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Dear PropSocial readers, as property fans, home owners and investors, we can all appreciate good interior design which brings vibrancy into our living and working spaces while increasing the value of our hard-earned properties, whether for sale or rent.

But how often do we take time to appreciate the faces behind the places? Today, PropSocial sits down with a Malaysian designer who has dedicated his life to crafting the homes and workspaces in which we live.

Crafting as a calling

PDI Design & Associates Sdn Bhd interior designer and junior partner Ian Lee has had a strong connection to spaces since he was young. Drawing inspiration from the scale models used by developers to showcase their projects, Lee shares that he found the concept of three-dimensional (3D) design fascinating, and as he grew older, this was one of the motivating factors which drove him to pursue his passion for interior design.

Studying at KBU International College (now known as First City University College) and obtaining a bachelor’s degree in interior, architecture and design from its partnered educational institution, Nottingham Trent University, UK, Lee spent three years honing his craft to international standards in London.

Ian Lee executes his designs with a sense of passion, commitment and attention to detail.

“My first design was for a recruitment agency, where we designed the reception and office area,” recalls Lee. In terms of his preferred design style, Lee shares that he leans towards more contemporary aesthetics, with a hint of boldness in styling to keep things fresh.

Returning to Malaysia in 2010, he eventually joined PDI Design & Associates in 2013, specialising in commercial, residential and office spaces. Since then, he has worked on high-profile projects such as the Menara UOA Bangsar headquarters of Mindvalley, a homegrown personal development firm.

Widely hailed for its innovative use of bright and vibrant colours, blended with organic workspaces which encourage creative and versatile working styles, the design of the Mindvalley facility was recognised as WorldBlu’s Most Democratic Workplaces from 2008 onwards.

Connecting the dots

Lee’s design philosophy focuses on contemporary aesthetics, with bold colours and elements to keep things fresh.

“Interior design is a people-to-people business. The goal is to understand our clients. We want to not just meet their expectations, but to exceed them as well. When we understand our clients, we can then deliver high quality and unique interior designs for them,” says Lee.

“The most important consideration when it comes to residential interiors is that they serve as personal living spaces for their owners. In other words, the design must speak the same language as the homeowner.”

In addition, designers must manage client expectations while working with them to visualise their dreams. Here, the ISO 9001:2015-certified company follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure that they adhere to the time frames and budgetary requirements of their clients.

Besides attention to detail, planning and post-renovation client support, Lee also notes that designers should have the ability to think outside the box, such as buying ready-made items from IKEA to beautify homes rather than buying custom-made carpentry. It can also be more cost-efficient in some cases to paint walls with simple colours, instead of hacking them down.

Setting the benchmark

Other past projects undertaken by Lee include a three-bedroom condominium unit in Citizen 2. Spanning 883 sq ft, meticulous planning led to the implementation of daring yet resourceful design solutions that optimised the space available. The end result is a striking, comfortable home that is at once photogenic and eminently liveable.

Another project undertaken was the Sinaran Sales Gallery and Show Unit, located in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur. Looking at the ergonomics, says Lee, a show house differs from a normal house in that the size of furniture used has to be altered slightly in order to maximise interior spaces, which may have to accommodate several large groups of visitors. As the project targeted younger demographics, its design emphasised bright, youthful and fun elements.

Lee often incorporates geometric elements and shapes to inspire homebuyers to be daring and bold in crafting their homes.

Throughout his prolific career, Lee has earned numerous design accolades, such as Gold recognition in the Residential (Show Units) Category from the Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID) in 2014 and Silver in the Corporate Office Category (IIDA 2012), as well as a mention in the Top 10 Coolest Offices in the World list by Inc Magazine in 2013.

(By Felicia Soon, 7 March 2019)

What are some of your favourite interior designs? Let us know below.


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thanks for sharing, now we have another source when looking out for ID