Singapore Carpentry is one of the best Singapore builders and is well known to turn the finest and most luxurious homes into a reality for an affordable cost. Both the exterior and the interior of their homes are carefully considered. Every style of home design from contemporary to Scandinavian is well-researched, a careful blend of materials from luxury marble to classical wood is picked. Today, Home and Decoration had the opportunity to exclusively interview Ernest Tan and get to know his career as part of Singapore Carpentry.
How did you get involved in the interior design Industry?
I came from a very poor family background, hence I started working many jobs and businesses to reduce the burden of my parents. I had run several businesses and part-time jobs, such as a tuition agency, a tertiary travel agency, and a financial consultant. Finally, one of my ex-boss from a financial consultant firm decided to start an interior design firm and would ask me to join him and I accepted. However, what I did not know is that I fare pretty well in this industry as a beginner and that is how it started.
How would you describe your work style? Do you have any kind of signatures that help to identify your projects?
I usually start designing after 10 pm, I have been working till 4 am every day for almost a decade. My clients usually like me best for the ultra-luxurious design theme of their house, although I do have requests for other styles like Scandinavian and etc, most of the clients usually look for a loud and luxurious vibe in their house if they want to hire me to do their design. It is quite fortunate for me that there aren’t many interior design firms in Singapore focused on this category.
Being in love with our work is always the key to achieving better results. What do you love most about being an interior designer?
Yes, I am in love with my job, the best part of this job is there is a never-ending learning experience. Now I have shifted my focus from simple interior design toward more comprehensive design, aka design and building of residential houses. We currently do a few designs and build projects, this is very exciting for me. I hope I can move on to design buildings as well in the future!
What is your philosophy on design and life?
I mean the design is about how one portrays himself, whether he has appreciated the finer things in life. Our society has advanced beyond a phase from “purely functional” to “well functional with great design”, there are many brands that became successful today (but maybe not a century ago) to illustrate this shift of society mentality, for example, Toyota to Tesla, IBM to Apple, Nokia to iPhone, Phillips vacuum cleaner to Dyson. I believe nice designs, be it interior design or product design or fashion design have evolved to make design an essential part of everyone’s life.
Keeping up to date on all the trends is essential for anyone who wants to conquer this market. In what ways do you keep current with new trends?
I read and watch a lot of design-related websites and videos. Most importantly, I am akin to a sponge whereby I absorb all the nice designs from places I have been to and encountered. I would apply it whenever there is a chance.
How would you describe your personal decorating style?
Loud and different. More towards Versace’s darkness and Dolce and Gabbana’s application of colors.
What or who really inspires you?
Inspiration is something that pushes everyone to create unique things. What makes you see the world in a different way?
I think I am born differently. Since young I have been doing things differently for most of my life, it makes me feel outcast sometimes when I was younger. But as I grew older, I felt good to be different, it makes me feel special and people start to believe in my taste, and I really love when whatever work I accomplished stands out.
If you had to pick one project around the world that you wish was made by you, which one would it be?
I wish I could design and construct Marina Bay Sand Singapore, it is one kind of Project that makes Singaporean proud, but it would be great if it were designed by a local instead.
Yes, it is very important, with clients who can fully allow my free hand to play the designs instead of interfering with his/her own opinion would allow a nicer end result.
Choosing the best pieces to compose a project can be the secret to getting the best overall result. Although it seems easy, this is a delicate task and needs full attention on time to execute. Do you have some tips for those who do not know well how to start a challenge like this?
We have to break down the challenges into easily manageable bites. I Always ask my junior designers “how do you eat an elephant? ” The answer to this is: we need to cut it u into bite sizes and chew it.
Do you think working with teams in interior design is better or worse than working alone? Why?
Working in a team is great! As the design requires a lot of creativity, with more people, everyone can contribute a part and compliment some of your weaknesses.
Is there anything exciting that you are working on at the moment that you can tell us about?
Yes, I am about to buy land to rebuild for sale! It will be my first development Project!
What goals do you have for the future?
The greatest accomplishment is able to start from a freelance carpentry designer to become the architects of many houses that I design and a built-in span of less than a decade for an industry with a steep learning curve. I would like to sell my own development very soon in the future.
Do you have a favorite project or a favorite story about one of your projects?
There are many projects that we do are unique (we have done over a Thousand projects) and one of my favorite Projects is one whereby we were assigned to decorate club Marquee for a high-end very exclusive private event in a fairy tale candies theme. The outcome of the place was so beautiful and out of the world. It was very difficult yet fun, truly enjoy the surprised and joyous faces of the guests!
Did you enjoy this exclusive interview with Ernest Tan from Singapore Carpentry?