Living Gaia - Singapore Interior Design Firm

Qanvast Designer Spotlight: Living Gaia
Posted 2015-05-24

Living Gaia Interior stepped into the scene last year, with a green vision to utilise environmentally friendly and sustainable products in their interior construction. Was it an easy feat given the interior design industry is more competitive? Do such materials and interior cost more? Hear it from Clive, Director of Living Gaia Interior as he shares the secret to their success.

Qanvast: How did Living Gaia came about?

Clive [C]: Just to start with a little background of myself, I used to be from one of the big interior design firms in Singapore but I decided to start my own company that could stand out in its own unique way.

I got together some suppliers and suggested on using sustainable materials. It wasn’t an easy start as suppliers then was limited and bringing such materials in is expensive. Now, we have managed to secure more vendors to work with.

Qanvast: What is different about Living Gaia?

C: I would say we spent a fair amount of time training our sales designers. Frontline staffs who join Living Gaia are not allowed to serve customers until they are familiar with the products, procedures and the systems in our company.

Also, we want to remain efficient and be able to deliver quality work to our homeowners. As such, we will limit the number of deals the project managers can take on so that they can devote their time and attention to homeowners whom they are working with.

Qanvast: Is using sustainable material more expensive?

C: I wouldn’t think so. In fact some of the materials are available in the market and can be used by other ID firms. Take for example, paint. For us, we opt for odourless paint with low or zero VOC, which is less harmful to infants. Appliances wise, we pick energy-saving units, like Mitsubishi inverters. You will be surprise that the difference in price exceed by a few hundred dollars, but the quality and benefit is better in the long run.

Qanvast: How has interior design evolved?

C: It is definitely more challenging than before! Comparing now and then, these are the areas homeowners are concerned with.

Then:

Are you reliable?
Is your workmanship good?
Is the price reasonable?
Now:

Are you reliable?
Is your workmanship good?
Is the price reasonable?
“What can you do to maximize my budget?” or “I have a certain design concept in mind but I have only $X for my budget, what can you propose?”
Do you know your product well?
How is your service?
Simply put, their expectations and demands increase but not their renovation budget.

This is also why we spent two months training our sales designers. We have to ensure that they are aware of what the homeowners are asking for given that homeowners now are savvier and would have already done some research on materials and design concepts.

Qanvast: You must have done quite a handful of interesting projects given your unique proposition. Pick one and tell us about it.

C: That would be the penthouse with a rustic French cottage theme. In terms of design conceptualisation, it’s one of the more challenging projects. The homeowners loved strong colours and their previous interior was Tudor-inspired. In this new apartment, they wanted to have a fresh interpretation with the same theme.

I spent 3 weeks working on the design proposal and they loved it! After we pinned down the requirements, we spent 4 to 5 weeks executing the design. We used heavily textured laminates and suede to bring out the rustic look.

Qanvast: What advice can you give to homeowners?

C: We will always encourage homeowners to come down to the showroom so that we can understand your requirements and better quote you. We can always quote you at a lower price over email or on the line, but the items we propose may not be what you are looking for.

Most of us are concern about prices, but you’ll also need to analyse on what’s really useful to you.

For example, two packages with different components but cost the same, go through each item and see if it fits your requirement. If one proposal has a Caesarstone kitchen surface while the other has a solid surface kitchen top, go for Caesarstone if you do heavy cooking.

We understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, thus we don’t push our packages upfront. We try to understand your requirements first before we propose or customise.

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