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Interview with Fuka Interior Decoration Sdn Bhd

Home > Designer Interviews > Fuka Interior Decoration Sdn Bhd

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Fuka Interior Decoration Sdn Bhd (FIDSB) for A’ Design Award and Competition. You can access the full profile of Fuka Interior Decoration Sdn Bhd by clicking here.

Interview with Fuka Interior Decoration Sdn Bhd at Tuesday 5th of May 2020
Lim Swee Chong
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
FIDSB: I have always loved arts and design ever since I was a kid but my passion for designing did not spark until graduating from high school. I’ve enrolled myself in an art academy after high school and from there, I grew into loving spaces to where I am now. I know I wanted to be more involved in designing when I know that I am able to repurpose discarded items by giving them a new light.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
FIDSB: Established in 2000 as a small company, we have now grown to a team with a few specialised department. We are very much known for our reuse and repurpose attitude towards design which made each and every one of our designs unique as all finds are one in a million.

FS: What is "design" for you?
FIDSB: Design to me is being innovative in a space. Being able to create something that would be able to better ones life and to get the best living experience and lifestyle of the environment.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
FIDSB: I love designing for commercial interior mainly on F&B. It provides me the challenge of thinking outside the box for amazing themes that would be a centrepiece for the public to experience and admire. Inspiration could be from anything and everything and nothing is ever wrong.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
FIDSB: My favourite design would be those designs that would allow me to reuse and repurpose any unwanted or discarded items. I’m definitely the definition of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” because nothing excites me more than being able to find a new home for the discarded item and repurposed them into something meaningful to others with added bonus of being environmental friendly.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
FIDSB: The first that I’ve design was a newly wedded couple’s bedroom, introduced by a friend of a friend. It was defiantly and experience as the couple would entrust me with something so sacred to them and it pleases me when you get all positive feedback from the couple. That brought me to wanting to create more fulfilling designs to others because the satisfaction is phenomenal.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
FIDSB: My favourite material would be “weathered natural wood” because I have always felt a strong connection with these material and knowing that I would be able to give it a new light somewhere I know it would be appreciated. The beauty is just there, remarkable by itself. Whenever I travel. That’s the time where I can see wonders. Ideas would be overflowing in my mind and I would be taking pictures of still objects whenever it inspires me. Travelling opens up my mind into seeing that anything is possible and there’s always ways to work on things.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
FIDSB: Whenever I travel. That’s the time where I can see wonders. Ideas would be overflowing in my mind and I would be taking pictures of still objects whenever it inspires me. Travelling opens up my mind into seeing that anything is possible and there’s always ways to work on things.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
FIDSB: As an interior designer, space planning is usually where I would put most of my focus as this is something that would effect the flow of work. A good planning is the first step to a great design and planning the space is the first step to a great functional interior.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
FIDSB: Its different all the time, depending on the current mood. I would be over the moon whenever I am able to fulfil all my own standard requirement for the design and probably would be stressful whenever I am unable to achieve my ideal design. Definitely a roller coaster ride of emotions.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
FIDSB: Ecstatic of course! Knowing that all your hardwork has been paid off and people do appreciate good design. Its the best feeling ever. It gives me a sense of pride and joy that no one is able to take it away from you. Probably close to seeing the birth of your child. That feeling is just priceless.

