How did your design studio, Plus, come about?
My wife, Cheryl, and I started Plus when we were still architecture students in university as a way to work on things outside of the field and dream bigger. We felt that design was a vast realm for us to explore—there was graffiti, fashion, and so many other things we wanted to learn apart from just architecture.
We never expected Plus to become our full-time job, but eventually, as opportunities came, one thing led to another and it’s been 11 years of us running this business.
What is the most fulfilling part about what you do?
For me, it’s when we reach an understanding of what the clients want and they go, “Exactly! That’s it!”
It’s a moment where you can physically see everybody’s uncertainty being lifted, which I find very rewarding.
Tell us about the most ambitious project you’ve worked on thus far.
It’s a design show that we did a year back to create value for the Little India precinct by curating walking tours for people to explore the lesser-known parts of the neighbourhood. For this project, we had a lot trust from our clients to play around freely with what we wanted to do, so we really went crazy with it!
In preparation for this project, I walked up and down the streets of Little India for four to five months and talked to many people. Everybody was so welcoming and kept feeding me when I was there, so much so that I actually gained weight despite being on my feet the whole time!
What has it been like working with Cheryl?
Hell! (laughs) Jokes aside, working together involves a lot of give and take.
We used to argue a lot but it’s only normal because we both care deeply about the projects we work on. After working together for so many years, we’ve now reached a point where we are in consensus about who should take certain parts of a project based on our own strengths—graphic design for her and interior design for me. It’s a line that we try not to cross as we respect each other.
The same goes for the rest of our team. We may make little detours here and there whenever we have disagreements, but what’s important is that we’re all headed in the same direction.
Is having a good work-life balance important to you?
I don’t believe in work-life balance, but rather work-life integration. Cheryl will tell you that I’m a very boring person, and I work 24/7. If I do go on vacation, it’s only because there’s something I want to see or learn that will help me improve my business. I guess I just have a one-track mind!
You have a young daughter too! What’s one thing you hope she will remember as she grows up?
That she has a choice in everything that she does. As parents, we will never judge her for the choices she makes, but she will have to learn to accept the consequences of her decisions, whether good or bad.