Rupert Ooi owns MATTENESS INTERIOR DESIGN - a consultancy which focuses mainly on project management in hospitality and high-end residential areas. His role in the company is to translate and conceptualise briefs into sustainable designs which accurately reflect client’s requirements and business plans.
Founded in 2018, Rupert and his team work diligently to ensure MATTENESS INTERIOR DESIGN delivers innovative solutions that work for the present and the future.
“As the name MATTENESS INTERIOR DESIGN goes, I believe that in order to create a great design or something that never existed before, one needs to possesses extreme passion in his work - others often see that as a state of “MADNESS,” but we constantly seek to redefine and rethink interiors way beyond the conventional perception of space, - that drive eventually brought the company to be noticed in the international community.”
Touching a little bit on when he found inspiration to dive in the world of design as well as what matters to him most as a business owner, Rupert mentioned his creative flair was sparked at a tender age of 7 years and has pursued his dream ever since. After graduating with a Bachelor (Hons) of Interior Architecture from Limkokwing University in 2010, Rupert worked in a multi-disciplinary environment and gained unique skills and experience in interior design.
Designing and Delivering Service Excellence
“As a designer and entrepreneur, we often need to self-equip with interpersonal and technical skills to deliver a project that the team and our clients can be proud of. Seeing the smiles on the clients’ faces and how they infuse their personal touches into each space after the completion of each project is truly rewarding, and we certainly love our job for this reason. It is also very encouraging when we gain friendships with our clients, as our businesses and job opportunities are mostly by word of mouth. We are also very glad that most of our existing clients also serve as our “marketing team”, - they are eager to recommend our services to their friends. All of these wouldn’t happen without the trust from the clients.”
Despite challenges brought by the pandemic, especially at the beginning when the company had to put large projects at a halt, MATTENESS INTERIOR DESIGN persevered and looked for ways expedite their plan to diversify the company’s direction by not limiting their criteria/target to depend solely in residential projects but also able to handle project across various scale as interior design consultants. The company was able to produce high quality interior works and technical drawings for a bigger portfolio. “We aim to build up a bigger portfolio where we can express our design ethos to the fullest.”
Giving back to the community
During the pandemic the company gave back to the community via its corporate social responsibility projects - one such project was for the St. Nicholas’ Home (Penang), a non-profit charitable organisation which aims to respond to the evolving needs of the blind and visually impaired (BVI) community in Malaysia.
“St. Nicholas’ Home gave us a good opportunity to convert one of their buildings located at the centre of a six-acre land to a full-fledged cafe and kitchen.”
The space will be utilised as a training ground for the BVIs to empower them with modern living skills so that they can find employment and live independent lives.
“We always love to and think it’s crucial for designers and architects to be involved in community development to bring more aesthetic value and added functionality to public building/space. Ultimately, we hope to bring awareness to the public on the importance involving interior designers. Excellent designs should always be affordable for all to experience.”
Redefining interiors beyond the conventional perception
Having his own brick and mortar interior design studio, despite the pandemic is Rupert’s biggest achievement to date. Since 2020, MATTENESS INTERIOR DESIGN has been working on an exciting project in collaboration with a Singaporean housing developer to design high-end housing development show units at one of the most prestigious addresses in Tanjung Tokong, Penang.
“In the next 3 to 5 years, virtual communication will become more prevalent, people will go out lesser and spend more time at home, meditation and exercise space will be the future trend, hence we will focus more in designing good quality housing environment. This involvement is definitely a new milestone on our company pathway, and more to come for the future development.”
One of Rupert’s favourite projects to date was an award-winning commercial space design for an information and souvenir centre with an alfresco café. It was built at the end of a 1.6km original nature trail built by the British on top of Penang Hill at 700 meters above sea level. The project was operated by The Habitat to promote eco-tourism in Penang.
“My part for the project was to conceptualise the design and to coordinate the interior fit-out work. The standalone building is fully surrounded by 130-million years old rainforest, allowing one to reconnect with nature in its purest form.”
Learning that goes beyond the classroom
Thinking back on the kind of learning experience he got from Limkokwing University - which he acknowledges is beneficial for succeeding in the industry, Rupert said, “Lecturers allowed us to think out of the box for every assignment, so we had the freedom to explore possibilities outside of the classroom. This resulted in our creative thinking later when working in the industry.”
Many of our future graduates look up to alumni who are excelling in industries they choose to pursue their dream careers in.
Giving a word of advice students who are looking to join this industry Rupert said, “Go all out to pursue your dreams in interior design. We in the creative industry always need more young blood to contribute their unique way of thinking. The younger generation also have their strengths in terms of their knowledge on digital platform and on design software skill sets. We are looking forward to meeting energetic younger teammates and together we can make our industry even better.”