Emma Maxwell is one of Asia’s top restaurant interior designers. Since moving to Singapore she has not looked back.

What’s your story?
I’m an interior designer who specialises in restaurant and bar design. I have my own firm, Emma Maxwell Design. I’m based in Singapore, originally from Melbourne, Australia. I graduated from RMIT in sculpture.

I have an uncompromising eye for detail, probably a hangover from my London advertising days. This characteristic ensures that each of my projects are finished with finesse, quality and passion.

My  list of credits include projects worldwide from casual to fine dining Michelin star restaurants such as 3 starred Bruno Menard (also host of Master Chef Asia) as well as resorts in the Maldives and South East Asia.

I  have been widely awarded and recognized for the last 3 year runnings at the UK based International Bar and Restaurant Awards, I have received trophies at the A&D Awards and I have been published widely in Wallpaper, Interior Design Review, Frame, Belle, Elle Décor, InDesign, Surface, Epicure, Cubes, D&A, The Peak and Prestige.

What excites you most about your industry?
The endless possibility of growth and creative output. The design industry is changing all the time. There is never time to rest on one’s laurels.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I moved to Asia 8 years ago from Sydney and it has been one of the best career moves I could have ever made. There is so much scope for growth here. It has given me so many opportunities.

d EmmaMaxwellDesign_Florentina-1

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. For a Westerner it’s easy to communicate. It’s also a dynamic, growing city with a hunger for everything new. It doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
If you don’t first succeed, try again, and again and again! It’s determination and focus that will get you over the line. Also there is never an excuse to forget your manners. Always conduct yourself with dignity and with grace. It’s the weak who are rude with explosive tempers in business.

Who inspires you?
My mother. She taught me the virtue of patience and compassion.

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
That no matter how small your company is, no matter where you are located, if you want to reach to the highest international goal in your industry, just ask and have courage and faith in your ability. It’s amazing the response you can get.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
No. Every step of my journey has been integral to where I am now. The lows of having only $200 in my pocket and in search of the next project and to where I am today. Designing restaurants for the world’s best Michelin starred chefs. All of it is important. All of it makes me humble and grateful for every day in business that I have.

How do you unwind?
I travel! I immerse myself in architecture and design all over the world. Right now , it is exploring every facet of Italy that I can. I’m in Siena right now. I’m unwinding by looking at the various 800 year old pattern detailing in the duomo. My unwind time is also my inspiration time. It’s important to feel free. Your work will be the better for it.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Sri Lanka. It’s sublime. Perfect beaches, amazing food and no one tries to sell you a sarong on the beach. As yet, it is unspoilt. The architecture is divine.

Everyone in business should read this book:
Or better yet, look at this sculpture: Jean of Arc. For me, it’s the version in the Notre Dame, Paris.

No matter how small you are, if feel you are over looked, if you come from a humble background, you can have the determination, the talent and drive to lead, succeed and strive forwards. In spite of all of the adversity around you, stick to your steed, raise your sword and never cease and never compromise your intent, passion, dreams or your values. You will eventually win, in so many ways.

Shameless plug for your business:
I’m one of the best restaurant designers in Asia.

How can people connect with you?
www.emmamaxwelldesign.com

Twitter handle?
I’m visual. So I’m Instagram.
emmamaxwelldesign

This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:

CallumConnects

Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia.  He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries.  He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence.  A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.

Take the ‘Key Person of Influence’ scorecard <http://www.keypersonofinfluence.com/scorecard/>

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Get his free ‘Asia Snapshot’ report from www.callumlaing.com

Recently Published

Key Takeaways: The phenomenon of some fireflies’ flash synchrony has puzzled scientists for over a century. The phenomenon piqued the curiosity of many, including mathematicians Daniel Abrams and Steven Strogatz, who named it “chimera” In Greek mythology, the Chimera was a hybrid monster made of parts of incongruous animals – so a fitting name for […]

Top Picks

Key Takeaways: Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity has been remarkably successful in describing the gravity of stars and planets. However, gaps in our understanding start to appear when we try to apply it to extremely small distances, where the laws of quantum mechanics operate. A new study, published in Nature Astronomy, has now tested […]
Key Takeaways: Digital money is a form of currency that uses computer networks to make payments. It is not the digital nature of cryptocurrencies that differentiate them from digital money, but how they ensure the ownership of digital property that mark them as transformational. The Counter Currency Laboratory, a new initiative based in the Department […]
Key Takeaways: For many people, Buddhism appears to be uniquely compatible with modern lifestyles and world views. Buddhist mindfulness has influenced many schools of contemporary psychology. Buddhist philosophy embraces constant change and the inherent impermanence of all things. The 19th century Burmese monk Ledi Sayadawtravelled the nation teaching meditation and founding study groups. The forms […]
Key Takeaways: Elon Musk proposed a range of controversial changes to the Twitter platform. One of the ideas was to charge US$8 a month to obtain a verified status. The paid verification change has already been rolled out in several countries, including Australia, under the Twitter Blue subscription service. Musk’s proposal is not only misguided […]

Trending

I highly recommend reading the McKinsey Global Institute’s new report, “Reskilling China: Transforming The World’s Largest Workforce Into Lifelong Learners”, which focuses on the country’s biggest employment challenge, re-training its workforce and the adoption of practices such as lifelong learning to address the growing digital transformation of its productive fabric. How to transform the country […]

Join our Newsletter

Get our monthly recap with the latest news, articles and resources.

Latest Titles

Login

Welcome to Empirics

We are glad you have decided to join our mission of gathering the collective knowledge of Asia!
Join Empirics