One of the biggest names in interior designing, Interior Points has designed offices for companies like Air Asia, Axis Networking, Rainbow Overseas, Adar Enterprises, and Access Education among many others.
Interior designing has become the norm rather than a luxury for Kathmandu valley residents. One of the most trusted interior designing companies, Interior Point, has vast experience from commercial to residential. The demographic of people who hire interior designers is also rapidly expanding. Back when the company started, most of their clients were building offices and commercial spaces, but now, with a growing interest in interior designing among a larger section of the population, the company has been working on residential buildings as well.
Taking into account the number of employees and number of cabins needed, they first analyze the space they are working with to see if they have enough space to meet the client's expectations or if they would need to cut costs. In most cases, there is an imbalance between expectations of the client and the space available.
C.P Humagain, the managing director of Interior Points, explains, “One problem we often encounter is when we create a 3-D design and show it to the client. Since we add trees and showpieces just to make the design look good, the client mistakenly thinks they will be included in the finished work.” However, he is rather hopeful about the future of interior designing in Nepal.
When it comes to office space, the company focuses on making the space and design as efficient as possible. To ensure things are aligned with one another in design and the work proceeds smoothly, they divide the project into separate parts, focusing on them individually rather than lumping them together.
Humagain explains further, “We sub-contract the work; we give the flooring work to a company that does floor work, the electrical work to another company and so on.”
Of course, everything isn't smooth sailing in the interior design industry with emerging firms working at cheaper rates, compromising on the finishing. There are over a hundred interior designing companies in Kathmandu at the moment. And what many new firms do is take in work at a cheaper rate. But they cannot produce the right finishing.
“Not all new firms have these problems. If someone has a background in architecture or interior designing and has worked for a few years in the industry before opening their own firm, they understand the functionality and the market reach. But people who come into the industry as skilled manpower and then try to start their own interior design firms, are certainly creating a challenge for the rest of us,” he laments.
Another major challenge interior design companies are currently facing is the materials at their disposal. Interior Points, after the design has been confirmed and negotiated, send their clients a bill of quantity, listing the prices of all the materials from the paints, the furniture, and carpeting to the types of walls required. If the cost overruns their clients’ budgets, compromises are made and they use cheaper alternatives that give the finishing closest to the original material.
“In Nepal, we don’t have very good access to these materials. And so, if we import them, they cost twice as much as in the western countries where theyare made. Add to that customs and other expenses, and these materials become very expensive. Moreover, it isn’t even feasible to import a few pieces of furniture from abroad just for one client. But clients want the same products that they see on the internet with the same finishing at the same price in Nepal, which is obviously not possible,” he says.
There are many misconceptions regarding interior designing according to Humagain. A common misconception people have is that interior designing is very expensive and only for the rich, which is not true. But interior design is not just about aesthetics, it is also about functionality. The designers take into consideration the client’s every requirements which is why interior designing is needed in the first place.
“Right now, the interior design industry is limited to Kathmandu. Outside of Kathmandu, there is not much awareness. People get local shops to do the furniture and flooring and electrical work. And since different companies are doing these different things, they don’t match. They also face problems in the product just three to six months after the work is completed. Only when people come to Kathmandu and see how things are done here, do they realize how much better it can be.” he explains.
“Big cities like Bhairawa and Pokahra are growing very fast. So, if we could create awareness among the residents in these growing cities, it could create even greater opportunities for this industry.”he adds.
There is already some awareness regarding interior design in these cities but not quite enough according to Humagain, “Some offices are starting to get interior designers to design their offices even in cities outside of the valley. Banks hire interior designers wherever they decide to open a branch. But, with other offices, it’s very nominal. And the reach in residential homes is almost non-existent.”
If the interior design industry could extend its reach outside of the three cities in the valley, the growth in the industry could be explosive. As for now, all they can do is wait and hope for the best.