The job of an interior designer involves more than just choosing the right wallpaper or curtains for your house.

Alyssa Mazlan, an interior designer who established Island & Republik in 1998, believes in making her clients’ lodgings as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Island & Republik conducts its work with a panel of contractors. Anyone who requests for services with the company will also work with the contractors under the company, and will only be provided with drawings and concepts if clients insist otherwise.

The company carries a range of imported brands, of which Romo is Alyssa’s favourite.

(All photos by Island & Republik/Shutterstock)

She also often creates a ‘mood board’ of a room using drawings, wallpaper swatches, images of lamps and cushions, and other materials to help clients visualize their desired look.

“I always ask clients how their family lives in order to plan. If they hang their bags and set their shoes at the entrance foyer, I need to prepare hooks and storage. If they spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it’s good to have a breakfast area where they can have a quick meal,” explains Alyssa.

Colours are significant, too. “They’re very important, as certain colours make you feel a certain way. A colour to stay away from is dark purple; it makes you very moody,” she says.

Island & Republik will provide its services according to budget as well. Full interior design works including renovation works for a 200 sq ft three-room apartment will cost anywhere from RM150,000 to RM200,000.

It takes roughly three months to complete the interior decoration work of an entire house, or much less time for small jobs such as soft furnishings. “It depends on the clients’ needs.” 

Designers need constant inspiration, and Alysa get hers from her travels. “I know this may sound like a cliché, but Paris is a great place for it. I love the place.”

Alyssa’s personal taste is a combination of the traditional and the modern, as well as a classic style with a punch of colour. “I love colour and I’m very daring with my colour. I will combine funny things together,” she says.

Despite making it sound easy, Alyssa faces some unique challenges where Malaysia is concerned.

“People here tend to think that an interior designer is just there to put up matching curtains and wallpapers. They don’t realize that it really is about everything. Suddenly you have an old piece of furniture sitting there, and it destroys an entire look of the room. Then they wonder why it’s not put together.

“People don’t consider an interior designer like they do overseas. In the UK (for example), they hand the entire property over to the interior designer, and only discuss the colour scheme together.”

Ultimately, a perfect interior design work requires balance.

“You have to sit down with the client and figure out what they want from the many meetings you have with them. It’s very difficult because sometimes you want to put the whole room together the way you see it, but your client has different ideas. It’s always about balancing the ideas, and coming to a middle ground so that both parties are happy,” says Alyssa.



A-06, Plaza Damas, 60, Jalan Sri Hartamas 1, Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur

Business hours: 10 am–7 pm (Mon–Fri); 10 am–3 pm (Sat). Closed on Sundays and public holidays

Tel: +603-6203 9114

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