This former ITE student once felt left behind by his peers and now runs an award-winning design studio
When I turned 40, I felt it was time. It was a natural path for me to create my own consulting firm.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE RUNNING A BUSINESS FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME? WHAT ARE THE THE HARDEST THINGS ABOUT MAKING YOUR OWN CREATION?
It was very difficult at the beginning. In addition to creating designs that “wow,” I had to pitch to business owners who might not be the most design-oriented. So I had to learn to present in a way that those clients could understand and appreciate what we were trying to do. In addition, having good follow-up and alignment is essential in order to build long-term business relationships.
Another challenge was finding the right team members. Not only do their skills have to match, but I have to make sure everyone likes what they’re working on. As a small business, it is important to have interesting projects, plan staff career growth, and create a good environment and creative culture. To be able to continue to improve on this, I must always listen and be open to suggestions from my team.
YOU ALSO WON SEVERAL OTHER AWARDS. ARE THERE ANY PROJECTS AMONG THOSE YOU ARE PARTICULARLY PROUD OF?
One of the projects I’m proud of is a urinal design for Kohler, the Kohler Struktrura hygienic urinal released in 2021. This project was quite unique. It provides a thoughtful and elegant solution to the obligatory Islamic ritual cleaning after using the toilet.
Unlike conventional urinals which have dirty or rusty pipes with a weak trickle of flushing water, and often require the unhygienic practice of drawing water from the urinal, the Istinja urinal is designed with a dedicated spout to ensure a good supply of fresh, clean water at just the right pressure. A special cover helps prevent splashing and increases privacy. All those who participated in user tests found in this product a great improvement in terms of ease of use, hygiene and respect for the ritual. The design won the Singapore SG Brand, Gold Award and IF Design Award 2021.
WHAT WAS BOTH THE BEST THING AND THE DEAL?
I’m lucky to have a passionate team that treats each other like family.
HAVE YOU WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING WITH TRIGGER THAT YOU HAVE NOT DONE YET IN YOUR CAREER?
I think designers always need a space or a platform to express themselves. Especially if they focused on commercial design projects for clients.