As the winners of the 2013 Design is … Award Market Award, Shaw Contract Group winning firms interviewed as part of a section of Shaw Contract Group blog which will last a year. Throughout the year, readers can learn more about the 48 winning projects and the individuals who perform them. These are their stories.
Sean Yip, Founder & Executive Creative Director of SWOT Design Group, spoke with Shaw Contract Group about the “Malaysian brand icon,” enhancing customer experiences and creating the best way to display the products.
How did you find your love for design? Is there anyone who played a major role in that?
I have a passion for design since junior high. Always like to design new creations especially 3-Dimensional elements and architecture. Therefore, I’ve decided to enroll in an Interior Design programme in order to experience & expedite the Design results/outcome.
Did you ever stray from this path or think about changing course?
Yes, I did wanted to become an Architect at certain point in time so that I can combine the designing of both the exterior and interior of a building to achieve a more desirable results without any design constraints.
What about this project represents why you choose to be a designer?
Royal Selangor Visitor Centre’s project presented a good challenge for me & has given me an opportunity to bring a local product & to introduce this brand into the international scene/market via the Interior Design of this project.
What is your first memory of the project?
I was apprehensive at first, was a bit concerned that this client might be conservative in their thinking. However, I was determined to introduce new design ideas to bring this brand to life & was glad that the client had a forward thinking mind & was receptive to my proposed ideas.
What was the happiest moment of the project?
The warm & receptive end result from the public & media. An innovative design that breaks away from the traditional store design.
Is there anything about this project that touched you personally?
Being able to translate the proposed design concept into reality. And the improvement of the overall product displays.
Tell me something that was unusual about the project.
Royal Selangor is a Malaysian pewter manufacturer and retailer, the largest of its type in the world. It is truly an unique Malaysian brand icon.
What are you most proud of?
Having achieved the balance between the brand & operational requirements, and the ability to provide an unique retail experience for customers and products visibility. We’ve also managed to improved the lighting to accentuate each delicate and intricate details on the beautifully crafted pewter products.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned during this process?
The various display heights & sizes for each product’s SKUs played an important role. A careful understanding is required to introduce materials/finishes to enhance/highlight the monotoned products.
Think about a situation when things turned out different than you expected; how did the outcome impact the end result of the project?
The client was concerned about the product’s SKU display. Client’s manner of displaying the products was a conventional wall display. I’ve finally persuaded the client to accept new design ideas by focusing or showcasing the product using a long-ish loose fixture display and to forgo the wall display instead.
Tell me about your client.
The client was supportive, forward thinking and willing to accept new design ideas and challenges.
Tell me about the selection process for this project. What do you think made them select you for this work?
Perhaps, it was due to the client wanted to try working with a radical Interior Designer? You may want to check with the client on their reasons for hiring me?
Do you have any stories you want to share about project?
The design journey on how to bring a traditional/classic household brand into a modern & contemporary context.
What were some of the challenges working with an existing building?
The site constraints of low ceiling height and existing M&E services which cannot be removed or relocated.
How did you decide to base the design on the pewter craft in Malaysia?
It was a natural narrative design progression to bring the heritage of pewter craft & to illustrate the mining process & to use these elements in the Interior Design of this project.
The light fixtures are focal points in the space. Tell me more about them.
We’ve re-used the old light fixtures from the previous premise and were able to create different ambiance and brought the lights fixtures down from the double volumned ceiling.
What has the reaction been to the space?
The reaction of the public & client to the space has been positive thus far. The Interior Design of RSVC definitely has a better flow of conducive spaces for both retail & visitor centre, enhanced products display & enticed customers to pick-up and appreciate the products better. This in-turn has helped to improve the overall sales of the merchandize & products.