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
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
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
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.
Q: What do you like the least about your
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
Q: You mentioned working in other
countries before, how do you get
selected by other countries to do work
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.
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
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.