this project because it's not often that the owners give you free play over the entire home's design.
Interesting features that we created for the house are the outdoor bath, which was made by building a Chengai wood structure in the yard, and the master bedroom en suite that features a transparent glass partition instead of a conventional wall.
Also, for the study room, we constructed a wraparound table with storage. When you look in from the living room, this creates a 'picture frame' effect that draws attention to the origami-inspired decoration mounted on the (study's) wall.
Qanvast: Design is always in flux. How do you ensure that your work stays fresh and relevant?
C: We do plenty of research on the latest trends in countries like Europe, Australia and Taiwan, to name a few. Basically, interior design is like fashion where there are cycles of popularity and you have to know what is popular at the moment.
In the past, we used to buy plenty of magazines to find out about the latest trends, but because most content is available online today, we tend to do our learning on the Internet. It's more convenient, and this way we get to save paper too!
Qanvast: Moving forward, what future plans do you have for Prozfile?
R: We are currently looking into new ways to present our portfolio, perhaps through videos.
There's something about the challenge of filming that we are attracted to. I have come to realise that it is alot harder than taking photos because you can't take things out of the frame just to get that perfect shot.
C: We are also planning to bring younger designers on board. Learning is an important part of Prozfile's identity, and I believe that both the young and old have knowledge to share with each other.