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CON’TOUR

VOL 1. THE AESTHETICIZATION OF EVERYDAY LIFE


Con’tour is an ongoing series investigating the thinning of boundaries between art and everyday life. Adopting an inquisitive approach towards the study of human needs and desire, through analysing their interaction with the inanimate. Con’tour serves as a cognitive lens to the consumer behaviour. Unpacking the unspoken layers of semiology: the unconscious shaping of preference, justification for idealism, and demands for an open ended nature of reality. With aims to broaden the readers depth of mind, Con’tour explores with curiosity and ambiguity. Taking on an anthropological approach towards design, fashion, and culture. Welcoming a myriad of possibilities in creativity and understanding.


Con’tour Magazine – Heightening senses, sculpting minds.



Vol. 1: The Aestheticization of Everyday Life

Contour does not force any opinion onto our readers, but merely provide our readers with sufficient materials to path out an alternative point of view.


Con’tour Magazine

Aestheticization of Everyday life

Pg 03 . Editor’s note Pg 05. A Phenomena from the PostModern Culture Pg 07. In conversation with Ksenia Mikhailova on the Aestheticization of Everyday Life – Pg 14. New wave of branding: Aesthetic as a result of Function Pgc15 . Interview Laze living Pg24 . Interview with Fiona Burrage of Sop. Pg 25 . Interview with Nathalie Hammond of By.noo

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Contents


Pg 33. CUUP Pg 37. To each their own Pg 41. Outline Pg 45. Chair Study Pg 59. In conversation with Khoo Guo Jie on the influence of InteriorArchitecture Photography Pg 69. Rowse Beauty Pg 81. Contributors

CONTENTS

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Editor’s Note

Con’tour Magazine dedicates each issue to the decoding of a phenomena. To maintain the integrity of the journal the four core values will be applied throughout the various studies. CON’TEXT, ––––––––CON’TRAST, CON’TACT & CON’TEMPORARY. In the pursuit of turning work into art, Con’tour will re-envision the realities of the world through it’s photography and graphic design. Stepping away from conventional depictions of the inanimate. Con’tour aims to showcase the integrity of each subject by emphasising on its tactility through a candid approach. With the contents moving through genres: From the personification of a chair, to an exploratory method of getting dressed, and the essence of life enliven within objects basked in light and shadow. We recommend you to try your best to free yourself from former assumptions. To enjoy the sensorial devices of the magazine with an open heart and mind. Lastly, to not jump to any conclusions. Enjoy!

A Note from the Editor.

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Gigi Soh @thecheesychick mauvemuse.com


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Introduction

“The modern man is the man who constantly tries to invent himself. It is this attempt to make sense of the experience of life in the new urban spaces and nascent consumer culture.” – Foucault

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A phenomena from the Post-modern Culture – The Aestheticization of daily life is one of the key features of post-modernism culture, it refers to the growing significance of aesthetic perception in processes of consumption and consuming. It takes into account the functionality, aesthetics, instrumentality and social-cultural values of design connecting facets of life and art. Subjecting even the most quotidian activities such as walking and eating to the principle of aesthetics, adding an element of playfulness and expressiveness to the most mundane forms. (Featherstone, 2007) The faculty of language in particular played a huge role in the evolution of aesthetic sense. The aesthetic finality of language, fuels the stimulation of an essence, presenting an opportunity to idealise things, paints a deeper picture and impose a narrative with the act of

description. Language is no longer the representation of nature in its primal visibility, but rather, the figurative of the world redeeming itself and lending its ear to the last true word. With the development of the digital economies in the twenty-first century, it has exacerbated a shift in the significance of aesthetic, through the emergence of the “experience economy” (Rifkin 2000) where the combination of entertainment, information and communication technologies, and lifestyle products played a part in shaping our identities, in ways that were not present in the modernist era of culture. The “aestheticization” of our environment has created a sociocultural tool for individual recognition and strengthening collective identity. With people forming a connection through preferences in hobbies and style.

