"Good morning, Nazrin. Please introduce yourself particularly on your journey establishing two amazing interior designing firms. Kindly tell us more about your educational background prior setting up your own ID firms."
/I grew up in a family business dealing with graphic and printing businesses. I learned the value of doing business, methodology taking care of clients and skills in giving long lasting impression to the clients through our works. In a small city like Kedah which we had the opportunity to expand our business horizontally by venturing into the art of marriage between branding and interiors. Throughout the years, I gained experiences in Offices (Government & Private), Hospitality (Restaurants, Hotels & Resorts); then I had an opportunity to be in Healthcare category. I am currently pursuing my master degree in University of Kent focusing on subject of Healthcare System and Interior Facility. My interest grew from there; eventually I realized my passion in business especially Healthcare interior design business.
"More than 10 years in the industry~ You have built good reputation to date managing sophisticated projects.Majority designing firms chose to focus on residential, retail and commercial projects. What makes you go into niche segment focusing on hospital related projects?"
/My experience with Healthcare interiors was brief, when I was involving in KPJ Hospital Interior for Manjung. When I was handling this project, my interest grew as I began to feel utmost satisfacation in every aspect of the works delivery. I don’t mean to sound technical, but healthcare interiors is actually evidence-based which need to be functional and fulfilling the aspect of aesthetic. In that sense, I have to understand the sentiments of the patients and hospital staffs to justify how exactly our design can ease and heal them. Every aspect such as colors, lighting, shapes and patterns are very much related with their impact to their psychology, emotionally and physical impact to its users. Not only that, our design can actually shape their behavior. Isn’t it interesting?
"Throughout the years managing various prominent projects, any particular project/s deemed the most memorable ones? Please share with us the Top Three projects."
/Every hospital projects are very interesting as it has its own tempo. Upbeat songs for idea progression, suspense songs for client’s alignment as well as ballad songs for surprise moments. Well, my most memorable project will be my first project namely KPJ Manjung. I learnt so much from this project. It was my first entry into healthcare interiors; I will forever cherish the 6 months period. After the experiences, we secured few more hospital projects in my hometown city namely Hospital Pendang and Hospital Baling. These two projects was indeed my pride projects as I am able to contribute back to my society. I had to deal with top state government officers and royal family as well as country’s best contractors including the top architects in Malaysia. It was such a valuable experience and definitely fasten my learning curve in this healthcare industry.
"Hospital projects could be more challenging than any other segments; what are the main elements for designing good hospital interiors and settings? Is it more into architectural or structural components?"
/It is aligning architectural with structural components; as good hospital design integrates functional requirements within human needs. In addition to that, it is also about creating the sense of coherence with the environmental influences hence transforming healthcare settings into healing environments. There’s many elements that need to be incorporated with other elements such as biophilic environment where we incorporate natural lighting into the facility, uses natural texture closer to patients and integrating technology so that it will be a patient-centric facility. Generally, healthcare industry in Malaysia is very well safeguarded in terms of quality by Ministry of Health and JKR. Hence every areas in hospitals are scrutinised in terms of its quality, material and execution. Hence, our 3D concepts & designs must incorporate both functional and aesthetic elements with proven method of execution. Then, there are collaboration between multi-displinary stakeholders such as architects, main contractors, engineers, M&E consultants, fabricator and clients. It is very important to communicate effectively and efficiently because our work at site are very much related with each other. For example, when there’s amendment on 3D concept, we have to communicate to client at first to explain why there are changes, then the same files need to shared across the board. If there’s a delay in communication, it will results in re-work on site, worst still, there will be a costly damage.
"Entrepreneurship journey isn't an easy route. How did you overcome various challenges? Did you face any issues among the internal / external stakeholders?"
/It is a difficult route because there’s actually no resting point for entrepreneurs. The higher you climb, the harder the challenges. But, it will then depends on the individuals whether they want to give up or move on. I began drafting dreams beyond myself, that means, my dreams is to provide maximum comfort to my parents, help my family to build a better life, able to give all my team promising income with good lifestyle, and may the business becomes a legacy to be passed on to the next generation. I began charity work on my own where I helped those in need within my state. It was carried out by few of my friends. This exercise when upon completion weekly eventually give me the strength to continue, because it definitely makes me feel satisfied that I have helped many more people beyond my circle.
As for me, the hardest challenges are the external stakeholders. Every projects need my focus. Total length of a project could be 6 months to 2 years, hence, during this period of time, I cannot simply accept too many projects at one time. Internally we draft schedule, and follow the schedule rigidly so that the time frame doesn’t differ too much from original plan. In this creative line, ideas are vast, and it’s very subjective. Sometimes client impressed with our design, but they don’t have the means to execute, or sometimes, they want an impressive design, but they are conservative on the spending at large scale in the beginning. Hence, I took the role to understand, educate client on the ROI (Return on Investment) that they will get when they capture the right customer.
"Year 2020 is no doubt challenging year for everyone. What is your vision and upcoming plans moving forward in year 2021?"
/At the mid of 2020, we were shocked with the news of total lock down, we were tested with political turmoil, and uptrend of unemployment. As a business owner, I wasn’t ready to face it. But I was lucky that I have a mentor to turn to, and circle of other business owners that was suppotive in sharing their experiences how they encounter their problems.
For me, 2020 was a learning year, as I began to see clearer what are company’s strength and our weakness. Previously, we focus on being in the business, doing all the process like the rest, but what we actually need to do was to be on top of the business. As business owner, I must be able to look at the business from bird eye view and began duplicating many more team so that we can achieve more. To be honest, 2020 was a stress year for us, and 2021 is the year to improve, it’s about leading, and striving. When we focus on challenges more challenges will come to us, but if we focus on winning, then we will attract them. *Law of Universe*.
My main focus for 2021 is marketing, sales, and strong cash flow. We envisioned to penetrate another 3 more hospitals in Malaysia as design consultants.