Para.graph’s Jack Ng tell us about his team and their latest project – a revamped family home with carefully-planned features.
“Someone had actually mistook us as a family before,” says Jack Ng, the managing director of Para.graph. “Our then-new neighbour came over to visit our showroom for the first time and she thought we were siblings running a business together! [laughs]”
However, one can be hardly be blamed for making such a mistake: just meet the team behind this boutique design firm in person, and you’ll understand why.
Despite hailing from varied backgrounds and different disciplines, Para.graph’s close-knit crew of five shares a common desire to “create purposeful dwellings and spaces” that has resulted in close working relationships.
According to Jack, this unifying vision is what drives the Para.graph team as well. “It’s not just a common perspective on interior design that we have,” he says. “It’s also something that motivates us to do what we do every day.”
To find out more about Para.graph, we sat down with Jack to have a chat about its latest project: a cosy, Nordic-style family home that was completely turned around from its original messy state.
Tell us more about the team behind Para.graph.
Jack (J): I’d say we’re a perfectly-sized team of five. Each one of us has his/her own expertise, which lets us play the roles that we each have.
Personally, I’ve been designing interiors for about 15 years, and about half of that time was spent overseas. I didn’t start off as a home designer though. I was originally based in New Zealand as a superyacht designer, which was a job that I had for 8 years before returning to Singapore – it’s an experience that has given me an eye for detail because of how much there is to account for, like weight limits and fire ratings.
What renovation services does Para.graph have to offer?
J: We pretty much have the ability to handle all kinds of home renovation work, from plumbing to electrical works, to digital rendering. We’ve also worked on commercial projects in the past, including large-scale offices.
Describe your team’s work process to us. Do you have a specific approach to tackling renovation projects?
J: Yes, we do. We often sit together to discuss projects first before breaking away to complete our individual tasks. It’s much easier to get the job done efficiently when everybody gets the big picture – and when you discuss things together, that’s when fresh ideas start to arise, and things get interesting.
Tell us more about the latest addition to Para.graph’s portfolio. How did you transform it?
J: The latest project that we worked on was a condominium penthouse. It’s located in a development in the East where there are plenty of small-scale freehold units with rather odd room proportions, such as large balconies and yards, but small indoor areas.
First impressions matter, and that’s why we created a long ceiling box which naturally draws your line of sight towards the furthest and highest point in the space; this helps to create the illusion of a larger living room when you step in.
Working on the ceiling was quite the challenge as well; there were a number of pipes and service conduits we had to deal with because there’s actually a swimming pool in the floor above the living area.
To create a smooth flow, we also made sure that any extruding elements fit perfectly into their surroundings; the storeroom was ‘merged’ with the TV feature wall as a single, continuous structure, and we used the same floor finish all the way from the entrance to the living room, and even to the kitchen for consistency.
For the kitchen, it’s fairly small, so we made it an enclosed area with the feel of an open-concept space, by keeping the entrance wide and installing sliding doors with see-through sections; the same was done for the staircase’s landing.
If you look closely, there’s also a patterned pane where both doors meet – that’s where the DB box is. The idea was to make it look like an art piece that’s visible even when the kitchen’s door overlaps it.
Then there’s the end of the living room; there was an empty niche right beside the balcony’s door, so we made it useful by installing shelves and turning it into a built-in shoe cabinet.
In your opinion, what do you think sets Para.graph apart from other interior design firms?
J: I’d say that how we engage with clients is quite different at Para.graph. We approach them by putting their lifestyle, habits, hobbies, and needs first. Also, we don’t use reference images or mood boards for first meetings. That may seem odd to some, but these ‘resources’ often limit creativity as they narrow things down to certain elements or styles.
Ultimately, it’s not about getting the look or forcing one – it’s about putting in the thought and effort to blend in an awkward structure or highlight an attractive feature. And that’s how you build a purposeful home.