FS: What makes a design successful?
FIDSB: When you’ve exceeded the expectation set by the client. Detailing is everything! If you’re able to provide more than just service and make life easy for your client and it reciprocate with positive feedback. You’ve just hit the jackpot and that is what make the design a successful.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
FIDSB: The functionality and practicality would be the first thing that I would consider in the design before judging a design’s aesthetic. Not to say that beauty isn’t important but its also taking the time to know a person than to judge a person’s exterior. If there’s not function, there’s no purpose.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
FIDSB: As a designer, I do feel designers are as important as any other career options. This is because without us contributing to the society, the world would be a dull place. We are like the Yin to the Yang of Science. Both need to come together to make things a little less serious.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
FIDSB: I think design is evolving rapidly as many now are more educated and appreciates the small little things. Many understands that design is getting more important to better one’s lifestyle. I would feel in future, less is more and we would try to be more minimalist. People would live on practicality and simplicity, going back to basics.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
FIDSB: It was years ago when we had an exhibition in Malaysia and we have yet to plan for any yet in future but hopefully one day.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
FIDSB: Inspiration comes from everywhere but to me, it mostly from nature. Being alone in the forest during a hike refreshes my mind and allows me to see in different perspective. It's just something about nature that has me. The combination of the cool breezy air and the sound of nature is just majestic.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
FIDSB: I would say that my style is more to zen oriental and what made me explore this style is because I love the idea of repurposing old raw weather natural materials which is the main character of my style to something that would regain its prime again. I would very often scout for the log and get inspiration from it.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
FIDSB: I was born and raise in Butterworth, Malaysia but it didn’t affect me much on the design as I would usually like to be inspired by everything. Design shouldn’t be restricted. 
The pros are that we do not have a lot of competition and clients are genuinely nice in my state. The con on the other hand are because of the geographical location of our company, not many would appreciate the beauty of interior yet hence most of our clients are usually out station in bigger cities.

FS: How do you work with companies?
FIDSB: I believe having good relation with other companies would benefit us in a long run hence I do have made good connection with others. They have helped me brought up my company along the way as I have also learn much from them.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
FIDSB: I would suggest the company to take their time understand the individual’s work before working with him/her. Communication is important. A designer should be able to able to communicate well with clients and the internal team. He/she should also be able understand the client well and be able to express and convey his/her ideas confidently. He/she should also need to have a certain artistic sense within them as this is something that would never be able to be taught.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
FIDSB: Before starting the design, I would usually try to make an appoint to understand the client. Knowing and understanding the client is important because this is something that would able to propel you to what exactly what the client wants and hopefully exceeding their expectation. After that would be the standard operation procedures such as working on the plan, modelling and rendering and lastly preparing the presentation. All in all, also working closely with the client’s vision and budget.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
FIDSB: First would be an antique music player/recorder which I bought it from a friend. The reason for my love for the music player is that it reminds me of the olden days hence it makes it such a valuable find.
Secondly would be my collectable vintage magazines. I’ve tore out some of my favourite ads and framed it as a collection on my wall. It still mesmerises me on how the ad works in the olden days. So much has changed on the way we advertise now. Eg, cigarettes was advertised as something that would make you look cool and now, something that would be damaging to health. 
Thirdly would be the coffee table in my study which I’ve repurposed from a weathered natural log. It was cleaned, cut in shape and shellacked. Now it serves me really well and the centrepiece of my room. 
Fourth, would be the design of the ceiling in my house. We have purposely designed it in a way where by no downlight would be visible. All lights are mainly hidden and from indirect source of light in order to create an ambience in the interior. 
Last but not least, an antique iron cast from China which is so manual that you’ll have to load it with coals to create heat. I’ve repurposed a few by making it a functional table lamp. Something which I’m really happy to give a new light to.

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
FIDSB: My life is pretty simple, work, family, and enjoyment. Usually I would spend most of my time focus on work. Would give a little time on exercising. Then I would also go out to mingle around meeting new people. Opportunities dont just dont knocking on the door.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
FIDSB: What I can say is that designers should go out and enjoy what is life. Without really experiencing the moment of being the person who is using the space you will never be able to design the space. It's true that designers does an extensive work in researching the designs but without truly experiencing, there's always something there that is not grasped. Keep moving forward and never stop learning.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
FIDSB: The positive about being a designer is that you'll get the satisfaction when you see your creation coming to life. When it's shared with the public to feel and touch your creation, it makes it so much more worth it that you're involved in creating it. The negative on the other hand is that when you are busy, you are focused way too much on work making less time for the family.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
FIDSB: Understanding the flow in plan and the function of how things work is very important in interior design. Not giving enough thought to this would usually affect the efficiency and the purpose of the design. Of course this would also mean that one has to be sensitive to the surrounding. Once you are sensitive enough and know how things work, this would in return help in designing a great flow in interior.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
FIDSB: I believe having a great design sense is important to allow the designer to see things in different perspective, to think outside the box. It is also important that a designer is able to collect all those experiences from previous works or adventures to further improve and enhance how a designer is able to provide all the little details in designing a space. Understanding the space even before the client is able to identify the issue.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
FIDSB: Pencil, paper and my scale ruler is my best tool. I dont really fancy using software. I rely heavily on sketches and i felt that it brings out the best outcome

