Young award-winning interior designer on the go
By Selena Oh
Singapore Young Designer Award 2018/19 (interior design category)
13th Cosentino Design Challenge 2019 (architectural category)
Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Interior Design from Lasalle College of the Arts 2020
Diploma in Architecture from the Singapore Polytechnic 2014
Jason Ong joined the new Kuhlmann International office in Singapore in May 2021 as Design Associate. In his capacity, Jason works closely with homeowners in formulating layouts and designs to their home needs creatively with the trove of Kuhlmann products.
Jason received a Diploma in Architecture from the Singapore Polytechnic in 2014 and a Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours in Interior Design from Lasalle College of the Arts in 2020.
During his academic journey, he was crowned the winner of the Singapore Young Designer Award 2018/19 (interior design category) organised by Nippon Paint. He was the SE Asian diploma winner for the architectural category in the 13th Cosentino Design Challenge 2019 held in Spain. He was also a member of the winning team from Lasalle College of the Arts that designed the L’occitane’s first-ever locally inspired flagship store at Ion Orchard, Singapore in 2019.
Jason Ong’s internship experience began with SCDA in 2013 where he was part of the team that worked on the 515 Highline in New York City. In 2014, he interned at Formwerkz Architects where he assisted with local and regional projects. He joined Studio iF Formwerkz as a full time Interior Designer where he worked on global accounts including sales galleries and unmanned convenience stores in China. During his Lasalle term in 2018, he interned at OCD Pte Ltd in and Archetype Studio which led him to further develop his interest in residential works and subsequently, a full time position with the latter till May 2021.
Jason commented, “Architecture laid the foundation for my interest in design. Architecture taught be how to see the big picture, gain a broader perspective and how design fits in a greater scheme of things. I wanted to do ‘design’ – without boundaries, integration, communication and experimentation across different typologies.”
“My projects allow me to challenge the norms associated with unconventional design issues, as well as integrate and understand human behaviours, science and psychology.”
As Design Associate, Jason Ong works with Creative Director Simon Chiang in planning and designing home interiors by offering solutions based on an extensive Kuhlmann portfolio of designs to suit individual lifestyle needs.
He added, “The Kuhlmann and TMB business model is forward-looking, especially so in a more traditional and conventional industry. I am proud to be part of a team that is modern and progressive in solving customers’ needs.”
Up Close with Jason Ong
What are the first things you look out for when planning a design for a residence?
Character – the character of the space and the personality of the owners. I believe that this aspect is far more important than the style or other embellishments the owner wants. Having a deeper understanding of the character of the space and the personality of the owners, one would listen to what they need even before the words are spoken. I believe ‘Need’ always trumps ‘Wants’ in residential design.
Describe your creative style and design process.
I love wearing different hats, ranging from classical to contemporary, and on some special occasions, I will have a go with my own take on Scandinavian design. However, the core will remain the same, and that is being timeless…I will always start off my design process by sketching perspectives. Sometimes, I will sketch even before looking at inspirations if I’m feeling a little adventurous.
What was your most memorable design project and why?
The scale of my most memorable design project is considered small as compared to other contributions or involvements I have had with projects in big cities like New York or a large country like China. It is actually a humble coffee table.
The owner was devastated to see the family home’s window grills demolished and tossed aside for haulage. The same grills which her siblings and herself climbed on when they were young. Thus I was tasked to come up with a creative solution to give the window grill a new life.
The window grill has a beautiful and oriental pattern which I want to show it off. By placing a clear glass and a support frame to allow it to sit on a drawer pedestal, the relic of a childhood home was transformed it into a coffee table. The coffee table now sits alongside their 60-year-old furniture counterparts, acting as an anchor to the entire living room and a perfect conversation starter. I gave it a new life and a new purpose. Most importantly, the owner loved it.
What are the challenges that you have faced when dealing with client requests and how did you overcome them?
The most challenging part when working with the clients is their expectations and anxieties when the renovation/construction is at its last lap – the pent-up anticipation for their new home and the process of moving out of their old make a bad concoction of emotions. In order to put their mind at ease, designers need patience and empathy. These two aspects work in tandem. Without patience, you will not have the time needed to put yourself in the shoes of your clients, and this can result in empathy lacking. Designers work with ‘perspectives’, yet sometimes we fail to see things in their perspectives. However, by doing so, you see the project beyond the drawings and numbers, you will see and treat them as humans.
5. When you are on the drawing board, how do you get inspired to start designing?
I would prefer to design whilst in my comfortable space – a desk by the window where I’ll ready the creative sustenance needed for the next few hours. These include – Natural light, sitting close to sources of inspiration like books, and of course, coffee! (Tea if I’m writing instead)
6. Tell us about your latest project.
I am currently working on the interior design of a penthouse at The Wharf Residences. It is an interesting one as both husband and wife are art lovers and the brief is to showcase their art collection without making the home looking like an art gallery.
More details to follow under separate section of Articles.