Ng Sek San defies neat categorisation, but what defines him most is probably his humanity evident in all his signature works.
CANDID TAKES WITH SEKSAN : Ng Sek San is many things to many people. However, one thing’s for sure:- the manlives,breathesanddreamsdesign with a passion – designing avant-garde dwelling places and spaces for people to exist. In the words of the design landscape maestro himself,“it is more about the people building it and the people who are going to stay in them... and not (just) about an architectural or landscape object.”
What is the concept and mission behind your “Sekeping” projects?
I think the underlying philosophy of the “Sekeping” projects is really about the idea of doing things simply and without fuss. It is to imagine new possibilities of building on difficult terrains or sites with lengthy histories or designing ordinary houses in conventional neighbourhoods. It is also about Sekeping Victoria impresses with it‘s dated interiors given a new breath of life via Ng‘s creative touches. extending the influence of our projects beyond its physical boundaries and to contribute to a wider neighbourhood.
Tell us about your first “Sekeping” project. What is the concept surrounding it and the challenges you faced in designing this?
The first “Sekeping” is Sekeping Serendah that started as my own week- end retreat in the forest of Serendah. It was primarily to demonstrate that we can build and live harmoniously with the land. It was (also) to demonstrate that we can build on very steep forested land without the need to destroy much land. Sekeping Serendah was built on the philosophy that if we treat the land gently, the land will in turn, take care of us. It is just a modern take and extension of our Orang Asli neighbour’s house.
What is the concept behind your next- to-be-designed “Sekeping” project?
I am planning one more “Sekeping” project in the village of Penestanan in Restoring nostalgia to refurbished buildings dating a century back takes precedence as seen in this slice of Ipoh‘s Sekeping Kong Heng. Ubud, Bali. The concept behind it is a nonbuilding whereby the rooms and other functions of a typical house happen on a colonnaded corridor.
We’ve noticed that you have started “growing”the“Sekeping”projectson a regional basis. Would you be taking this to a global level?
I don’t think this will be growing on any basis...! We designed some of these “Sekeping” projects to test ideas and to push design boundaries.
Which of the “Sekeping” projects is your favourite and why?
I do not have any favourites. They are all my babies and I love them all equally.
If there were no constraints in budget, geographical location, timing, manpower or materials, what would your dream “Sekeping” project be and why?
(The) “Sekeping” projects will exactly be the same. I have tried not to let Warehouse magic beckons on the empty ground floor of Sekeping Kong Heng. those things mentioned limit our imagination.
Describe yourself. What would you like to be known or remembered for?
I don’t like to be remembered for anything.I am just a transient body in the world who is trying to do his little part in this short period of his existence.
About your view of nature and the role or influence it exerts on your design. How does nature figure in the final equation of your designs?
I think nature is more than just green forests, rocks, mountains, wild animals and clear waters. Nature has extended itself into our cities in the form of our built environment, streetscapes, stray dogs and longkang (drains). All these and more have influenced me in a way or another. I just let that happen and see where they will take me next. I really have no preconceived ideas at this moment.
What type of materials do you prefer to work with?
I don’t have any favourite materials as commonly perceived by others. I just use whatever is appropriate at the time of construction. I prefer to use local materials and handmade household accessories for the sinks, taps, show- ers, clothes hangers and so on to help enhance our craft tradition.
Whose works do you admire? Any architectural/interior/landscape design role models whom you look up to?
I used to have a lot of heroes and architectural role models but more and more, I am finding inspiration in ordinary people’s lives and the environ- ment that they live in. So the roles of my heroes are diminishing as I am being re-educated on the aesthetics of the third world that I operate in. It is almost no longer relevant for me to talk about role models now.
Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I honestly do not know. Sometimes they come from a dream. Other times, it is just through my interaction with the sea of humanity through my wanderings in this world. Occasionally, it comes via Facebook or Twitter.