Interview with Rix Yap from Singapore

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Rix Yap

Rix Yap is a renowned interior designer based in the city of Singapore, known for adding a luxurious element to each of his projects. His Malaysian heritage has provided him with a distinctive skill in blending various design styles, which appeals to the sophisticated preferences of his high-end clients.

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

I'm an accomplished interior designer based in the affluent city of Singapore, bringing a touch of opulence to every project. My roots in the culturally rich landscape of Malaysia have endowed me with a unique ability to seamlessly integrate diverse design styles, catering to the discerning tastes of a high-profile clientele.

As a designer, I don't just follow trends; I curate personalised and luxurious spaces. My commitment to design principles is unwavering, ensuring a perfect balance between my creative vision and your distinctive aspirations.

With a prestigious Bachelor's degree from USM, my journey in design has evolved from foundational work in government flats to crafting exquisite interiors for the luxury market in Singapore. My expertise lies in the intricate realm of rebuilding and Additions & Alterations (A&A) for landed houses, where I transform spaces into modern, functional, and visually stunning residences.

Understanding the unique challenges and opportunities presented by high-end properties, I bring a wealth of experience and an impeccable eye for detail. From complete rebuilds to enhancing existing spaces, I create homes that epitomise elegance and sophistication.

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

My journey into design was a natural evolution driven by a deep-rooted passion for art, drawing, and craftsmanship. After years of academic exploration, I discovered that my spirit thrives in an environment that rejects monotony and repetition. Design became the perfect outlet for my need to constantly create and innovate.

The allure of design lies in its capacity to bring forth something entirely new. It's about aesthetics and presenting the world with fresh perspectives that may have remained hidden. I chose to be a designer because I yearn to share my unique vision, offering glimpses of beauty that are both unconventional and captivating. Design, for me, is a dynamic process of exploration and creation, where each project is an opportunity to contribute to a visual narrative that challenges norms and inspires.

In essence, becoming a designer is my way of contributing to the world, leaving behind a trail of designs that speak to the extraordinary in the ordinary, creating an impact that goes beyond the visual and resonates on a deeper level.

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

After gaining extensive experience in both high-end and low-end markets, common and exclusive projects, I've discerned a desire to establish a platform that brings together exceptional clients, talented designers, and reliable contractors. The "+" in this endeavor symbolises the amalgamation of skilled individuals, reflecting collaboration at its finest.

The "+," in a broader sense, signifies the fusion of client needs and innovative design thinking. It encapsulates the collaborative spirit, where the creative input of both clients and designers is celebrated. Equally important, it extends its embrace to encompass and appreciate the valuable contributions of contractors.

My vision is to create spaces that are the result of a harmonious collaboration among all parties involved. This is a departure from design firms solely focused on their own benefits. Here, the goal is to foster a cooperative and mutually beneficial environment, ensuring that every project is a true reflection of collective expertise and vision.

4What does “design” mean to you?
Design, for me, is an exploration of the novel and the practical, a harmonious blend of freshness and functionality tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. I aspire to create spaces that are not only aesthetically unique but also resonate with a sense of practicality. The "new" in my designs represents a fusion of uncommon elements, while the "fresh" aspect ensures an environment that is not only pleasing to the eye but also a joy to experience and use.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?

I am drawn to the tranquility and timelessness of Zen design, blending it seamlessly with elements that resonate with life. To me, a harmonious space is crafted by integrating natural elements like plants, water, rocks, raw materials, the existing structure, and the rich history of both the space and its inhabitants.

It's about creating a visually appealing design and curating an environment that speaks to the heart, incorporating elements that breathe life and history into the space.

6To you, what makes a “good” design?

Design, to me, is a personalised journey where functionality dances with timeless aesthetics, creating a harmonious blend reminiscent of Zen principles.

I believe in crafting spaces and products that transcend the ordinary—simple yet endlessly sophisticated. With a touch of Zen inspiration, my designs exude tranquility and balance. What makes them truly captivating is their simplicity, concealing a wealth of hidden functions ready to surprise and effortlessly resolve various user needs.

7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?

After engaging in profound discussions with my clients, I discovered a shared vision centered around life, plants, the outdoors, and a commitment to lasting materials.

It brought to mind the enchanting world of Pandora from the movie 'Avatar,' where The Tree of Souls stood as a powerful connection to Eywa. Inspired by this, I envisioned incorporating a symbolic tree as the centerpiece of our space—a living, breathing hub that fosters connectivity among workers and clients alike.

8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?

My primary inspiration comes from two key sources: firstly, the enchanting world of Pandora in the movie 'Avatar,' specifically The Tree of Souls, which serves as a symbolic hub of life and connectivity.

