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Get to know your ID: Carmen Tang of Wolf Woof

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'Get to know your ID' is a new online series where we invite local interior designers to share their thoughts and opinions so that our readers and the public can get to know them a little better. This week we speak to Carmen Tang, design director of boutique design studio Wolf Woof. 

Carmen Tang of Wolf Woof. 

1. What are some questions you would like your clients to ask you?

I usually like my clients to ask me: 

a) What is your forte? How are you different from other IDs out there? 

b) What do you feel is the most important part of renovation? 

c) Form and functionality... which should win out? 

d) What is your personality and what kind of designer are you? 

e) How religious are you with sticking to budget? 

2. Is it helpful when homeowners come prepared with pinterest boards and moodboards at the first meeting?

Definitely. Why leave things to chance when we can clarify with images? Styles can be easily described but a mood or feel can’t. 

Carmen's design for a two-bedroom condominium apartment in Joo Chiat.

3. What is one common misconception you feel most clients have, and what is the actual reality? 

The most common misconception I feel is that home design can only be approached in a certain way. And when I challenge that, clients are usually pretty surprised that it’s all a matter of setting your own limits. This is because the industry has been working in a pretty fixed manner. So my job is to show clients that the envelope can be pushed. We can approach interior design in an unconventional manner without going over-the-top. 

4. Do you ever reject projects? What kind of projects do you reject? 

Yes, I do reject projects. I don’t like to, but I have to when I feel the client and I think on different wavelengths and are incompatible with each other.

I also reject clients who have a too utilitarian approach. I understand that a certain level of practicality is needed, since the clients are the ones living in the home and it has to serve them well. However, overly practical clients will prioritise their functional at the expense of creativity and aesthetics. In this kind of situation, my place as a designer in the project is compromised as I am unable to fulfill my role as a creative. So it is of paramount importance that homeowners know what they really want in a home and then get the designer who is a right fit. Only then will it be a win-win situation for all. 

5. What kind of design brief excites you? 

A brief with clear dos and don’ts because my mind is often swimming with a million ideas. I need a brief to narrow down the options. Of course I have dealt with very open briefs before and they worked out well in the end. It really depends on the chemistry I share with the homeowners. 

6. What do you offer that differentiates you from other interior design firms? 

I approach interior design from an artistic and creative perspective, and I am not confined by the conventions of typical interior design. My backhround in graphic design, branding and marketing also sets me apart from my peers.

Toy Boutique House is a four-bedroom apartment in Pasir Ris. 

7. Can you share with us a memorable project you did, and why it was memorable to you? 

It’s a tie between the Toy Boutique house (at Vue 8) and the Camper Van house (at Waterview).

For Toy Boutique house, the project really challenged me to integrate the owner's collection of toys into the interior design of the living room. The overall design turned out really well, which gave me a huge sense of satisfaction. 

Camper Van house was memorable because design inspiration was derived from the client's name, Van, which resulted in the adventure-based concept of the home. Also, because the clients engaged a geomancer, I had to take into account a number of constraints to my designs. Despite the limitations, I was able to come up with good design solutions that fulfilled everyone's requirements. 

8. How do you stay fresh? 

Other designers like to stay abreast with the projects of other local designers but I am more inspired by designs done overseas. This is not limited to interior design by all kinds of design because you will never know how your mind can apply knowledge you receive. That’s the power of the subconscious mind. 

9. What would you like to say to homeowners or potential clients, or what do you want them to know about you? 

I would like them to know that when it comes to their homes, it is their personal space where they have the freedom to design with their own rules. So who is to stop them from going to places they have never been to design wise? I believe I have the edge and guts to help them realise their personal uniqueness through their homes.