The One Academy recently held a monthlong event - the Virtual International Design and Creative Masterclass which ran across three consecutive weekends and served as a platform on which we can learn from creative experts from all over the world.
For the interior design segment, IDr Lai Siew Hong, the Co-Founder & Chief Executive Designer of Blu Water Studio and current President of the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) was invited to be a keynote speaker. Blu Water Studio is an award-winning boutique interior design firm which has produced innovative design solutions with recent projects including W Kuala Lumpur, EQ Kuala Lumpur, The Edison George Town Hotel and more.
His sharing ‘Cross-Cultural Inspirations in Interior Design’ took the attendees on a poetic journey on what interior designers do. IDr Lai explained that interior design is about understanding the history of the location along with the social behaviour of people and their ethnics, background and heritage. Bridging all these with culture and offer interpretation of luxury and elegance is at the heart of the industry.
In his sharing, IDr Lai touched on how space and proportion differ among cultures, cities and countries but share similar value. An example was how in China, large spaces are considered a luxury whereas in Malaysia, they are seen as expensive.
The industry expert also shared case studies of Blu Water’s completed projects in Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines and Kuala Lumpur. Explaining the idea and inspiration behind each and every design element, attendees got an in-depth view into the workings of a professional interior design studio idea and conceptualisation stage as well as finished outcome.
The Masterclass ended with a Q&A session with the attendees. Among the questions asked were tips on how to be a good designer, key trait of an interior designer and what to do when one runs out of ideas?
He said that interior design is a very artistic field, but one should not focus on how much money you are going to take home but rather how much you want to contribute to create this beautiful environment that will impact people.
He also highlighted the importance of being a good listener and understanding the client’s brief as well as the purpose behind the particular space.
The industry veteran surprised attendees when he told them he did not have Pinterest – a popular platform for finding ideas like recipes, home and style inspiration and more.
Instead, he advised the audience to take a short break when facing a creative block and return to it with a refreshed perspective. “If you are in a room, step out or if you are facing a screen, then leave it. Take a short break and return, new ideas will definitely pop up because our mind is the most powerful tool there is”.
One of the key takeaways from the session was IDr Lai Siew Hong’s favourite quote “respect the past, connect with the future”. He likens interior designers to being the connecting dots of the present, linking these two elements together with inspiring design solutions.
The attendees left the sharing with new found motivation to pursue their passion in the field of interior design.