Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer MIL Design & Construction ("MD&C") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.
MD&C : I've been sketching ever since 4 years old in growing up in a small town called Ipoh in Malaysia, occasionally using pencil and watercolor on old buildings. Then I moved to Melbourne, Australia majoring in fine arts and physics in high school and then completed a 5 year degree course in architecture in Royal Melbourne of Institute Technology University (RMIT), Melbourne, Australia. After interning in Tokyo with Edward Suzuki Associates and a couple of work stints in construction in Melbourne, I moved back to Malaysia to begin my career in interior architecture
MD&C : Everything around me. I like to imagine spaces, and create something out of nothing. Textures, Lights, Spaces, colors, forms and people's behaviour are some of the things which motivate me.
MD&C : Definitely it has been my dream ambition since young. It is also influenced by my late father, himself an architect, and my mother and uncle who were both fans of carpentry and crafts. You can say I grew up being surrounded by people who loved designs.
MD&C : I design spaces, from residential to institutional public spaces to hotels, offices and also furnitures. I wish to design more hotels as I love the idea of designing lifestyles for people to enjoy
MD&C : Work very, very hard and always be curious and adventurous
MD&C : A great designer always tries to learn from past projects, and listen (to critics, himself, ene-users of the designs). A great designer is always critical of his designs and constantly improving on ti
MD&C : I believe a design is good if it touches your heart, provokes your inner feeling. It should create that unique connection the moment you see it.
MD&C : In interior design a good design has that wow effect that could just touch your heart. It suits you, the way you live or use the space. It gives you a connection and gives you comfort, almost like eating good wholesome food. In this day of the modern stressful world, good designs are part of your life and provides you a holistic way of living
MD&C : I would like to design my own home if I had the time. An architect's own home is always never finished and one of the biggest challenges to complete.
MD&C : I would like to work on a readapted use and refurbished heritage or listed buildings, especially pre-war buildings. It would be my dream to convert the usage to be a hotel cum meditation space
MD&C : My secret recipe is to work very, very hard and keep on trying. Designs can only be perfected by drawing many many variants before selecting the best one. Nobody can achieve good designs at the first attempt of each project
MD&C : A few of my university tutors who themselves are award-winning designers, my ex employers Edward Suzuki and Chan Soo Kian who were both acclaimed architects and masters like Mies van der rohe and Peter Zumthor
MD&C : For current designers I am now loving a couple of designs by Neri & Hu
MD&C : My greatest design is a little apartment which I designed for Mr Henry Goulding, a movie celebrity actor. He was one of the most adventurous clients we had had and the whole design process was inspiring attempting new design forms, a daring interplay of textures and materials. It was a refurbishment of a 40-year-old apartment and while maintaning the old facade, the interior space was totally stripped and redone in a raw exposed way. I loved the idea of keeping the raw concrete structures and merging the old and new. Materials were treated in an exposed, honest way like almost inspired by Brutalism. The final outcome was a unique mix of kitsch contemporary with chic vintage accents
MD&C : I think people should see and read more, travel more, and teach more. For myself I try to contribute back to university, giving my time whenever i can to internship programs and attending school crit panel sessions. When I teach I learn more and improve more
MD&C : I think I would venture into music, law or journalism
MD&C : Design is combining form and function. It is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes, touches the feelings and fulfills the usage
MD&C : My family
MD&C : By constantly listening to critics and learning
MD&C : Not being able to fulfill aesthetic and functional needs of a design, not understanding the emotional aspects of designs, not understanding the people and place making of the site
MD&C : Designers should present in a visually creative way
MD&C : Among some of the works we are working on are a couple of show homes, a serviced apartment in Maldive and a refurbished heritage hotel in Malaysia
MD&C : I wish to create a space really can tug one's heart strings
MD&C : We are able to fulfill each project's brief in a holistic manner, not just functional and aesthetical but also emotional aspects.
MD&C : It fulfills people's functions, and needs in holistic way
MD&C : A refurbished heritage space in Malaysia
MD&C : Projects like instituitional common areas, hotels and high-end residential. There are alot of opportunity to use various textures and concepts. For residential the projects are designed for people's lifestyles and it is very satisfying when people come back to you to tell you that they live better or sleep better with your designs.
MD&C : To have more mentoring for the young designers and students
MD&C : More cross-over designs, say fashion and furniture design maybe
MD&C : It depends on the scale and client's requirements. Some takes up to 2 years with the brief changing, some are 3 to 6 months.
MD&C : I start with seeing the site and talking to the client, the people to whom I am designing for.
MD&C : To listen and feel
MD&C : Designs set the trends definitely
MD&C : technology is very crucial. Our designs always combine technology with design as technology has now becoming a part of our everyday life.With the recent covid pandemic technology will be playing a bigger role
MD&C : CAD, 3D and graphics software.
MD&C : Colors, materials and ambients are key in design, as I've earlier said, I aim to provoke the inner feelings through touch,feel, sight
MD&C : I wish people will ask many questions. Then it is proof that the designs have evoked their curiosity.
MD&C : Questions. Sense of arrival, the aha feeling
MD&C : Yes i do. Too many masters to mention
MD&C : Many people. I love talking to people and what I learn from each one of them does influence the way I think and design, from the baker who bakes at the cafe to the high-networth investment savvy client
MD&C : design, lifestyle and travel books
MD&C : Practice and hard work
MD&C : Mies van der rohe
MD&C : Motivated to work even harder
MD&C : color: all colors are my favourite place: chiangmai, thailand food: chinese dumplings season: spring and autumn thing: too many to mention brand: various
MD&C : I find it amusing when i was designing the apartment of Henry Goulding, when we were out with him for furniture scouting people on the streets kept stopping him (or us) for photographs. For once even we felt like mini celebrities. Talk about being such a popular movie actor.
MD&C : When the client comes to you personally to say thank you and how the designs we did had made his or her day.
MD&C : Yes it was obvious that I would become a good designer. Nor sure about the great part, i still have along way to go
MD&C : technology, no people to people relationship, coldness. hence today we should design with as much emotions as we could. People are already now talking less, typing more, talking to screens and not another human being
MD&C : I think I've pretty much covered everything above
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