Interlink Design Solutions founder James Yong's bright and airy duplex in the heart of Kuala Lumpur is an ode to Manhattan lofts

A designer's own home is where he can allow his vision to soar unrestrained by a client's directives or budgetary constraints. It's here that he can let his style shine through.

This was the case for IDr James Yong, founder of award-winning Interlink Design Solutions, who had moved into an exclusive property in the heart of the KLCC area with his partner and two fur kids.


The duplex unit was a generous 3,960 sq ft with two floors and composed of 4+1 bedrooms with attached bathrooms and a family hall. Its 6.5m double volume ceiling in the living area was a highlight as it created the luxury of space in the unit. "Once you enter the unit, there is natural ventilation and plenty of light because there are large glass panels and sliding doors that connect to the balconies in both the living and dining area," explains Yong. 

This lent itself to Yong's overall concept for the duplex inspired by Manhattan city living. To further open up the space, the designer removed the wall between the living hall and dining area so that there would now be an impactful 12.5m length of spacious view between the two areas. The dry kitchen wall was also demolished to have an open concept kitchen design.

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Populating this expanse was Yong's extensive collection of modern designer furniture, oriental antiques and art frames which needed to be incorporated seamlessly into the design. "My design approach was to mix and match with a curated selection of well-known Italian designer furniture. Flos Italy decorative lighting was selected throughout the spaces. I decided to use the art frame to enhance the interior rather than aesthetic panels to fill up the blank walls," notes Yong.

To this end, the Gogan sofa from Moroso in the living hall was chosen for its soft sculptural shape, which blended well with the ample space in the living hall. This was juxtaposed with a Shanghai tip side table by Patricia Urquiola and Moroso. The classic Noguchi coffee table surrounded by Poltrona Frau Archibald leather armchairs is taking centre stage.

The designer's Eames lounge and ottoman from Herman Miller was placed between the living and dining area. Patrick Starck's gun series lamps were placed around the TV area and Danish cabinets, and to top it off, the 2097 modern chandelier from Flos suits the scale of the double volume space.

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The dining area features a long table, a decorative Palladio Moro marble top, and Dumbo dining chairs from Miniforms. "I chose the Maggese table by Paolo Cappello from Minifroms as it's a piece of emphasis and lightness. Even on its own, it stands as a sculptural-looking element of decoration.

The curved metal of the legs looks similar to paper, giving rise to a new language of furniture that combines simple construction and formality," muses Yong. An Arco lamp completes the dining table, and the classic Flos Snoopy is set on a low Beijing cabinet with a pair of ceramic stools and a round mother of pearl mirror.

In the study room, the eclecticism continues with a classic European sofa upholstered in velvety turquoise matched with a pair of oriental bookshelves cabinets. Loose furniture ensures the space may be used for various functions while adding modernity. These include a Magis 360-degree drawer unit on wheels, a Minotti Pasmore armchair and a Cassina 241 Prive ottoman by Philippe Starck, highlighted by the Flos 265 multi-angle rotatable head and long, adjustable swing arm wall lamp.

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The softness of the baby blue Poltrona Frau John-John bed strikes the right note of relaxation placed in the middle of the master bedroom with an Archimoon soft floor light and study table with a Ktribe T1 table lamp. Persian handmade carpet adds softness, while a Pedrali Pasha armchair in a glossy white polycarbonate frame is sculptural and functional.

Decorative objects add the finishing touches like the oversized Kartell Misses flower power vase by Philippe Starck, Jaime Hayon Ikebana vase and candle holder from Fritz Hansen, scented candles from Tom Dixon and room scent from Culti Milano. The balconies were transformed into a sky garden with numerous Staghorn ferns and potted plants.

Material-wise, Yong went with distinctive choices that would make an impression. "We used natural purple ray veneer in the shoe cabinet in the foyer and the bedroom wardrobes as its unusual strong wood grain acts as a feature wall in the space. Eye-catching green marble with exotic white marble grain was selected as the kitchen top," explains Yong. 

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As for his favourite area, he cites the art frame wall in the dining area where he displayed his collection of antique prints, paintings, museum prints and limited-edition unglazed vitreous stoneware by Wedgewood and Royal Copenhagen Porcelain plates. "The artworks had to be reorganised as they come with different sizes and different design languages. I redesigned the art pieces into frameworks and arranged them onto the wall adjacent to the dining area as a feature wall."

Urban, eclectic and full of character, it's not hard to see Yong's Manhattan loft inspiration in the completed duplex.

Nonetheless, the designer feels that having himself as a 'client' was more challenging. "It’s harder to design a home for a designer because we are by profession full of ideas.  The challenge is to make all these ideas coherent and work well within the space while omitting the ones that are less suitable and can be difficult to make choices. On the other hand, when we design for clients, we often work with one strong theme and can be very disciplined in doing so." 


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