Secondly, I draw inspiration from the elegant cement works of Tada Ando, influencing my design approach, particularly in the creation of beautiful and enduring floor designs.

Additionally, the innate beauty of raw materials, often seen in tranquil garden and park settings, contributes to the organic and timeless aesthetic I aim to achieve in my projects.

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

Yes! The rich cultural tapestry of my country significantly influences my design journey. Living in a multicultural society provides me with the opportunity to absorb the best elements from each culture, weaving them seamlessly into my designs.

The diversity in material usage across different cultures sparks creativity and allows me to craft unique, beautiful elements. In particular, the abundance of plants and natural elements in my country serves as a boundless source of inspiration, compelling me to combine them with styles I adore, resulting in the creation of innovative and distinctive design elements.

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

The significance of receiving this prestigious award holds profound personal value for me. Over the course of the past decade, I dedicated myself wholeheartedly to my craft, yet faced challenges in showcasing my work to the public and gaining recognition from specific groups.

Through my individual efforts, I am fortunate to have now not only validated my capabilities but also demonstrated to my family, friends, and supportive clients the fruits of my labor.

11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?

This project stands as a unique endeavour that seamlessly integrates interior and exterior skills, providing a platform for me to showcase my complete potential and design proficiency.

The rare opportunity granted by the client to freely express my creativity in a field where such autonomy is uncommon has been invaluable. Joining the London Design Awards is a step towards sharing this beautifully crafted space with the world.

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

The foremost challenges we faced revolved around budget constraints and a tight timeline. To address these, we endeavored to employ a simple yet aesthetically pleasing and time-efficient approach to complete the project. This led us to utilise cost-effective materials with appealing textures, a deliberate choice in line with our design philosophy.

Given the nature of the project being a lighting shop, wiring presented another significant challenge. We had to consider the client's desire for flexibility in changing lights. Consequently, we opted for cement board instead of traditional brick and ceiling board, ensuring a practical solution that aligns with the client's needs while maintaining a visually pleasing design.

13How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?
This will serve as a cornerstone, propelling me forward on my journey to become an even greater designer.
14What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?
  • Flexibility is key in this industrial setting, allowing for constant adaptation and improvement based on existing conditions.

  • Witnessing the joy on my client's face is a driving force behind my work.

  • Striving to enhance and optimise elements, transforming them into both aesthetically pleasing and practical solutions.

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

I infuse my designs with a deep personal connection, as if I'm pouring a part of myself into each project.

My process begins with extensive conversations with clients to truly understand their needs and preferences. Only after gaining a thorough understanding of their vision do I integrate my design philosophy, creating spaces that reflect both their essence and my artistic perspective.

16What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?
Persisting in the pursuit of your beliefs, dedicating three, five, or even a decade of unwavering effort, instills a profound faith that, eventually, your convictions will manifest into reality. It is a testament to resilience, determination, and the enduring belief that the journey, no matter how lengthy, is a crucial part of achieving your ultimate aspirations.
17What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?

Continuously striving for real-life experiences and aiming for higher stages or joining larger companies is essential for personal and professional growth. The pursuit of learning should be relentless, and embracing humility becomes a key factor.

Recognising that every aspect of life can serve as a valuable teacher in the field of design is crucial. Stay humble, absorb knowledge from your surroundings, and let every experience contribute to your journey in becoming a seasoned and well-rounded designer.

18Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
I grapple with low self-esteem as my work and taste often go unnoticed by many. Nevertheless, this circumstance fuels my determination to work even harder, driven by the desire to transform this lack of recognition into a testament of my growth and capabilities.
19Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My lecturer, Dr. Azizi, played a pivotal role in teaching me the essence of design and what it truly entails. I aspire to apply those lessons effectively, with the hope of making him proud
20What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Never underestimate yourself; persist in pursuing your dreams. Pay no heed to those who fail to recognise your worth or attempt to discourage you. Instead, focus on continuous learning and growth.

Winning Entry

Eco - Luminance Oasis | 2023

Eco-Luminance Oasis | R+ Studio and Rix Yap

Verde Light’s company vision is going beyond mere illumination. With a strong commitment to sustainability, Verde Light … (Read more at London Design Awards)

Rix Yap

Rix Yap is a renowned interior designer based in the city of Singapore, known for adding a luxurious element to each of his projects. His Malaysian heritage has provided him with a distinctive skill in blending various design styles, which appeals to the sophisticated preferences of his high-end clients.

Read more about this interview with Xuechen Chen from the United States, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 London Design Awards.