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  1. 1. An Interview with Marcus Tan a Landscape Architect
  2. 2. Time for some old fashioned Q and A session. Q: Hi Mr. Marcus Tan, first of all I would like to sincerely thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come to this interview. Lets start by telling us a little about yourself. A: Hello, its no problem at all. I’m Marcus Tan and I’m 32 years old. I work for a company called URBANiS landscape design. Q:How did you get into this line of work? A: I think it was sort of a brainwash from young, when I was a young kid my dad used to bring me to the construction sites and so I think that’s where I got an appreciation for landscape and also a bit construction.
  3. 3. Q:Tell us the moment when you decided this was the path you wanted to take? A: I think that landscape does plays a very significant part in development now days, if your talking maybe 15 years ago maybe the purpose of landscape was just for authority submissions. You plant a tree so they can get approvals but I think now days landscape if you notice about developers, their advertising landscape. So I think landscape has become a fundamental part of a development and people are always talking about lifestyle now days, I think that seeing how the landscape element has become a very important part of overall developments and urban planning especially if you look at Singapore, after I went there I thought this is the way to go to contribute to our city scape. Q: What are the rewards of this job? A: To see the job completed. Now you are studying architecture, the design part is interesting. When you do all the drawings and you sketch out everything is interesting but when you actually finish the job, you know when your telling the contractor what to do in the last few days and the job finally opens and have a certain sense of satisfaction. Landscape is really what you call the curtains to the window. So whenever I finish a project and especially if we do resorts and hotels wah it’s very very fulfilling when you finish it, so I think that’s what drives us on.
  4. 4. Q: What do you like the least about your work? A: Umm what I dislike I think, the industry now days are very fast paced so the problem is that we are often not given enough time to do our designs you know. So sometimes it becomes like a factory, your just churning out designs without any inspiration just to meet datelines. Sometimes it becomes a bit frustrating because everyone is trying to meet datelines so your just becoming like a factory, so that’s the frustration now days that a lot of architects face. Q: You mentioned working in other countries before, how do you get selected by other countries to do work there? A: Often how we do it is through recommendation or word of mouth, architects say ‘ I have project here, are you keen?’ besides that we don’t realy do marketing we just work with other existing clients. There’s no need to do any marketing, not boasting or what but we just give our profile out and they will say ‘ ohh very good ah what you do?’. I think to be good in something you need to be able to service your client and your consultants and straight away you will get recommendation because there’s always a shortage of good designers.
  5. 5. Q: What landscapes inspire you? A: I have certain projects that I really fancy one project that I really like is the Four Seasons in Langkawi. I think I went there maybe 10 years ago and up till today I’m still amazed with the design and the detail, it was designed by a designed by a designer named Bill Bensley. He is a British guy or America guy, he resides in Bangkok now and he is really brilliant architect and I think one of the top in the world, and you see the way he designs is fantastic. I will always remember as I was walking, as I was walking through the corridor and there’s a door and the door has a hole, so you can actually peek through the hole and when you peek through the hole your looking at the ocean. So I thought those were really nice touches and whenever I go to Langkawi, I must visit the hotel, its beautiful. I think the inspiration that came from there was, how fantastic good landscape can make project but it doesn’t influence our other projects it motivates me you know, such good work can come out from such a talented person. Q: What advice do you have for young landscape architects? A: I always talk to all my new staff because whenever they graduate, they come out and say ‘I want to do my masters’ and ‘I want to do my PHD’. My advice to you guys is whenever you have any chance during your school breaks or what, go and expose yourself maybe you have some contacts, go and work in a design firm and just get yourself exposed. Don’t have an ego if you need to photostat paper or if you need to print stuff just do it, get a feel of the design office and as you graduate and come out, work for 1 or 2 years first. No one is relevant to the industry before they further their studies, but I think the most important thing is don’t have an ego. A lot of gen Y people now because life is good so they tend to hop around and don’t want to do certain things but I think to be successful in life you need to eat the humble pie first, make sure you know the basics and from there you make your way up. Q: I think that’s all for my questions, once again my sincerest thanks for coming out and doing this interview with us. I hope it was not too much trouble and that you enjoyed this meeting as much as we did.Thank you.