Aiden T is the anagram of the initials of its principal Arjan Nijen Twilhaar. The Award-Winning firm in Singapore offers full design services, specializing in residential and commercial spaces. Founded in 2005, Arjan designed a wide range of projects including landed property, condominiums, flats, spas, restaurants, hotels, retail, and offices. This background helps him to provide a design that is tailored to the individual needs with a great level of comfort and care. CovetED didn´t miss the chance to know better his experience and work as a top interior designer.
From a young age, Arjan was mesmerized by how interiors affected his mood. He had the opportunity to visit cathedrals and palaces, and he became acutely aware of the interior design impact in daily lives, but also in his work nowadays. “What I love the most about my work is to create different spaces that enhance how homeowners experience their homes, the way they live and how they impact their wellbeing. Just like poets have words to create emotions and painters have to paint to express themselves, we as interior designers use materials, textures, and colors to make the world a better place”, he said.
Arjan started his career as a commercial interior designer, bringing together branding and interiors as a complete solution. During 2006 and 2008 he faced the financial crisis in Asia and that impacted investments as well as expansion for commercial sites, as he explains. “I downscaled my firm and focussed on projects I could handle individually. This was quite successful, and one of my first residential projects got featured on TV as well as in newspapers and magazines. That slowly established the firm and grew to the boutique interior design firm I run currently”, Arjan explained. For him, “Life is about expansion and about growth”, but Arjan always set new goals and targets like “exploring new styles or materials for a project too long term ideas on personal growth and how I would like to see the business moving forward”, he completes.
“On a personal level, I would love to build my own home – not being limited by the restriction’s homeowners place on a design or confined by predesigned spaces. For the business, I would like to shift it towards an overall lifestyle approach. I am looking to change the format how the office works and share more about how I live my life and use the space – translate this how homeowners can be inspired by this. It moves interior design from space planning and material selections into life choices”. Arjan Nijen Twilhaar
Working with homeowners that don’t micromanage and trust the process is what makes Arjan feels fulfilled professionally. In his own words, “interior design is an organic process, during the renovation, there will be changes and improvements. Eventually turning a house into a home that reflects the owner’s personality yet still has my ‘stamp’ on it is always beautiful to see”. As a referral business, Aiden T is considered “a referral business, a small firm with designers”, as Arjan tells, so he is very selective in terms of projects choices and there are three fundamental criteria for him – chemistry, “the most important aspect”, he says, aesthetics, like “exploring new styles and researching for projects as the most exciting part of each project” according to Arjan, and budgets, because for him, “to execute a certain scheme, there needs to be an appropriate budget in place. I am very transparent about the budgets needed to create projects on our website. Each portfolio indicates the scope of works and the renovation budget needed. Sometimes people see a project I have done that they like – but have only 50% of the budget”, he referred.
At the moment, Arjan is working on some professional projects, with different concepts and inspirations “One of them is a small confinement hotel in a colonial building. This will be a place where new mums check in for the confinement period. I am working on a few new schemes and material uses, which is very exciting. For residential projects, I am working on a few apartments with an Art Deco vibe. One has a more Parisian flair art deco and one more New York. These projects will complete later part of the year”, he tells, but also with a personal focus on his “new home office design”, as he explains. His inspiration is the Arts and Craft movement, which is very much drawn to the inspiration; moving against industrialization, and focus on the handcrafted quality.
“At the moment we see a few trends converging – while we have been working with more traditional elements and design inspirations, cultural heritage is getting more prominent in design. So contemporary designs reference more Art Deco lines and materials, while traditional design is getting slightly more ornate. The other movement I see is the YOLO approach, you only live once, so people splurge a bit more on quality materials and nicer finishing’s”. Arjan Nijen Twilhaar
Aiden T client´s base is diverse, but, as Arjan underlines, “the homeowners I work with are more established in their lives. They often know what they want, but are open to suggestions and ideas. Since they are mostly professionals, they are only involved with the project on a high level”. For future collaborations, his company is seeing new developments in materials, by offering a new range of design ideas, but also in another area where Arjan develops his skills. “Next to design projects, I also work alongside some magazines and discuss more how interior design affect our wellbeing and happiness. I write different articles diving into different areas on wellness, environmental issues, and overall happiness, through interior design”, he pointed.
“Companies that bring back the human touch to their craftmanship will stand the test of time. From the perfect stitching on a sofa to hand carved pieces for furniture – I think the appreciation for these kinds of products are coming back. We are slowly leaving behind our consumable lifestyle and focus more on heirloom pieces, companies that have history and a story to tell”. Arjan Nijen Twilhaar
Arjan looks for the future in the design world with happiness and fulfillment, in which “a more confident design will emerge”, like he predicts. “If we want to be more sustainable, we need to change the way we design, use the space and source. And this will leave a lasting impression on how the design will change in the near future”. CovetED also thinks that top interior designers have an important role in the future of design, that´s why we will continue to follow their steps.