With its stable of certified and experienced interior designers, d’Phenomenal builds creative and highly personalised homes.
3 December 2021
Top image, from left: Shirley Stephanie, Chia Xueling, Kelly Chin, Kef Tan (Managing Director/Creative Director), Samuel Teo and Priscilla Chia
Text by Redzman Rahmat
In Singapore’s competitive interior design industry, standing out from your peers is a matter of making impactful homes while building trust and maintaining relationships. This is why design firm d’Phenomenal places such great importance on “real design”.
“We practice an architectural way of proposing a design or a concept,” says Managing Director and Creative Director Kef Tan. When it comes to the work processes of his firm, it’s all about arming his designers with the knowledge and experience to better serve his clients.
“I only hire design-based individuals with the proper certifications and background experience,” he emphasises. “It’s very rare for an interior design company to have only certified designers, and I’m proud to say that we’re one of the rare ones.”
“Each of my designers can draw up plans and they’re armed with the technical knowledge. Instead of a sales-oriented design team, which is common in Singapore, I decided to gather true blue designers and bring them to d’Phenomenal, where they can work together, inspire one another, and be proud of what they do.”
This commitment to excellence is constantly reflected in the firm’s work ethics. The team of designers works well together and takes on a collaborative approach towards each project proposal. “Each proposal is completely unique. We start each project from ground zero; we don’t take ideas from Google photos or Pinterest,” he says with a laugh. Instead, Kef and his team work on full layout proposals, complete with mood boards and accompanying artwork.
Starting from scratch for each individual project means that Kef and his designers need to constantly stay updated on the latest design trends. Whether it’s colours, materials or general aesthetics, the d’Phenomenal team makes sure that they are well aware of what homeowners might be interested in.
The dedication to their craft has led to bespoke projects, each with its own unique look, personality and design solutions. Kef however, points out that there is still a running theme across their portfolio of work. “They’re always bold and loud,” he says. As the creative director, Kef isn’t afraid to push boundaries and introduce new concepts in their work.
The company’s commitment to creativity is strengthened by its attitude towards relationship building. Kef explains that his designers always strive to connect with their clients so that there’s always an understanding of what the homeowners like, dislike and want to see in their homes. “It’s very important that our clients have a very close relationship with my designers. I believe that the more you meet them, the more you will love them.”
But it’s not just about fostering open lines of communication with the homeowners. At d’Phenomenal, the relationships with suppliers are just as important to the success of each project. “We’ve built very strong bonds with our suppliers. For example, during every furnishing proposal, I’ll bring my clients to the suppliers and we all get on the same page. We support one another and the collaboration always results in success.”
The values that define d’Phenomenal (whether it’s hiring certified designers, having a creative approach to design or placing importance on relationship building) are what makes the company stand out from a crowded market.
“We’re not money oriented and we don’t take part in the price wars that kill the industry. We focus on real design. I want each and every one of my team members to be able to walk out of d’Phenomenal with their head held high and proud of being a real designer.”
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