The role that sunlight - or particularly, vitamin D - plays in our lives is almost as important as the oxygen in our air. It can regulate our mood, boost our serotonin levels, and keep our sleep cycle in check. But for those of us who find ourselves indoors more often than not, the lack of natural light can feel stifling. This is where good lighting design comes into play.
Whether it’s to foster an inviting atmosphere within a space or to illuminate a coveted object of desire, Xin Hui of the award-winning multi-disciplinary design consultancy Sohen Studio understands the impact that light has and how it can be used to evoke certain moods and shape the ambience in a home.
Here, she sheds more light on the founding of her studio, why wood is often featured in her projects, and her favourite luminaires.
What’s the history behind Sohen?
I co-founded the company with my partners, Ci En and Min Sheng. We wanted a name that truly reflects who we are: individuals with unique perspectives but united by shared values. After much thought, we realised that our name should be our identity - simple and authentic. Combining elements of our names with a slash, we arrived at So/hen. In English, a slash serves as a connecting alternative, symbolising Min Sheng’s role as a harmonious balance between us.
We set up So/hen as we want to be the ones that set the rules and have a team with common aspirations.
How would your clients describe Sohen in 3 words?
Meticulous, passionate, bespoke.
How does a meaningful spatial experience feel and look?
We view the canvas as the user’s starting point. Within this space, their brand finds its expression, and in the context of a home, their habit and lifestyle take shape. By embracing this concept, we create opportunities for meaningful interactions and experiences to unfold, allowing the space to be infused with memories and values.
Which were your favourite residential and commercial projects?
Residential: Mindful Living
Commercial: A Walk-Up Sanctuary
How have the space constraints in Singapore’s newer estates affected your work process?
When dealing with space constraints, we take a multi-faceted approach, utilising techniques that allow flexibility and multi-use. It is important to be mindful of how scale, colours and proportions interact when designing.
I view wood as a neutral medium, capable of expressing various characters through its textures and colour tones. When thoughtfully integrated with other materials, it can influence our senses and impact our sensory experience of space. Having control of the material combinations allows us to fine-tune the contrast and mood within the environment.
How have Sol Luminaire lights impacted your interior design?
The selection of downlights offers a diverse range of designs to complement various intentions of the space. The soft and warm lighting further fosters an inviting atmosphere.
Which are your favourite lighting products?
What are some common lighting trends that homeowners have requested?
How have you utilised the Gypsum, and why did you choose it for your projects?
I particularly like Gypsum for the softness it creates as it concaves into the ceiling. The seamless finish makes it look like an extension of the ceiling, adding a unique touch to the overall ambience.
Do you create or chase trends?
Instead of following trendy styles or popular elements, I constantly explore new materials in the market to push the boundaries of what we can achieve in creating a tactile space that appeals to the senses.
How have the preferences of homeowners changed over the years?
In the past, homeowners were more focused on style. But nowadays, we have noticed they are placing more emphasis on their lifestyle and the overall experience they can have in the space.
If you could design a celebrity or a personality’s home, who would that be?