Stephanie Ng Design is a multi-award winning industrial design studio from Melbourne, headquartered in Kuala Lumpur. They offer lighting solutions for both residences and commercial applications, as well as custom designs for home decoration and design, lighting and furniture. We talked to Stephanie Ng on her design philosophies, learning more about her design studio and creating products that make an emotional connection with people.
We’d like to know more about your studio. How many people are currently working there, and how is the design team like?
We have a small team of 3. We are all extremely passionate about our projects and clients and although we have set responsibilities, the team helps get projects through the door and does whatever it takes to make the clients happy.
What motivates you to continually produce great work?
Personally, I challenge myself day to day, product to product. That is why we are always involved in initiatives to participate in design competitions, international exhibitions, workshops and so forth. We don’t stop learning about new materials and meeting new suppliers so we can experiment with applications outside our comfort zone.
Scoop Chandelier. Photo: Stephanie Ng Design
I read from your website that you ‘believe in design for emotion, in creating products that move people’. How important is emotion in design and how can products create that emotional connection?
We want our products to be fun with the versatility for a client to ‘make it their own’. Personalisation is key in today’s world and we see the direct relationship of user to product when they have used the product in a way that allows them to reflect their personality – be it through colour choice, arrangement or just how it’s presented.
How has your design process changed (if at all) with the advancements of technology, particularly with 3D printing and rapid prototyping?
We have tried that a little bit and really love how we can use it to make otherwise complicated designs come to reality in an instant. I think the idea to achieving a good design is to push the boundaries of the application and in this case, we designed a table lamp for the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) as a souvenir for VIP delegates for Expo Milano 2015. The shape and pattern mimicked the incredible design of the architecture of the Malaysia Pavilion (designed by Hijjas Kasturi Associates) and would’ve been difficult to manufacture because of the undercuts.
Scoop Console. Photo: Stephanie Ng Design
The reason I asked that question is because 3D printers are becoming more affordable and accessible to consumers. Would that push designers to create products that can be easily customised to suit their needs – and ultimately allowing users to create that emotional connection with their products?
Definitely. I do see designers, if not everyone having a 3D printer, laser cutter as a desktop printer in the future. And to be honest, I cannot wait for the day that this becomes easy to use, maintain and readily available around the world. It will create a new found way we see products and open up new ways people will offer products.
What are your thoughts of the design industry in Malaysia?
There are a lot of initiatives out there, but I think it’s somehow not getting out there to the masses because it isn’t a sector where much attention is given. However, if you look hard enough, there are many design competitions and initiatives that emerging designers can partake in that will allow them to meet the right people and to experience the design process which would help them along in building their confidence and understanding what ‘judges’ want to see in product designs.
Scoop Pendants. Photo: Stephanie Ng Design
What can local designers do to elevate the standards of design in Malaysia?
Travel. See what design is like in other countries and study consumer’s purchasing behaviours. I think if we set the bar higher for ourselves, we will always rise to that level and if we can out our products next to products sold on an international standard, then that will be a testament in itself.
Luna Lana. Photo: Stephanie Ng Design
Finally, do you have any advice for designers who aspire to establish their own design studio in the future?
Work first. Study how an office is run, how your boss manages his team, the culture in the workplace and when you set up your own studio, it will all come naturally.
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