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Purposeful Design: Cosentino and Ambient Living Partner for their First-Ever Design Talk in East Malaysia
Published on: Friday, May 24, 2024
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Purposeful Design: Cosentino and Ambient Living Partner for their First-Ever Design Talk in East Malaysia
(L-R) Jason Poi of 3Axis Design Associates, Ashley Yeoh of MOM Designer House, Matthew Lim of Matthew Lim Associates (MLA)
Kota Kinabalu: Cosentino, a family-owned Spanish company known for producing and distributing high-value innovative surfaces for architecture and design, hosted a community-building design talk to discuss the benefits of purposeful design and how it inspires creativity. 

Aligned with the company’s vision to support the interior and architectural community, the talk was held at the Hyatt Centric in Kota Kinabalu, marking Cosentino's inaugural talk in East Malaysia. 

The talk was conducted in partnership with Ambient Living, a premium retailer of luxury designer furniture in Malaysia, and Sabah Interior Designers Society (SAIDS).

Ashley Yeoh of MOM Design House presenting

To set the context for purposeful design, Ashley explained, “Purposeful design is about creating spaces or products that not only look good but also serve a specific functional benefit.

It's important to solve a problem by understanding the user’s needs and goals and designing with those in mind to enhance their experience.”

The environment also plays a significant role in purposeful design.

According to Jason, “Purposeful design should be imbued with meaning, intention, and narrative, and it needs to consider the deeper aspects of how spaces influence and shape the lives of the users.” Matthew further emphasises that purposeful design should focus on "problem-solving" and can also be connected to the "local culture or heritage of the design's intention."

To be inspired to create purposeful design, it is important to "align interior design projects with the needs and goals of the users," according to Matthew.

His sentiments were reinforced by Jason, who stated that "aligning interior design with the needs and goals of users requires a combination of thorough client engagement, thoughtful planning, and adaptability.

It is important to listen attentively and thoroughly understand the client’s thoughts." Ashley also emphasised that thinking from the users' perspective is integral to purposeful design.

"Conducting thorough research, gathering feedback, and involving the clients in the design process," she said, helps her team align their designs with the users' needs and goals.

Matthew Lim of Matthew Lim Associates (MLA) presenting

When it comes to incorporating purposeful design into their interior design work, Matthew shared details about a project named “Samba Elite” that they carried out in Cambodia.

"The 25,000 sq ft restaurant bar was purposefully designed, inspired by the culture and heritage of Cambodia.

The team decided to outfit the interior with local materials and repurposed abandoned construction waste. 

They conducted thorough research to understand the culture and heritage of the community, ensuring the design of the restaurant aligned with the cultural and historical context of the country."

Samba Elite by Matthew Lim Associates (MLA)

As for Jason, one of his most memorable projects is UTAN Restoran Dan Kafe, a recently completed garden oasis-themed restaurant that illustrates how purposeful design can inspire and empower change

The core pillar of the restaurant was based on the design narrative of building a community.

Inspired by this design, the restaurant operator adopted a philosophy of forging meaningful partnerships with local farmers and artisans.

This approach not only showcases the incredible bounty of the region but also contributes to the economic empowerment of the communities.

UTAN Restoran Dan Kafe by 3Axis Design Associates

Ashley shared an example of purposeful design in the project they completed for Aton Group HQ.

Although the project was ultimately successful, it initially faced several challenges that the team had to creatively overcome.

The team was first confronted with a limited space of around 2,560 sq ft.

They needed to accommodate six rooms and 11 general staff desks, including a pantry, a server room, a filing room, and a meeting room for at least 12 people.

The developer's office hosts many meetings, including client meetings, project development meetings, and collaboration partner meetings.

The office not only serves as a workspace but also conveys a brand of trust to the market. 

As a result, the team had to balance aesthetic appeal and practical needs, creating a space that meets both functional requirements and design expectations by spending significant time with end-users during the space planning process.

(L-R) Jason Poi of 3Axis Design Associates, Ashley Yeoh of MOM Designer House, Matthew Lim of Matthew Lim Associates (MLA)

All three speakers agreed that purposeful design is the future. 

Matthew emphasises that designers will need to embrace purposeful design, especially in an AI-generated world.

He noted that while AI can assist with aesthetic aspects, designers are essential for understanding the depth and journey of the users, setting them apart from AI. 

Both Jason and Ashley believe that the use of sustainability and eco-friendly materials is the future of purposeful design. 

Ashley shares that the “advancement of sustainable materials and technologies allows for more eco-friendly and energy-efficient designs.

For instance, surface materials such as Dekton and Silestone by Cosentino, with their advanced technology and commitment to sustainability, mirror this belief.”

Jason adds that some of the most sustainable materials gaining traction include bamboo, a fast-growing renewable resource that is abundant locally.

Bamboo is versatile, used for flooring, furniture, and decorative elements, supports local agriculture and provides economic opportunities for rural communities.

He also highlights the importance of biophilic design, which emphasises the connection between nature and the built environment. 

“In Sabah, this can be achieved through the incorporation of natural light, indoor plants, green walls, and natural materials, promoting well-being and significantly improving indoor air quality and mental health,” he adds.

Furthermore, Jason stresses the importance of localisation in purposeful design. 

He suggests incorporating local art and handcrafted items into interior designs, as this not only enhances aesthetic appeal but also supports local artists and craftsmen such as traditional textiles, pottery, and other handcrafted décor items that celebrate local cultural heritage.

To start your design and discovery journey and explore inspirational design ideas from Cosentino, you can visit https://www.cosentino.com/en-my/

You can also visit their partners in East Malaysia or follow Cosentino’s official Instagram account at www.instagram.com/cosentino.asia.

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