As a boutique interior design studio with a love of bespoke luxury and maximalism, not just any office or conventional showroom would do for the firm. Thus, Hafi reimagined the Thexton Smith Interiors’ Singapore outpost as a fabulous “material lab” of sorts.
This material lab is where designers and clients come together, opening up a space for connection, creativity and problem-solving. “The thing that sets us apart from the rest is that we really connect with our clients,” Hafi tells us. “This helps us understand exactly what designs they are after.”
Another element that takes precedence is ensuring the design process is enjoyable for everyone involved. “We want our clients to enjoy the process from start to finish. Our material lab is fun, vibrant and full of colour, and it is an expression of who we are and what we stand for,” Hafi shares.
Walking into the material lab, the design concept is instantly apparent. A space for tactile experimentation, it is decked from top to bottom in vivid colours and lush textures, including botanical wallpaper and dark parquet flooring. Rich details adorn every corner, turning the space into a maximalist dreamscape.
One of Hafi’s favourite aspects of the design is, in fact, the vibrant array of wallpapers, flown into Singapore from the Netherlands, the UK and South Korea. Here, contrasting wallpaper prints grace adjacent walls, going against common advice to only apply bold prints on a single feature wall.
Hafi hopes to dispel this misconception by showcasing the beauty of these unexpected combinations. “One of our walls has a green background with pink galahs [parrots] and grapes, while the adjacent wall has a gold background with different birds and plants,” he explains. “One may think that they wouldn’t work together, but when you see them next to each other, they look stunning.”
For those clients who are “too scared to use wallpaper in their homes”, the showroom serves as an immersive experience centre to soothe those fears by showcasing the breadth of applications and possibilities afforded by wallcoverings. The dark wallpaper on the ceiling is a good example, forming “the perfect backdrop for colours to stand out”.
Known for his sumptuously tactile interiors and rich detailing, Hafi wanted to push the boundaries of design in his own showroom, too. The bespoke furnishings are another element of the material lab he has lovingly curated, including the built-in carpentry in his favourite forest-green hue, which is complemented by a pantry with cabinets adorned with earthy rattan.
The actual statement piece, however, is a custom chair with a distinctive orange bow. This design was inspired by an evening gown Hafi had come across on Pinterest; its back was similarly adorned with a large bow.
He thought to himself: “Why not have this at the back of a chair?” Orange velvet fabric was used to craft the bow, contrasting against the dark brown base. The chair now serves to highlight the team’s creative use of colour and texture, and is the perfect piece to take centre stage in the material lab.
Other furnishings throughout the showroom are similarly eclectic, putting a loud, contemporary twist on flora and fauna with iconic pieces such as a Qeeboo Giraffe chandelier and a Seletti Monkey pendant lamp. Hanging planters add the final touch to the line-up of natural elements, turning the showroom into a visual feast that stirs the senses without overwhelming them.
“Oftentimes, we hear the saying that less is more, and we want to show that this isn’t always the case,” Hafi says. “More can be done in the right way.”
“Our designs are unique, which is one of the things our clients love the most about what we do,” he adds. “We always strive to [introduce] that ‘wow’ factor in every home we design, and our concept was to create that experience for our clients as they enter [the material lab]. We feel that we have achieved this, and we are incredibly proud of our showroom.”