Designing his very own bachelor pad 'an awesome experience' for ID

WHO: An interior designer in his 30s

HOME: A two-bedroom condominium unit on Keng Lee Road

SIZE: 1,012 sqf

When Edmund Liau, design principal of Blackrice, embarked on designing his first home three years ago, he set out to create a home that represents him as a designer and one where other designers can showcase their work.

The modern contemporary interior reflects his personal style, and his curated collection of pieces by young designers around the region add a touch of orientalism and eclecticism.

Edmund discovers these designers and their works during his regular travels to Thailand, Taiwan and other countries, as well as through fellow designer friends, design fairs, art events and even social media.

He also collaborates with a few of these designers on some of his projects.

"It is a wonderful experience to work with these young designers. Very often, I get inspired by them, instead of them being inspired by me," says Edmund.

What was it like to design your very first bachelor pad?

It was an awesome experience, even though it was a bit of a challenge. I had so many ideas and nobody to tell me what was best, so it took me a while to decide on my wants and my needs.

I always advise my clients on what is best for them and what I think would make their home look great but, in this case, no one was there to give me advice. It was almost as if my left brain had to constantly reason with my right brain because I could not have everything.

Were there any design ideas that you were trying to explore through your home project?

Yes, I wanted to use my home as an experiment to prove to myself and homeowners that using dark coloured materials does not necessarily mean that you will end up with a home that is too dark for comfort.

It is all about finding the right colour balance between dark coloured materials and lighter coloured furniture or accessories.

You host parties at your home frequently. What are these gatherings like and how does the design of your home complement such social settings?

I have parties at my place at least once or twice a month. The home was designed for entertaining.

I have an extendable dining table to accommodate big sit-down dinner parties. Movable furniture such as stools and side tables are placed around the house to provide flexibility. Different lighting moods can be achieved for various social settings.

As homes are getting smaller, outdoor space should not be neglected, as they make good spill-out space for guests.

There are many furniture pieces, ornaments and artworks by young designers around your home. Why do you love their works?

I look to young designers for inspiration, and also to remind myself of how others are constantly fighting for what they love to do and what they believe in.

Many young designers do not have the opportunity to showcase their fresh, creative ideas or products.

As a designer, I think that we should all stand by one another and help each other whenever possible. A beautiful home very often includes works from many designers, young and old.

Tell us about your fascination with elephants and tea containers.

I love elephants, which explains why there are lots of elephant paraphernalia scattered around the house.

Their strong exterior, excellent memory and animal instinct to stay together as a herd reminds me of how we should never give up, and to always support one another.

Most importantly, it reminds me to always remember those who helped me in life and give thanks.

Tea, on the other hand, is my indulgence. My love for good-quality, high-altitude tea from Taiwan and other parts of China has resulted in a growing collection of tea containers from all around the world.

There is nothing a cup of nice tea cannot solve at the end of a rough day.

You are trained as an architect. What made you switch to interior design?

As much as I enjoyed working in architecture, interior design work calls to me on a more personal level. Projects are more intimate, faster and on a smaller scale. Very often a lot of the job is about dealing with the client.

Plenty of communication on a very personal level is required to really understand not only the client's needs but, most importantly, what the client wants, too. Their satisfaction is the priority.

How did Blackrice come about?

Blackrice was incorporated as a small design practice to create beautiful interiors for residential or commercial clients who wish to push boundaries, and to discover the beauty of design that can be created by the interaction between designer and client.

This process often involves a lot of self-discovery and understanding.

WHERE TO GO: Blackrice, TEL: 8112-0844

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