Magician Mel of the interior design world

Mel Gani is a magician in the interior design world, specializing in soft furnishing, a talent of putting the final touches, or interior staging, at any space, of any of style.

Ti Gong

Mel Gani is a magician in the interior design world, specializing in soft furnishing, a talent of putting the final touches, or interior staging, at any space — be it retail or homes, of any of style.

Who is she?

Mel Gani is a magician in the interior design world, specializing in soft furnishing, a talent of putting the final touches, or interior staging, at any space — be it retail or homes, of any of style. She first worked in Barang-Barang, a Southeast Asian luxury furnishing retailer, and has gone on to set up her own wedding styling company, called Jentayu, fulfilling every bride’s dreams in Singapore. She is a now a mother of two and currently resides in Shanghai.


Please share with us about your works, and the one you are most proud of ?

I’ve just wrapped up my project with Sugarmat Inc, a designer Yoga Mat company based in Montreal, who had just opened up their first flagship company in Shanghai. Their goals are noble and would satisfy any designer’s appetite: To build the most instagrammable and photo-friendly yoga lifestyle store. We tried to recreate a high-end store experience, without the snobbery. The result: a candy floss flaming interior, lined with gilded furniture and a pink hue sofa. We have dreamy flora and fauna leaves lined on the entrance like a dream, a perfect backdrop for a selfie or photo.


What’s your design style?

Being a stylist that has a diverse clientele, I need to rise above the fray, and not stick to any niche or particular style. Therefore my approach has always been to go for more understated yet grand. I don’t go for pompous for the sake of it. But really understanding the core and meaning of objects and how it evokes and tingles meaning when people look at it.


Being a interior design specialist, where are you most creative?

At the comforts of my home or at cafes. I enjoy sipping coffee leisurely while looking at Instagram accounts of my design idols: Kelly Hoppen, Kelly Wearstler and Jimmy Thompson. I Pinterest a lot as well.


What does your home mean to you?

With two growing kids, the home is designed around them. Lots of fabrics for safety, playing spaces and spill friendly. So lots of natural hues: white, black and grey furnishing and accessories, which results in an Urban Scandinavian vibe.


What do you collect?

Call it an occupational hazard, but for me that would be objects, objects and more objects. I love collecting objects of interest with meaning — either historically or design wise. They don’t have to match what I have at home, but just things that fascinate me. I am particularly drawn to brass vases, because they’re so regal and have a mark of craftsmanship. I got most of them in my travels to Bali and India.


Where do you like to go most in Shanghai?

Bakeries, cafes and restaurants, especially those that are beautifully designed. Found 158 is my common spot as most restaurants are beautifully decorated there. My favorite has to be this modern Italian spot, called Mitos. They’re the same guys behind Xixi Bistro, another divine restaurant. For my daily bread, I love going to Madeline, on Hengshan lu, a new cool spot amidst other nice restaurants and galleries.


What will be the next big design trend?

Engagement is really important for retail stores. Stores now function even more than a traditional showroom. Brands now have a broader mandate to interact with customers. Retail spaces not only have to be attention worthy but also designed and finely curated for maximum engagement, like providing spots for customers to take a selfie or what they deem instagram-worthy.



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