Interview with Betty Fan of BAILICHEN INTERIOR DESIGN CO., LTD.

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Betty Fan

Betty Fan is an experienced interior designer working initially as an Interior Project Assistant, she is now her very own Project Owner. Her trust and expertise are always sought upon, while her skills prove that design is a perpetual exploration within a set boundary, turning inspirations into a reality.

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

From a young age, I found little interest in the sciences or the humanities, gravitating instead towards hands-on activities and drawing. Without formal art training, my free-spirited doodling became a cherished pastime.

In high school, I delved into furniture carpentry, where I uncovered a natural talent for drafting. Following my graduation and a few years in the workforce, I embarked on a journey into interior design, thus beginning my creative career.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?

Upon graduating from high school, I faced significant challenges in securing relevant work due to my inexperience. This struggle highlighted the critical importance of both education and hands-on experience, prompting me to return to school.

In choosing interior design, I discovered a dynamic field ripe with opportunities and challenges, fostering endless exploration and personal growth.

3Tell us more about your agency/company, job profile, and what you do.

From an assistant to a project owner, I was steadily cultivating a loyal client base before establishing my own studio. After leaving the company, my former clients continued to seek and trust my expertise.

This ongoing support has allowed me to reconnect with my former woodworking contractors, continuing my design journey within this vibrant and inclusive community of southern Taiwan.

4What does “design” mean to you?

I think design is a perpetual exploration within set boundaries. Each project requires a profound engagement with clients to grasp their lifestyles and dreams, turning these aspirations into reality.

It is a dynamic journey of uncovering and expressing the need, resulting in space that are rich with unique personalities and stories.

5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

I have a particular fondness for residential design because it fosters closer interaction with clients, allowing me to deeply understand their lifestyles and needs. Residential design goes beyond aesthetics; it's about presenting a way of life.

Each client brings unique needs and preferences, and my goal is to address these essential requirements through design, and crafting spaces that perfectly align with their way of living.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

A good design breaks conventions, sparking new ideas and styles. It should resonate deeply with the client's vision, fulfill their needs, and set trends, evoking emotional WOW.

Exceptional design is not only aesthetically pleasing but also harmoniously blends function and sentiment, enhancing everyday life with joy and convenience.

7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?
In this project, we embraced the challenge of designing a space for multiple generations living together. By reimagining residential aesthetics through innovative wall art and lighting design, we transformed the space with a fresh perspective.
8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?

My inspiration lies in transforming traditional elements into modern expressions, creating space that meets contemporary family needs while preserving aesthetics that last long.

This project focused on designing a residence suitable for a multi-generational family, blending modern art with classical elements to ensure each family member feels a sense of belonging together.

9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Growing up in a diverse and inclusive country like Taiwan has been a true blessing. The immense freedom and wealth of information available here have greatly influenced my designs.

Taiwan's rich cultural heritage and varied backgrounds allow me to incorporate a multitude of elements into my work, resulting in unique and profound creations that have become a hallmark of my design style.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the French Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?

Winning the French Design Award is both an honour and a profound encouragement to me and the team backing me up. It has prompted me to re-examine and reflect on my design process and philosophy, further enhancing our company's value.

This award has highlighted the positive changes behind the competition and the significant impact design can have on the industry and the environment.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the French Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

My initial motivation stemmed from the desire to challenge myself. Over time, I recognised the importance of building a portfolio and increasing my visibility. Participating in competitions became a crucial aspect of this journey, serving as both a challenge and an effective marketing strategy.

These competitions provide a platform to showcase my work, exchange ideas with peers, and continuously refine my design skills. We chose to participate in the French Design Award because its artistic philosophy aligns perfectly with the essence of this project, which has consistently been my passion.

12What were the main challenges you faced during the design process, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge was balancing traditional and modern elements while addressing the diverse needs of a contemporary family. We overcame this by integrating wall art, imbuing each wall with unique meaning and value.

By combining modern materials and techniques with classical aesthetics, we created a living space that is both beautiful and practical.

13How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?
Winning the award for the first time was incredibly moving and significantly boosted my confidence. This recognition made me realise that hard work and perseverance truly pay off. Moving forward, I will continue to embrace new design challenges, consistently pushing myself to create even more stunning works.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about the design industry?

I am deeply captivated by the diversity and dynamism of the design industry, where each project is unique and brimming with challenges and "surprises". Additionally, I find great joy in interacting with clients; understanding their needs and stories enables me to create truly meaningful designs.

Finally, the sense of accomplishment from seeing my designs come to life and bringing happiness and satisfaction to clients is an invaluable experience.

15What sets your design apart from others in the same category?

My designs begin with the client's needs and preferences, embracing--instead of avoiding--traditional elements while seamlessly incorporating them into modern concepts.

This approach allows my creations to retain traditional aesthetic values while catering to contemporary lifestyle needs, resulting in comfortable and harmonious living spaces for families. This unique blend is a distinctive hallmark of my design philosophy.

16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?

Design will become more accessible, evolving into a widely embraced activity. With the advent of new tools like AI, design processes will become simpler and more user-friendly, enabling more people to engage in design and DIY projects.

Interior design will become further segmented, providing more refined and professional services to meet diverse client needs.

17What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?
Don't be self-deprecating; be brave in participating in trends and challenges. As times change, designers need to constantly improve themselves to adapt to new demands and trends. It is essential to gain the client's complete trust and reliance, which requires continuous enhancement of professional skills.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Marketing is crucial; designers shouldn’t solely focus on their work but also know how to showcase it and their value to the world. Competitions serve as excellent marketing platform, offering one to challenge oneself, observe the outstanding work of peers, learn, draw inspiration, and gain recognition and appreciation for one's efforts and creativity.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
After winning the award, I often find myself lost in retrospection, contemplating the growth and inspiration it has brought me. This experience not only motivates me to work harder and innovate but also makes me cherish and appreciate every design opportunity that comes along the way.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?

Professor Wang Bi-fen from the Department of Interior Design at Shute University in Taiwan has been a significant inspiration to me. She taught me the profound meaning of design, emphasising that even the placement of a small stone requires careful consideration.

This understanding that every detail is crucial has profoundly influenced my design philosophy.

21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?

The key to success lies in humility and continuous learning. For me, whether it's tackling design challenges or interacting with the environment, maintaining a humble attitude is essential.

As designers, we should journey alongside our clients, helping them bring their dream spaces to life. After putting in the hard work, staying humble allows me to stay inspired and driven to create even more exceptional designs in the future.

Winning Entry

Weave of Light | Dining Room

Weave of Light

Weave of Light | Kitchen

Weave of Light

Weave of Light | Master Room

Weave of Light

Betty Fan

Betty Fan is an experienced interior designer working initially as an Interior Project Assistant, she is now her very own Project Owner. Her trust and expertise are always sought upon, while her skills prove that design is a perpetual exploration within a set boundary, turning inspirations into a reality.

Read more about this interview with Anais Kim from South Korea, the Silver Winner of the 2024 French Design Awards.