E.g A vintage enthusiast or Minimalist/ A active spin class participant. Brands have picked it up and have formulated something precise and receptive to their audience,. Introducing the term ‘brand aesthetics’, which is the characterising of sensory treatments of the manifestations of the brand. Not limited to sight (forms, colours, textures) but also delving into sound, taste, doors and touch. This background study serves as a context for the content and articles featured in the first issue of Con’tour Magazine. The relation and built ups to this phenomena can be found through the various interviews with photographers, brands and artists in a contemporary setting.

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Interview with Ksenia Mikhailova

In conversation with Ksenia Mikhailova on the Aestheticization of Everyday Life – Photos by Ksenia Mikhailova, Text edited by Gigi Soh.

Ksenia Mikhailova is an artist based in Moscow who elevates everyday objects through her works of set design and photography. Garnered by the likes of Vogue and Fruit Assembly, Ksenia’s works capture the essence of life heretofore and exudes a gentle spirit of playfulness. Whether it is an offbeat composition of a sponge stuffed in a pair of leggings above a warped cup, or a cluster of grapes emerging from a kimchi container. The variation in colours and textures dances in perfect harmony.

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Ksenia’s works enlivens the beauty in the mundane, and the familiarity of her subjects of focus serves as a humble reminder that art is all around us and for everyone to appreciate. We got in touch to find out more about why she shoot what she does.


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Interview with Ksenia Mikhailova

Hi Ksenia, firstly lets kick things off with a brief introduction…Who are you, what do you do and where do you do it? KM: Hi, I am Ksenia Mikhailova and I am an artist who mainly works with sculpture and photography. I also do art direction, set design and photography as a job. Usually I work in my home studio and my most common setup is natural light entering through a window.

How would you define the style of your work and how did you come to develop it? KM: I guess my main goal of making an image is for everything in it to be harmonious– the colours, shapes, textures and balance. I want the photo to have almost a soothing effect on the viewer. I experimented a lot with what and how I’m shooting – and there’s still a lot to learn and research.

Could you tell us about your practice and the journey into your career. Which came first photography or set design if the journeys started separately? KM: I have been deeply infatuated with photography since I was 17-18 years old, that was the time when DSLRs started being affordable and my dad gave me a Pentax for my birthday. Flickr was a very relevant place for artists and photographers, and I started shooting trying to emulate everything I liked on Flickr I found the process incredibly absorbing. It was alike living a parallel life where you can create a world through your lens and then share it with others. I shot for a couple of years not really doing anything I considered noteworthy. So at one point I decided to dedicate more to photography and started working as a photo editor.

We realised that everyday groceries and household objects take center stage in your photographs. Is there a story behind the fascination of using everyday objects? KM: I was always fascinated with homes and objects of everyday use. I am generally drawn to the realm of consumer objects, especially those that are more universal. So when I resumed my creative work I used what felt most natural to me: things that were surrounding me. I remember travelling alone when I was younger and whenever I felt overwhelmed I’d pop into a supermarket, and it was both like a museum to me and something very homelike that I found comforting and sincerely beautiful.


“I remember travelling alone when I was younger and whenever I felt overwhelmed,

I’d pop into a supermarket, and it was both like a museum to me and something very homelike that I found comforting and sincerely beautiful.”

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Interview with Ksenia Mikhailova

“I think my main subject has always been belongingness in a broad sense..” What are some of your favourite materials to work with? KM: In most of my work I try to play with nostalgia and familiarity, so I look for objects that are known to everybody. I think my main subject has always been belongingness in a broad sense. Classic designs that bring up memories; objects whose touch and smell you remember; things you can find in different parts of the world that evokes a sense of belonging. How would you describe your creative process? From the initial idea and set design, to photography and editing? KM: Usually ideas come from objects themselves, they catch my eye and intrigue me. I start playing with them looking into their features and exploring how they will behave when they are put together with objects of another kind and with different lights. If it’s for a commercial shoot, I usually come up with the concept and moodboard and discuss it with the client. I am used to doing the whole production on my own, from the getting of props, to shooting and retouching. Sometimes I work purely as a set designer, which I enjoy very much too.

