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Interview with Ebenezer Yoon: Concept first, style later



Minimalist. Industrial. Modern. Scandinavian. With all those styles, and more, how does one choose how to design their home? Or maybe, just maybe, that’s the wrong question to ask. It should all begin with concept first, according to Ebenezer Yoon.


Founder and Creative Director of MynMyn Studio (pronounced “mine-mine”), Ebenezer has had eight years of being an interior designer, three of which under his own design firm. A graduate of Temasek Polytechnic, he has since been helping folks, both homeowners and business owners, find concepts unique to themselves instead of just picking styles off the shelf.


We pounced on Ebenezer while he wasn’t looking and dragged an interview out of him.


Photo Credit : MynMyn (Sophia Residence)


What got you into interior design?

Interior Design has been my passion since my youth. It started with Habbo* where I crafted spaces and hung out with friends. That led on to me giving Interior Design a try. I found that I really liked it. The more I explored, the more I fell in love with it – the whole idea of something coming out of seemingly nothing.


The most fruitful thing about it is seeing homeowners or businessowners use my creations and giving good feedback. Gives me a sense that I’ve done a good job. 


*Note: If you’re a little older and don’t know what Habbo is, think of The Sims.


Photo Credit : MynMyn (Sophia Residence)


So this was kind of a childhood dream then? No struggle to pick a subject after school?

I got pretty good grades back then and could’ve gone to the JC or uni route. However, I decided to try something hands-on and went into the design field. Because of my background, things like liking Habbo and all that, I decided to try Interior Design. From there I got to learn a lot about the concepts, materials and all that, which really made me fall in love with what we can do with spaces.


My true inspiration came from my poly lecturer, Derek, who was very patient in guiding us. Really good at teaching concepts. For example, when dealing with design concepts, people think of styles: Scandinavian, modern, and contemporary. However, concepts go beyond that. You need to have a big idea. Only then you decide on the style, taking into consideration of space, planning, materials, and user experience.


Photo Credit : MynMyn (Dakota Crescent)


What would you say was your first dip into interior design? 

During my poly days, I used to tag along with my friend’s father who’s a contractor. I was merely helping with simple AutoCAD and 3D drawings. As a poly kid, everything was textbook. No real life experience. But tagging along allowed me to see the real world of interior design, from site visits to client meetings.


Photo Credit : MynMyn (EA Tampines)


What would you say your proudest work is?

I’d say an EA (Executive Apartment) HDBs at Tampines, where I had to manage my differing clients’ expectations. One wanted dark, while one wanted light. And I came up with a proposal which they both loved. 


What was the proposal? How did you mesh the two seemingly opposing ideas together?

I gave them something that had a mix of black tones and white ones throughout the house. When they first came to me they showed me photos of rooms that were either VERY black or VERY white. However, after some discussion, I realised that what they 


ACTUALLY wanted weren’t rooms that were exclusively black or white. The one who wanted dark tones didn’t mind lighter highlights and the other wanted the reverse of that. When I showed them the concepts, they were quite happy about the results.


Were you nervous about presenting the ideas?

Not really. I really love to solve problems especially for clients with strong ideas of what they want. It helps to guide the design. It’s a lot harder with clients who have no idea what they want – there’s no direction there. Having problems is actually helpful.


Photo Credit : MynMyn (Bidadari Park Drive)


What’s your design philosophy? 

Always sticking to my principals and offering my true perspective to my clients. If what my client originally wants doesn’t make sense, or doesn’t suit the style, I’ll advise them otherwise and do my part to educate and guide them.


Have there ever been a “horrifying” faux pas styles proposed by clients?

Quite a few. One I remember was with a close friend. It involved a loose shoe cabinet near the entrance. I told them to get an IKEA one. However, they felt that it was cheap and fragile and proceeded to shop all over the place for an alternative. But, in the end, they still went with my suggestion. 


Photo Credit : MynMyn (Bidadari Park Drive)


Do you have any style that you love working with?

I don’t have a particular style that I work with, but I believe a good interior reflects the personality of the homeowner or the brand of a business. That’s where concepts come in. 


How about yourself? What would you go for in your own home?

I don’t have a specific style. Like what I’ve said before, I’m more of a concept person. Generally, I like to design things that are clean, clutter-free, and easy-to-maintain. Those are more functional. 


So no specific design style like Scandinavian, minimalist, or modern?

Yeah, that’s correct. It’s like how a slab of marble as a feature wall in a space is considered luxurious but others might say it’s contemporary. However, it really depends on everything else around the space.


For us, in some modern settings, we did away with false ceilings and installed track lights instead. Most consider them quite industrial but we managed to make it work in a modern setting.


Photo Credit : MynMyn (Bidadari Park Drive)


What inspires your work? Where do your ideas come from?

I draw inspiration from everywhere, from my surroundings and from online, such as Pinterest, Behance, and other design-related editorials. Sometimes, I’m working on a project and it so happens that I see something relatable when I’m travelling or having a stay cay. In those times, I’ll take photos or videos so that I can show my team or client.


Do you have a book and collection folder for these ideas?

I do. There are online editorials that I follow, some Behance pages, and things on Pinterest that I’ve saved. I’ve also got an album with snapshot of things I’ve seen or jobs I’ve done – makes it easy to refer back to those things and show them off. 


Have you ever had a memorable inspiration, a spark of genius, in the course of your work?

Not really because it’s really organic. To paint a scenario, one client wanted to do up the whole bathroom. Wanted to resell it. Concealed shower set, sit down structure in the shower, and all that. I couldn’t find a photo to demonstrate that idea. However, it just so happened that during a staycation, the hotel I was at had that exact thing. I videoed the whole thing and sent it to the client. There are so many like these that no moment stands out over the rest.


What is one advice you’d like to give new interior designers?

It’s a stressful job. You’ve got to find the joy in the work you do so that you won’t feel like it’s work every day. 

 

 

Posted on 24th June 2022

 

Kenny Tan, 

SIXiDES Editorial Team

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