Design Et Al

Design Et Al Interviews Hafi Hakim

Thexton Smith Interiors was recently shortlisted for The International Interior Design and Architecture Awards 2023. Shortlisted for four awards in the Global and Asia Pacific categories, Design Et Al interviewed co-founder Hafi Hakim about his design inspirations, recent projects and future plans for the studio.


Tell us a little about your background in design.

I studied Interior Architecture and Design in Singapore and I have been in the industry for seven years. During my career, I have been privileged to design many luxurious houses and apartments ranging from $4 million up to $30 million, having worked with clients from various backgrounds and nationalities. Working in Singapore and Melbourne has provided me with the knowledge and expertise to help clients from across the globe.

How would you describe your personal design style?

The ability to find ‘joie de verve’ in every project is the exuberant philosophy that I have embraced. My personal design style consists of bold, layered and textured designs that are luxurious and calming. I tend to push the boundaries of design style, and challenge myself to achieve the highest level of creative thinking, making every design as different and as unique as I can.


Where does your design inspiration come from?

I draw my inspirations from my everyday life. I am constantly taking pictures when I am on walks, having my morning coffee in a café, or at my favourite restaurant.

In what direction do you feel that design is moving towards in a general sense?

I think that design is moving towards sustainability and encompassing more technologically advanced finishes. With advancing technology, I think we will see more people having smart homes. We will also see more eco-friendly items being introduced.

Name five key themes to consider when approaching design in 2023 and beyond.

Smart Homes, Green Homes, One-of-a-Kind Designs, Jewel Tones and Romanticism.


Niessan Smart Hotel – Velazquez Architecture and Design

If you could offer one piece of advice when it comes to design schemes, what would it be?

Be bold! The special thing with design is that there is relatively no wrong way to go about it. Be dangerously yourself and make your design an impression of you. I have always believed that when I am meeting my clients for the first time that they are there to not only vet my designs, but to also vet me as a person and to see if they can relate to me personally and professionally.


How important are The International Design & Architecture Awards?

I think the Interior Design & Architecture Awards are important because we need a consistent benchmark to help us grow as designers. The unique methodology used to judge their entries is evident that the awards prioritise design over everything else.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the interiors of an African restaurant in Melbourne, and a number of apartments in Singapore.

What was your favourite project to work on and why?

One of my favourite projects that I have worked on is the African restaurant that I am currently designing. I think it is such a fun project and I have a very close relationship with my clients. Having not grown up with African food I had to do a lot of research on their cuisine and culture. I love when a project lets me look into things I wouldn’t usually do.


What was your most challenging project to work on and why?

The most challenging project I have ever worked on was my Ardmore project in Singapore. This was during the peak of Covid-19 and we had to complete the entire design process remotely. This was my first project where I did not meet my client physically from the beginning to the end. We had to send all materials to Hong Kong (where they were living), and all communications including site meetings were done via video call.

Which products/services could you not live without when designing?

Wallpaper! I love the use of wallpaper and I am always intrigued as to how it has lasted the test of time. It is also so intriguing to see how technology has made current wallpapers more advances with customisation options readily available now more than ever. Wallpaper is such a good way to give the interior a more polished look.


Anything else interesting?


Don’t ask why, ask why not!

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