This is an abridged version of an interview conducted by Emily Sanderson for The Diplomat Magazine in September 2011.

You were quoted recently [March 2011, Essential Kitchens, Bedrooms & Bathrooms] as being the Kelly Hoppen to the masses. What do you make of that comment?

“Well I take that as a compliment. Kelly moves in somewhat different circles to us but we aspire to be on par with her company. My role is to ensure that strategically, everything is in place for us to do so. We have always dominated the Diplomatic and private client markets.”

How do you explain MDB’s dominance in the Diplomatic sector?

“My father spent 32 years working in Burma, Singapore and latterly London for the American Embassy so maybe that’s where the Diplomatic ties began. I would underline he was not a Diplmoat but worked in the General Services Office in shipping. Invariably, many of my childhood friends were children of Diplomats and I am glad to say that some of those relationships still endure today. MDB have an acute understanding about how foreign service missions work: the protocol, standards and service levels...we have taken that as a firm foundation and offer our private clients the same service without compromise.”

So which Embassies and Consulates do you work with?

“Well Emily, I am sure your readers will appreciate that our Diplomatic as well as our private clients value their anonymity. What I would say is our defined markets in the Diplomatic sector are predominantly the Far East...in fact I don’t think there is a Far East mission we haven’t worked with. We have completed both residential and commercial projects for them across London and the home counties.”

What specific aspects do you enjoy about your job?

“Undoubtedly, being with our clients. We invariably spend a lot of time with our clients so it’s kind of inevitable they end up as friends; this is a people business. I would say a strength of MDB is our ability to conceptualise and interpret our client’s needs. I love re-designing Consular Sections...this is the public face of the mission and as such, should be perceived by visitors as being truly representative [in terms of design and materials] of that country.“

Your work with the Singaporean community in London was officially recognised...

“Well I sat on the Executive Committee of SUKA [Singapore UK Association] for a number of years although I am not involved with SUKA at this moment – well only socially. I also manage sponsorship and marketing for the Singapore Golf Society; I know what you are thinking...it’s very friendly actually and no golfing snobs allowed. Our signature event is the Singapore National Day Cup which is held at The Grove every year. It’s a great excuse for clients, family and friends to get together – forget the golf, the makan is exquisite!”