Up Close With
Raymond Seow, Design Director of a Boutique Interior Design Firm
Originally working as a consultant in a firm doing commercial projects back in 1999, Raymond Seow felt that it was time for a change. “Doing commercial projects was quite dry,” he shared. “It wasn’t something I enjoyed doing, so I decided to go into interior design for residential areas as this was something new during that time and many Singaporeans were also just getting into the concept of interior design.”
How I Got Started in Interior Design
“To be honest, I wanted to be a graphic designer when I was still studying in Laselle,” Raymond said. “I was more interested in 2D visuals as I loved reading comic books, but I realised that a lot of my peers were also taking graphic design which would somehow turn it into a rat race among ourselves.”
Raymond then ventured into product design, which still did not sit right with him as he ultimately preferred visuals and aesthetics as compared to technical aspects like the process of building a product. Eventually, he found his way into interior design and his passion for it only grew from there. “In a way, I guess I was quite lucky not to have taken up graphic design,” he shared. “As it’s a desk bound job, I probably would have found it quite boring. I am very happy where I am now and love what I’m doing.”
A Business Owner & A Designer
As a Design Director, the challenges that Raymond experiences are usually conflicts that he has with himself as a business owner and a designer. “As a business owner, I have to look at numbers in terms of the profits, losses and expenses,” he explained.
“However, as a designer, I want perfection in my designs, no matter the cost, so it can be quite challenging at times when I get torn in between wanting the best for the company and for my homeowners.”
Ultimately, Raymond shared that his homeowners do come first as interior designing is his passion.
Being Old School with Pride
“I am a huge fan of collectibles!” Raymond said excitedly. “In my office, I have a collection of old-school cassettes, Marvel and DC comics and even an arcade machine and a turntable.”
Apart from it just being decor in the office, Raymond shared that this is part of his hobbies. “The collectibles, action figures that I grew up with, are part of this pop culture that I resonate with due to my younger days,” he shared. “They make me feel very chill and relaxed when I’m around them.”
“These are part and parcel of my childhood and I try to bring back things that remind me of when I was young.”
“I think this is something that a lot of my homeowners go ‘Wow!’ when they visit my office for the first time,” Raymond continued. “We bond over the music and collectibles from the 90s, and it’s another fun way for me to get to know my homeowners.”
“When you talk about interior design, it’s quite a serious thing,” he explained.
“I want my homeowners to make themselves feel relaxed when they come into my office after a hard day’s work, and to get them excited about these elements here.”
“I love Star Wars, even more than Marvel!” Raymond said. “It changed my life. I still remember watching the first Star Wars movie at The Cathay which my dad brought me and I was thinking ‘wow! Is there such a universe like this out there?’”
“It changed my perception of design as well, and so I started reading more about Star Wars and the creatives behind it.”
My Favourite Marvel Character is…
“Spiderman! But I do like Iron Man too even though he is quite useless in the comics since his suit is almost always out of battery,” Raymond laughed. “I feel that in the movies, Robert Downey Jr. plays the role really well and that’s what makes Iron Man so cool.”
A Little Secret
“If someone gives me a present, I don’t like to open it instantly,” Raymond shared. “I like to keep the present for about a week or so, then slowly open it.”
“I’m the type of person that likes to keep my own surprises.”
“The same applies to my toys – I tend to buy what I like but I don’t open it instantly. I will find a day for when I’m relaxed and have nothing on, only then will I finally open what I’ve purchased which can take up to a few hours so I can look at the details and think about where I should display them.”
Love What You Do & You’ll Never Work A Day in Your Life
“From being an interior designer, I get this sense of happiness that I feel no other job can fulfil,” Raymond said. “I have the opportunity to meet different people and to change their lives.”
Apart from just a designer-client relationship, being in this industry also gives Raymond the chance to get to know them on a personal level. “I don’t think there’s any other job out there where it’s so personal,” he said. “I build relationships with different people as I always want to get to know my homeowners first so I can understand them as people before starting on their renovation.”
“Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life” – a quote by Mark Twain that Raymond strongly believes in.
“I think I’m one of the lucky ones!” He said with a laugh. “Most people, as they get older, tend to forget what makes them happy as there’s a need to be more serious since they’re adults, but I was quite fortunate to be able to keep true to myself and do what I like.”
My Plans for the Future
“I don’t think that there’s anything else that I’d rather be doing,” Raymond said. “I absolutely love what I’m doing and plan to stay in this line for the long haul.”
“I do hope to be able to design a Good Class Bungalow one day, just because of the space and architecture and it’s probably one of my dream houses to design.”
Keen on taking a look at Raymond’s projects? Visit his profile here at The Happitat today.
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