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Interview with Directors Benny & Kent from IDFFERENT Design

About IDFFERENT Design (Pronounced as 'Different Design')

Our goal as IDFFERENT is to help more young designers, and other people in this industry as well. We would like to be united with all the other firms, working together towards the same goal, to achieve something better for local Singapore interior design industry. We understand that this cannot be achieved overnight, so we are working towards that slowly, but surely. As IDFFERENT, we love the spirit of family. Our showroom exudes the feeling of home, as we want clients who visit to get that feeling too.

Image by IDFFERENT Design via IDFFERENT Design

What inspired you guys to become interior designers?

Kent: The first interior design company I was in attached me to a very good mentor, and from there I learnt and my interest and passion continued growing, slowly shaping me to who I am today. I also love the sense of pride when the home is completed and the owner moves in.

Benny: There have been many scams going around revolving interior designers and renovation, and I want to do something about it. I want to rebuild the trust between homeowners and interior designers in general. This issue is no small matter, as a renovation process involves a huge sum of money, and that can really affect the victim of these scams. I want to do something to help, to let people know that as interior designers, we are not that. We are here to help homeowners realize their dream. I have this sense of responsibility to help improve the industry as well, and this is what keeps me going.

With the ever changing trend of design styles and ideas, what is one key principle that you follow no matter what the project is?

Kent: The overall look of the design is important, but what’s actually most important is safety. For practicality, it depends on the individual. For safety, especially when there are kids involved, it is a high priority. So it is the responsibility of the designer to advise and guide the homeowners on what is suitable and safe, or what can be made safer without compromising the design.

Benny: On practicality, the designer’s point of view and the clients point on view may differ. So it really is different for everyone. For me, whatever I do has to be logical. Don’t restrict yourself to certain products just because you have to use them, but instead use what you feel is correct and suits the design style.

Image by IDFFERENT Design via IDFFERENT Design

Where do you get the inspiration for your designs from?

Kent: I love travelling and staying at beautiful hotels as it really exposes me to great ideas. I do love shopping too, looking at malls, stores, and their designs, which also fills me with ideas too, not just for commercial, but residential as well. Every designer will have one design that they love, but that doesn’t mean he or she can only do that design, it is merely their preference. Sometimes, reading magazines, articles and materials, looking at other designers and their projects, you can learn plenty from all these sources too, be it design ideas, or how we can improve and upgrade our concepts too.

How do you think loose furniture plays a part in creating the essence of space in a home?

Benny: Ornamentation is the process of adding items to a work of art in order to enhance the aesthetic characteristics, depth and clarity of its symbolic implications. It links people to things and make their relationship more intimate with their surroundings compared to blank surfaces.

Kent: Regarding space and ornaments, space is limited most of the time, so we have to use what is suitable and applicable. Sometimes, when owners bring over items from their previous house, it may not fit the design style that was proposed. We would then either advise them to keep it and not use it, or we could also adapt and either modify the item itself or modify the design plan so that it will all fit. We have to show homeowners how it will look, give them a better understanding and visualization, so they will understand and see from our perspective, after which we can then go along discussing what we can do so that everything works out.

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How important is communication in an interior design process?

Kent: It is crucial, it is super important, if not the most important factor in an interior design process. First of all, you have to understand the client’s wants and needs. Miscommunication is a big issue, not only to owners, but to our workers, even between colleagues as well. Here at IDFFERENT, we maintain a ‘kampong’ spirit, we help each other out, so the communication has to be strong between us too. I would much rather say too much, than say too little, because when you leave stuff out, assumptions are bound to be made, and then miscommunication occurs.

Benny: In our job, it’s not only our responsibility to understand the client’s needs, it’s also our responsibility to let them know what we are doing. If they are not kept updated with what we’re doing, then there’s already a gap in the communication. Communication is a two way street. Another issue would be overpromising from the interior designer. They might want to try their best to convert and close the deal, then they might overpromise, which leads to the client having over expectations. If you cannot deliver, don’t overpromise. Be sincere, be upfront.

What are some examples of an interior designer going the extra mile for a homeowner?

Benny: Before the pandemic, we will always accompany our clients to overseas to look and shop for furniture. However, before you even go the extra mile, you have to settle the foundations first. Deliver what you have proposed. What is the point of going the extra mile if your bases are not covered? The reality is that the extra things you’ve done will never matter if you don’t even deliver what you’ve promised in the first place.

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What are some moments where a homeowner has done something for you that was very memorable?

Kent: During the pandemic, I received a message from a homeowner whose project has been completed for around 2 years already. A very simple message, “Hey Kent, how is your business? Is it affected? Do keep in touch.”. It’s a very simple gesture, but it’s so heartwarming. I felt guilt, actually, because instead of me sending that message to them, they came to check up on me first. After the pandemic started to die down, I went to visit them for a meal. To me, to many people actually, a job is still a job, but sometimes when a homeowner taps your shoulder and says thank you, I feel like that’s so much better than buying us food or drinks. That “thank you” creates such a big impact.

Benny: Referral. Homeowners refer us to others without getting any benefits from us, so it means we’ve done something right in our work and services, and we’re glad that they will go to that step of referring us to their friends and family, we really appreciate it. People won’t just recommend products or services for no reason, so the fact that they are confident enough in us to refer us to others means a lot.

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How do you guys spend your time during breaks?

Kent: To me, taking breaks is very important. Everybody has to take breaks, everybody has to eat. Never ever skip a meal, no matter how busy you are. You have to take care of yourself, both physically and mentally, to be able to carry on with your work.

Benny: For long breaks, our company has the culture of going for company trips. Our longest break in a year is during the Chinese New Year period, almost 2-3 weeks. So this is where we’ll take a break, and bond together as a family, building on the camaraderie.

What advice would you give to fresh or aspiring interior designers?

Kent: Just do it. The problems that you’ll face are always lesser than the ways that you’re going to solve them. For example, you have thousands, maybe millions of ways to reach a goal. There are many factors. It is the same with a problem, you have so many ways to solve it. Sometimes, you have to think out of the box, open your heart, and look further.

Benny: Mutual respect. You have to respect whoever is around you, be it your boss, your colleagues, your clients, or even yourself. Also, as Kent mentioned, just do it. Many fresh designers like to overthink, thinking that they can’t do this or that, but you have to try first before you know whether it works. When facing obstacles, go through them. During the mistakes and hard times, you may think it’s a big deal, which may be true, but it’s a lesson that you can learn from. Once you go through it, you’ll realise that all these things are not as big a deal as you’ve once thought.

Any tips for homeowners?

Benny: Be practical, and don’t be afraid to let your designer know your concerns or thoughts. They are there to help you, so you have to open up to them, be it design ideas, budget, or your wants and needs.

Image by IDFFERENT Design via IDFFERENT Design

What is the future that is planned for IDFFERENT Design?

Benny: New consumer behaviors has changed the process of product research, business development, marketing and online shopping is revolutionizing every single day. So we are planning to go along the path of e-commerce, to adapt the new method of doing business.

Kent: We aspire to be the leaders in the market. We want to be something different, to aspire and influence others to do better. This kind of positive competition is very beneficial, so that we can all work on improving ourselves, to be even better. Even between colleagues there is the presence of positive competition, regarding sales or what not, which helps to improve us and each other. The challenge is always a good thing in a competition.


Benny (Director)

Kent (Director)


722B Geylang Road

Singapore 389633

Tel: +65 9838 2722

Email: idfferent.design@gmail.com