Q&A with Victor Ting, The Carpenter’s Workshop: The design of a home should not be restricted by its walls

Q&A with Victor Ting, The Carpenter’s Workshop: The design of a home should not be restricted by its walls

Q&A with Victor Ting, The Carpenter’s Workshop: The design of a home should not be restricted by its walls

Since starting The Carpenter’s Workshop, you must have encountered some unconventional requests from homeowners. Please share a few and how you addressed them.  

The first example that comes to mind is from Inter-Terrace House. The owner wanted a double-volume ceiling in the two-storey house, while still retaining three rooms on the second floor. We removed the floor slabs of two of the rooms above the living area and relocated the staircase. At the same time, a reconfiguration was done to create a room where the original staircase was and a second one by enclosing the original balcony. As a result, the double-volume ceiling was created, without compromising the number of rooms on the upper level. 

Inter-terrace House by The Carpenter's Workshop

Another project is Bungalow in the East. Because of geomancy requirements, the owner wanted a divider in the living room between the front and back doors, which faced each other directly. Instead of a conventional design, I proposed one made up of a cluster of lights in different sizes and textures, hanging down from the roof, through the second storey, to the ground floor. Measuring more than 8m in height, it pulled double duty to become a statement piece as well.

Bungalow in the East by The Carpenter's Workshop

You believe that the design of a home should not be restricted by the walls. What exactly do you mean by this?

I believe that the design of a space should be based on the needs and requirements of the occupants, instead of being limited by the existing walls. Space planning considers the whole project as an integral whole and reimagines it based on the parameters provided by the occupants.  

An example is A Condo in the East. The apartment is of an irregular shape, including a small kitchen tucked in a corner. Instead of being limited by the walls and original layout, we rethought the whole space and reconfigured the layout. The owners are hospitable hosts who like to entertain at home and the brief was to have a good-sized kitchen and entertainment area where they can cook, mingle and eat. Our proposed design saw the kitchen relocated to where the original living hall was allowing it to become enlarged. With a terrace adjacent to it, the owners now host guests who can mingle both indoors and out.

A Condo in the East by The Carpenter's Workshop

What has been a favourite project of yours to date in the space of home renovation?

The Barrack House is a 1930s abode that we gave a new lease of life to. Effort was put in to retain the original facade, while modernity was infused to the rear portion, which saw the addition of an attic. 

The house adopts a split level approach where the airwell and floating staircase is seemingly suspended by ribbons cascading from the roof. This also demarcates the house’s front and back portion, adding a visual depth to it. Alongside the use of glass doors and windows, a few sets of the original double leaf doors were retained and reconditioned to add touches of the old to the new. Some of the wood from the original house was salvaged and repurposed to be used for the ceiling. 

Despite being a terrace house, this project is infused with natural light and ventilation through an airwell and vertical garden in the middle. The sense of spaciousness that belies its quaint facade and relatively conservative land size of less than 1,500sqft. It also pleasantly surprises many visitors when they enter the house.

Which three designers, from the past or present, do you most admire? Why?

  1. Carlos Scarpa, for his intuitive and skillful approach to materials as well as his sensitivity to the surroundings and natural elements in his design to create sculptured interiors. 
  2. Takashi Sugimoto of Super Potato, for his use of materials and light in the spaces he creates, resulting in a textured ambience that gives a rich and sensorial experience. 
  3. Rene Tan of RT+Q Architects, for his exploratory and counter-intuitive approach, resulting in unconventional design.

What are your three favourite buildings in SE Asia? 

  1. Hachi Serviced Apartment in Bangkok, Thailand by Octane Architect & Design 
  2. The Capers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, by RT+Q Architects
  3. The Colonnade in Singapore, by Paul Rudolf

Victor Ting is the Founder of The Carpenter’s Workshop