Designing for people

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Successful interior design begins with understanding the client, local designer says
Getting to know the client is the all-important first step in designing an interior for a home, up-and-coming designer Lianne Lim said.

“We create spaces for people to create life stories,” Lim said, explaining that people should be the focus of any design effort.

A 2010 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Santo Tomas interior design program, Lim was sixth in the Interior Design Licensure Exam that year, and almost immediately launched her own firm, LLIM Interior + Design.

In describing the steps in the design process for prospective clients, Lim stressed, “We want to know more about you! Tell us what you like, need, and want.”


Getting to know how the client lives helps focus the design options, as well as answering some practical questions. “Any specific habits? What is your (daily) schedule?” Lim said. “What’s your budget, and how willing are you in spending?”

Lim’s somewhat unique approach is to base her proposal largely on what she learns about the client, who only provides a briefing of the space being considered at this point. Only if the client likes the proposal and decides to proceed does Lim move on to a detailed inspection and technical assessment of the client’s new home or office.

“We measure and document the place as accurately as possible, to abide by building codes and construction requirements, and then give the client a compatibility analysis of our findings,” to see how well the original design concept will work in the actual space, Lim explained.

Constant engagement
In describing the design process, Lim made it clear that the client is closely involved at every step. After the detailed space assessment the actual design is developed. During this part of the process, “We might constantly bother you and ask you lots of questions,” Lim said.

“We have our ‘light bulb’ moment during this stage,” she explained. “Designs materialize as we come up with new concepts, layout options, color scheme and other proposals based on your preferences.”

The next step, which Lim called the “stress stage,” is when the design is formally developed and committed to paper after any last-minute changes are made and the client approves the final design. This can then be submitted to obtain any necessary permits, is submitted to the contractor, and is submitted for production.

After this everything must be coordinated with suppliers, the contractor, and the people doing the actual work, which means, “Busy days ahead,” said Lim, “Full of scheduling, decision-making, use of social media, and phone calls.”

Finally, construction and fabrication can get underway, and both designer and client can enjoy watching the concept take shape.

“It’s also the perfect time for shopping sprees on furniture, and decorative items. We can’t wait to go out shopping with you, or shop for you,” she said.

At last comes the turnover of the completed design. “It’s not yet goodbye, more like hello newly designed place! Let’s create happy memories here!” Lim said.

Lim’s people-centric approach to design is evidently paying off, as clients in some of the city’s signature developments have already tapped her firm to create their living spaces. Examples of LLIM Interior + Design work can be found in The Fort Residences, Serendra, and 5th Avenue Residences in Bonifacio Global City; Robinsons Adriatico in Manila; and the St. Francis Tower in Ortigas, among others.

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