Here’s the irony – he never really liked the Scandi/Industrial ‘look’.
“To be honest, I’m more of a colonial or rustic farmhouse kind of person. But hey, what I like doesn’t always translate to doing so for clients.”, admits Vincent Neo, founder and head designer at Versaform.
An impressive feat then that despite those misgivings, the firm has been responsible for some of the most eye-catching, stylish Scandi/Industrial-themed spaces we’ve seen – whether it’s on Qanvast or on magazine covers.
His secret? A relentless attention to detail, passion in design and drive to deliver the best for clients (and workers). Yet, in Vincent’s book, it’s all in a day’s work – and simply what it means to be an interior designer.
With a sense of responsibility that has turned the firm into a popular pick for design-savvy homeowners, the candid designer shares with us his story, thoughts on the interior industry and advice for new homeowners.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself – what first kick-started your passion for interior design?
Vincent (V): Having started very early on in the ID industry, I grew to appreciate and develop a passion for spaces. What I love about interior design is that it allows me to translate a client, an individual’s personality into a beautiful home. And of course, nothing beats that sense of accomplishment of seeing a satisfied customer!
Q: What made you decide to start out your own ID firm, Versaform?
V: Before Versaform, I was a division director at the previous ID firm I worked at. While I got the chance to guide the designers and oversee their designs – it wasn’t what I really wanted. I wanted to do the hands-on work of designing, speaking to homeowners - I wanted to try something different! As a result, I requested to step down from my position to start out my own firm in 2013 – and here we are.
Q: How did you come about with the name ‘Versaform’?
V: Versaform actually derives from the combination of two phrases – versatility in design; formatively in space - which I believe best represents what I’d like to bring to the table for clients. Also, I wanted a name that started with ‘V’ so that it’s in line with my own name (Vincent)! (Laughs)
Q: Do you think Versaform has a signature look? If so, what is it?
V: We try to keep versatile to changing trends and styles (well, the name Versaform kind of says it all), but many of our projects revolve around the Industrial, Scandustrial theme. Perhaps it’s because we get to do more of these projects, and as a result our portfolio was built up with this look.
V: While I understand that we don't always get to design homes in themes that we like, I fancy colonial or farmhouse styles more than Scandinavian or Industrials. Thankfully, I’m seeing more homeowners asking for this interior style in recent times, and I recently got the chance to do up a colonial-style home for a client.
Q: What do you think is the single most important quality an interior designer should have?
V: A sense of responsibility. Just like any professional, there's a certain expectation to fulfill in order to hold up our title as an ‘interior designer’. And that includes giving our best to both clients and workers alike. It’s our responsibility – no matter how many projects we have, no matter the size of the contract or type of homeowner – to use our expertise to guide and make the renovation process easier and fruitful for the client.
V: For instance, I don’t believe in ‘spoon-feeding’ clients, giving in to everything they want (even if it doesn’t look good). Designing a home is like a collaboration between an interior designer and homeowner. Yes, ultimately it all depends on what the homeowners like, but we need to advise and convince them if we know it wouldn’t turn out well. In my case, if it happens that my clients are not satisfied with a particular material or feature (and I agree), I would change it for them – with no extra costs.
Q: What is one thing homeowners shouldn’t overlook when choosing an interior designer?
V: The services they offer. Every ID firm works differently in terms of the extent of services they offer – some might help you with design, then pass to a project manager for overseeing the works, while some might help with styling and furniture shopping. It all depends on what you prefer! At Versaform, I follow through with a project from day one to end completion. That includes stuff like shopping for fittings, furniture, defects checking and inspections after the renovations are complete.
Q: Any tips for homeowners preparing for a renovation?
V: It’s best to consult a professional interior designer for any queries instead of going on forums or Facebook groups. While they may be chock full of information, always remember to take things with a pinch of salt. There are so many different opinions, some valid, some not, some good, some bad. It can be hard to know what’s helpful advice or what’s misinformed, especially when the people posting such information aren’t necessarily the experts.
Q: What’s the most exciting part of working on a project?
V: Fitting in the furniture and carpentry - the point where the renovated space is almost 90% complete. It’s that moment when you get to see how far the home has come, from its drab, ‘OMG’ state on day one, to this. There’s always the thrill of seeing everything coming together.
V: Also, I enjoy spending time furniture shopping with my clients! While it isn’t exactly fun (with a time frame to keep up and budget constraints), it’s where I get to learn about them more. What are their quirks, their likes and dislikes? From there, I can also take notes on how I can better style their space.
Q: Last but not least – describe Versaform in 3 words (or less)!
V: Trendy, Punctual and Responsible!