By Joseph Tan
For the longest time it is a common misconception that interior designers need only have a strong flair for visual compositions to do the job well; that outside the areas of aesthetic forms and colour combinations, little thought is required or given to the work of interior designing.
However, many of us would have discovered that some through great pains of loss in both time and money, it is just not enough for something to look pretty. When the interior designs of your living space are not be properly integrated into your lifestyle, it is then just a matter of time before you need to embark on another renovation exercise. An extra effort to correct the wrongs put in during the first endeavour.
In better helping homeowners to undertake their renovation projects, RADAC spoke to some of the top renovation companies in Singapore with qualified interior designers. A better understanding of interior design philosophies and methodologies may become easier for us laypersons to navigate safely through our own renovation projects and not incur unnecessary losses.
One interior design professional we interviewed is a graduate from Nottingham Trent University, Ms. Sharon Hoh of JSR Design. Recalling one of her first projects after she graduated, Sharon relates the scenario of the project she undertook.
"The client had taken down part of a wall and replaced it with glass instead. However, instead of a glass partition, the contractor only cut out the top half of the wall and replaced that with glass because that was what the client asked for," she explained.
"What they did not consider was that buildings tend to move, some taller ones even sway when they are caught in the path of strong winds," she continued. "That's why it is quite common to see hairline cracks in walls due to such movements over time."
Sharon pulled out a scrapbook to show us pictures of what she was trying to illustrate.
"However, hairline cracks are okay because engineers and architects have made their calculations to accommodate these movements buildings make," she went on. "Things only become dangerous when we make alterations to our homes without such calculations or understanding."
"That is why you need to get approval if you want to build something like that, since we are now talking about the behaviour of both concrete and glass against movements of the building. This is completely different from a wall that is made up of just concrete or just glass and anyone who has gone through the interior designing coursework will know better than to mix the mediums without checking with the proper authorities."
In the end, the client had to completely replace the half-glass wall when they noticed bits of plaster around the edges where the glass meet concrete. Sharon tells us they were lucky to have caught the flaw in time; otherwise, the stress on the glass may just cause it to burst if the problem had remained unchecked over an extended time.
Hence, if there is anything that we can take away from their experience, it is never to underestimate the value of an educated design. This is especially when we are talking about structural additions and alterations to a place where our loved ones spend most of their time.
Sharon added. "Safety ALWAYS comes first."
According to Sharon, there is a BIG difference between what can be done and what should be done; and her training has been an important cornerstone in helping her discern one from the other.
"If you disregard safety issues, almost anything can be done," Sharon explained. "Can we use high gloss tiles in the bathroom because it is beautiful? Sure we can," she continues and elaborates. "But should we? Considering it will make the place very slippery when it is wet?" She feels “that is an answer that becomes obvious when we consider the space in use.”
"As a designer, all of us want our creations to carry with them a sense of beauty and grace," Sharon said. "But that cannot supersede the liveability of our designs because at the end of the day, the real value of interior design is to enrich our lives, not shackle them with restrictions because we are more concerned with how a space look instead of how it will be used."
Sharon now spends most of her professional time dreaming up interior designs for her clients at JSR Design & Renovation Pte Ltd at 109 Jalan Besar. Find out more about them at http://www.jsrdesign.sg/blog/.
Copyright by RADAC