Spacelogic, an interior design firm headquartered in Singapore, has been in the Cambodian market for the past five years.
Its niche is in the interior decoration of corporate companies. Since moving into its new office space six months ago, the company has expanded and brought in its sister company, Posh, that sells furniture both for corporate and lifestyle purposes. Same as it does back in Singapore, SPACElogic has outfitted many banks and big-name showrooms in Phnom Penh, some of which include ANZ Royal Bank, Vattanac Bank, Manulife, Prudential, Maybank, as well as Mazda, Kia, and Rolls Royce.
Here SPACElogic’s group executive director, Gregory Chia, talks to Post Property on the importance of proper interior designing and whether there is a direct influence of interior design choices on the sales success of a business.
Having been in the market here for five years, what are a few of the biggest differences in interior design you have experienced between then and now?
The property and real estate landscape has witnessed a sea-change over the last five years. This is especially evidenced in residential developments, retail and food and beverage. Unfortunately, these are not our focus areas. Residential projects will see major completions in the next few years. Retail and food and beverage will remain strong going forward. We hope that corporate companies and offices will do some catch-up. We have already witnessed a noticeable increase in entry by multinational corporations and the potential remains exciting.
What are the main challenges in interior design for corporate companies compared to that of residences?
Corporate companies, especially multinational companies, which we focus on, are usually much bigger in terms of area. There are also multiple departments, each with its own requirements. All the departments need to be “linked-up” or connected and not designed in isolation. Workflow is an important consideration for corporate space planning.
While every company likes to outdo others in terms of creativity, interior designers for corporate companies will need to exercise their creativity within the boundaries of an established corporate identity and permitted design guidelines. Once in a while,
permission is given to go beyond these guidelines. Designers sometimes prefer residential projects as they are free to express their creativity without worrying about such corporate guidelines.
Corporate projects tend to have more complicated technical requirements relating to MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) works and sometimes structural considerations may also be involved.
However, one key challenge for residential projects involves the interaction with home owners instead of professional managers. Dealing with personal preferences is usually more challenging than adhering to corporate guidelines.
Is there a direct influence on the sales success of a business such as a bank, retail store or showroom, based on its interior design and layout?
Absolutely! That is why multinational corporations are prepared to fork out top dollars to “look” better than their competitors. However, interior design has a much more profound impact on business than just pure look. Good interior design can certainly help to achieve the following:
I) Maintain and enhance the corporate image. A consistently good image will develop strong confidence in the quality of its products and services. Looking good provides a solid foundation for strong branding. Here, the entrance reception and conference room are the main focus.
II) Well-designed interior will boost staff morale, leading to better customer service. Corporate companies place significant importance to the design of welfare facilities like staff pantry, break-out or recreation and collaboration areas. The so called Google style concept, for example, is well accepted to promote thinking out of the box. Interior design will dictate the mood and build strong cultures within the workplace.
III) Well-thought-out space planning will promote better workflow and staff interaction at all levels. Space planning is crucial for banks. The banking hall layout and presentation as well as back room operations, all require specific, hard-core experience to deal with the requirements.
IV) Safety for both customers and staff is often overlooked or neglected, but is nevertheless an important concern in interior design.
What are the first few things that impact a customer’s perception when walking into a store, showroom or office space?
First, there has to be consistency in the brand and product presentation because brands and products are likely to be showcased in different media and in different physical locations.
Secondly, the focus should be on the brand and product itself. The interior design must serve to enhance the brand and product and not distract attention.
Thirdly, good interior design should create a conducive mood and atmosphere to draw the targeted audience. It must achieve that “inviting” feel and not be too loud or too “busy”. It is a common mistake to over-design.
With the residential market here booming, does the company see itself branching into residential interior design?
SPACElogic will continue to focus on our core-competencies in financial Institutions, offices and showrooms. Our involvement in residential projects, if any, will be exceptions.