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
FIDSB: Delegation is work is important. Working as a team is important. There’s no “I” in team. Usually we would try to be progressive in office but when time comes, there are times when we do have to punch in extra time and work from home to be able to meet the deadline. Time management would usually be me allowing myself to spend at least an hour with my family and then back to the drawing board after even if it means working till the wee hours with my team.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
FIDSB: Usually we would take about a month to complete the whole drawing as commercial designs are usually given less time due to the rent and work force expenses that the client would need to spend even before the renovation starts.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
FIDSB: You’ll be surprised, education is important. Many would usually asked where I’ve graduated as they would like to know how well I'm equip with my design knowledge as well as where I get all my inspirations from because people are always curious with how designer mind works. This is because how we perceive stuff is always different from those who are more technical. Designers might see a lot from just one brush stroke while layman might just see it as a stroke. Our brains are just different that way.

FS: What was your most important job experience?
FIDSB: A F&B commercial design (Asian buffet). That project was the toughest for me as we were unable to communicate with the client since he’s from America. It was during the time of construction when he finally came and started modifying the layout from scratch with the same deadline. My team and I had to made do with a lot of impromptu critical thinking on the spot. C&S engineers were involved in recalculating the structural load as one of the columns were removed. It was a massive headache but I’m glad its in the pass now and it though my team and I valuable lessons to think on your feet. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
FIDSB: To name a few, we have worked with Ivory Properties, GTM Group, Belleview Group in Penang, Malaysia which is under the Developer’s category. Factories would be Nationgate, Jinko Solar, Tortor Food Industry and Plexus. On the other hand on servicing, we have also worked with UOB bank, Bangkok Bank and CIMB bank and VanGohh Hotel.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
FIDSB: I enjoy working on F&B commercial design the most as I would be able to think out of the box and be totally innovative with ideas. Residential designs are more restricted as it has to follow a certain criteria since it would be for a different usage. Commercial project are also for many to enjoy as this would be seen by many. That is a satisfaction is just amazing.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
FIDSB: I are planning to go international as we are slowly penetrating to other Asian countries but at the moment the company is still taking this slow as there’s still a lot of planning to do. Hopefully one day we would be known worldwide besides just Asian countries. That would be the goal.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
FIDSB: It depends on the project. Sometimes I would delegate the work out and discuss as a team, other times, the project may seem that I would just be able to handle hence I would take the opportunity to work on it myself.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
FIDSB: Currently the company is planning to learn more about development and work beyond just interior design. We are currently working closely with the architect and are trying to be more involve in architectural in hopes that we would be able to excel in both interior and architectural design. We are also working on the branding for the development so we are planning to be the one stop solution to a company in future, that we would be able to provide not just interior design but exterior opinion and how the company should be brand.

FS: How can people contact you?
FIDSB: Usually my clients are through referrals but they can contact us through our website. We have all our contact and information provided there.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
FIDSB: I would hope that the society would take care of the environment a little more and realised that we only have Earth as our home. There’s always beauty in the old. Whenever we can reuse and repurpose anything, we should always go for that alternative to avoid creating more unnecessary waste that would clutter the world for our future generation. Being environmental friendly should be the way of life.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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