Melbourne-based designer and IDEA 2022 Emerging Designer of the Year finalist Elvin Tan has been named a judge for IDEA 2023.
Now in its 21st year, IDEA is Australia’s longest-running independent architecture and interior design awards program with winners selected annually by a panel of seven expert industry judges.
Established by Tan in 2018, ElvinTan Design is a small firm with big ideas. From the firm’s inception, Tan has pursued a hands-on approach to all projects. He believes in the power of design and in the inherent value it can create regardless of the size or type of project.
Reflecting on some personal highlights so far, Tan credits working with well-known design practices, and luxury hotel interiors in international projects as giving him “invaluable experiences” while also “building love and passion for interior design”.
“For all our projects, our client’s ideas and needs always initiate meaningful design dialogue. We work collaboratively to develop a solution tailored to suit each project’s objectives,” explains Tan.
His eponymous studio specialises in project-specific solutions including restaurants, bars, and retail spaces. In every endeavour, the studio places “great importance on ensuring that functional necessities are met”, encompassing innovative and “detail-conscious” design solutions.
“My early experience in hotels has trained me to have very high-level attention to the smallest details.”
Tan says the pandemic has been a primary factor in setting design trends, especially in hospitality and retail spaces.
“COVID showed us that things can change quickly – businesses and individuals need to be able to adapt even quicker. This is likely to lead to increased demand for flexible and adaptable design that can meet evolving needs.”
“With this in mind, a bold and exciting retail and hospitality space encourages customers to be physically present. With online shopping taking over more and more retail activity, bricks-and-mortar spaces need to leverage design to build a memorable experience for customers.”
When asked to share his thoughts on current challenges and opportunities in the Australian design industry, Tan says it’s a balancing act between sustainable and serviceable interior design.
“Incorporating sustainability into interior design that meets the project demands, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own. How do we design something that is environmentally conscious yet still looks great and meets the brief?”
As a leader of eight employees, Tan is also an advocate for nurturing young designers.
“There is a huge opportunity for design firms to step up to create mentorship, opportunity, and guidance for young designers to be industry-ready,” adds Tan.
For IDEA, Tan says he is excited to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of the design industry.
“For me, a successful project is one that creatively addresses a unique set of constraints while creating a unique and memorable experience that engages and delights the end user,” he explains.
“I will consider the impact and relevance that the project has for its intended end users, and, most importantly, that the project can evoke emotions.”
Always enthusiastic, Tan can’t wait to get cracking as a jury member and share his insights at the proverbial table.
“I can’t wait to celebrate outstanding works produced by Australian designers! Being invited to be a jury member for IDEA 2023 is the cherry on top of my career.”
Photography by Chris Murray unless otherwise stated.
IDEA 2023 will be judged by a panel of industry experts. We’ll be announcing more judges soon.