Jermyn Ng is the Founder of Renolux Interior, an interior design company in Singapore. He founded Renolux Interior in 2018, after having started his interior design journey in 2016. Jermyn graduated from NUS Architecture in 2016. He takes great pride in designing dream homes for homeowners and provides excellent before, during and after care services.
(1) What is the inspiration behind the name “Renolux Interior” and the tagline “Luxury Made Affordable”?
The name Renolux Interior comes from the mission statement of making Luxury an affordable choice for homeowners. We have always associated luxury with a hefty price tag. I guess that’s a social construct that we subconsciously accept. However, when we search deep within us, luxury is not how much we pay but how exquisite a certain product is and how it makes us feel.
The difference between a luxury product and a common good besides the material involved is mainly the design thought behind it. A great example will be Zara. Though tagged with an economical price tag, they hire world-renowned designers to design their clothes and sell them to the masses. They broke the entire social norm and went on to be one of the most successful clothing companies with A-lister celebrities rocking it on the red carpet every year.
I believe that the same applies to interior design. With meticulous planning of every detail coupled with bold design choices, we can create an exquisite space worthy of the term luxurious. As such, I truly believe that Luxury can be made affordable for the everyday consumer.
(2) How do you ensure that homeowners have the best interior design experience?
Renolux Interior is unique in a sense where we specialise in providing a sensory experience. We create a VR home tour to the clients before the renovation even takes place. This allows them to imagine themselves walking through the house, seeing every angle and every detail of the space.
Being able to experience the space itself gives assurance to clients that their requests have been properly communicated. It also allows them to make changes before the start of the renovation, which saves a lot of the costs involved.
(3) How has interior design changed over the past few years for Singaporeans?
The background of interior designers has slowly shifted. Instead of only being contractors, interior designers nowadays have skillsets such as 3D drawings, VR home tours, etc.
The method of getting sales has also changed. In the past, people usually found interior designers that they know personally as there are not many options available before social media and search engines became a household tool. In this day and age, interior design businesses rely a fair bit on social media and online marketing. This creates stiffer competition that prompts interior designers to improve and adapt, creating a more wholesome design experience for our clients. This in my opinion has benefitted the industry as a whole as it holds us to higher standards in our work.
(4) What has been your most memorable project to date?
The most memorable project to date was done for an expatriate couple. They are a really fun couple who are very open to ideas and suggestions. They really love traditional oriental designs while maintaining a modern look for their house. They allowed me to freely bounce ideas with them and this created a very dynamic working relationship.
Through many drafts and renderings, we managed to come up with a design that reflects the playful and creative nature of the couple as well as accentuating their love for traditional oriental elements. The clients were very happy with the end results.
(5) How do you address requests that seem logistically improbable/unfeasible?
I will first find out as many details about it to determine if some ideas are feasible or not. If it is deemed unfeasible or improbable, I will present my research to my clients and walk them through any alternative.
A common example is the implementation of a particular design from Pinterest. As we all know, houses in Singapore are getting smaller. When a homeowner wishes to implement a certain design that they see from Pinterest which mostly comes from Western European countries where space is not an issue, implementing it in a small house will then be unfeasible. As such, I will explain to them the limitations and will propose certain ideas that match their needs while working within the restrictions. This often creates a pleasant surprise for the homeowners when they realise that their needs can be met by careful implementation of design within a small space.
(6) What are some of the challenges you face being an interior designer in Singapore?
I would have to say the lack of transparency in prices as a whole industry when it comes to marketing. In the industry, there are a lot of companies that mislead clients with unbelievably low prices in their advertisement to bait them in. This creates a scenario where the customer will wrongly assume that your prices are high in comparison. I believe that we as interior designers should be always honest in our marketed price.
Another challenge the industry faces as a whole is the bad reputation that we have. I am sure all of us have read cases of interior design companies closing down after the collection of deposits or providing poor workmanship, far from what was promised when trying to close the deal.
To combat these challenges, we as interior designers need to slowly win back the trust of homeowners, doing a good job in renovating the house that they entrust us with. Through this, your work etiquette will slowly spread through word of mouth helping you get a foothold in this industry.
(7) What advice would you give to aspiring interior designers out there?
Our primary role as an interior designer is to design and manage projects instead of doing sales. While sales is an inevitable part of our job, we should never make it our priority. Put in the effort to propose a great design which matches your clients’ needs and manage the projects on hand well and I assure you your sales goal will take care of itself.
Equip yourself with all the drawing software skills and do not rely on “in house designers” to get your job done. Pride yourself as a designer and present your own design and drawings to the clients instead of acting as a salesman selling your colleague's designs.
I believe if you have the passion and perseverance, this career can be a very rewarding one. This is one of the few jobs that allows you to see and touch your own accomplishment. When you get to see the expression of joy and gratefulness from the owner's face when they see the finished work, you will really feel proud of yourself, something that money can never buy.
(8) When you were growing up, did you dream of being an interior designer?
Not really to be honest. I was more of a science nerd, going through the science stream all the way till Junior College (JC). It is after I graduated from JC that I asked myself what I really want in my life. I know I am someone that dislikes routines and hence an 8 to 5 job would probably be out of the picture. That is when I decided to study architecture in NUS and this slowly led me to an interest in interior design.
The step towards being an interior designer is a rather “crazy” one as nobody in my cohort at that point of time actually chose this route. In Singapore, we associate interior designers with the stereotype of contractors with limited education. Hence a question I am asked often is why study till undergrad only to work a job that doesn’t require even a Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) qualification?
I guess I am just a crazy guy who saw an opportunity in this industry to provide different design services and expertise through my education in architecture. I took this plunge and it wasn’t easy at first seeing how my peers are earning a good stable income while I struggle to make ends meet. Slowly but surely, I am building a clientele that appreciates my unique expertise in interior design and this led me to start my own business. I can say that I am happy to take this crazy plunge in my life.