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Has your former experience of being a photo editor played a part in cultivating the aesthetic portrayed in your work today? KM: Definitely. This is how I educated myself. I worked with a huge amount of visual information. I loved looking at blogs about contemporary sculpture and still life photography, but there was a big mental block that would set me back from actually starting to produce my own stuff. It took years of connoisseurship and a few months of lying on the couch watching Brazilian telenovelas to finally allow myself to start shooting.

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Interview with Ksenia Mikhailova

“Just like the objects I portray and how they appear to me, I don’t like presenting things in a grandiloquent way.”

The aestheticization of everyday life gives creatives the opportunity to connect with a wider pool of audience. What are your thoughts on celebrating and finding beauty in the mundane? KM: It’s interesting to take quotidian objects and add to them another layer of meaning, to incur a sort of unveiling of its poetic dimension. It acts as an invitation to rethink and look at them in a new way. Who are some artists and photographers that inspire you?

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KM: I am really careful with who I follow among still life photographers, because whether you like it or not some images and ideas stick to your head and become an influence. I’d say that my main inspiration is travelling and observing everyday situations in a different scenery. CM: Lastly, what mediums and subjects do you hope to be exploring next? I want to become a better photographer from a technical point of view and focus more on personal projects in general. Lately I’ve been

Ksenia Mikhailova @ukosina kseniamikhailova.com

exploring the concept of home and isolation and i’m developing a new body of work from that. I am constantly looking to be more “precise” with my work—to put it in some way—and becoming more essential in my choices, Whether that be with the objects I use, the compositions or the ideas, while remaining spontaneous and as down to Earth as possible. Just like the objects I portray and how they appear to me, I don’t like presenting things in a grandiloquent way.


NEW WAVE BRANDING: AESTHETIC A RESULT FUNCTION

To expand on the study of what consumers are looking out for in a brand present day. We went into conversation with the founders of three function-driven lifestyle brands offering products of exquisite quality, without compromising on the environment and design.

has been placed on keeping ourselves comfortable. With assets, in particular to health and beauty playing an essential role in maintaining our well-being. Consumers are looking for intelligent designs that will cut through the noise and functional brands prevail. These brands offer what the consumers desire in an engaging and authentic way, without dictating what they want.

OF

AS OF

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The Covid-19 outbreak has slowed the pace of many consumers, and resulted in a renewed sense of caution towards their purchasing habits. With an increase in consumer activism, consumers are more mindful over the impacts of their choices– an increase in wellness, environmental consciousness, and a growing love for local. As we now spend the majority of our time at home, a greater attention

In today’s revolutionary social climate, aspirational realness no longer seals the deal when it comes to branding. People are no longer drawn into the gimmicks of an idealistic life, but are attracted to the tangibility of the benefits a brand can offer.


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Interview with Laze Living


Introducing Laze Living, an up and coming Ethical Lifestyle Brand. Photos by Laze Living, Text edited by Gigi Soh.

Based between Singapore and Australia, Laze Living is an up and coming environmentally conscious lifestyle brand providing highquality and functional products to bring about a sense of relaxation into the homes of people. Inspired by the timeless silhouettes and palette of Earth’s natural habitats, Laze Living’s first collection compromises of a minimal line of hover beds and essential textiles – bedding, blankets and bath towels. Taking into consideration the impact of their carbon footprint, Laze Living

is constantly brainstorming and implementing new initiatives to protect the Earth. We got in touch with the team at Laze Living to talk about how the brand came about, and the rising importance in quality furniture and household accessories.

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Can you share with us how the concept of Laze Living came about and would you consider it a textile or lifestyle brand? LL: LAZE LIVING would be considered as a lifestyle brand. For us, it’s more about aligning our products to the values of our brand. We don’t just sell products; we want consumers to feel like they are part of a community that believes in the same things that we do. That’s not to say that the quality of our products isn’t important – quality is one of our top priorities.

LAZE

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Interview with Laze Living

Have you always been creative? When did you discover that creating a lifestyle brand was what you wanted to do? LL: I studied finance as my bachelor’s degree, and it was a very dry and boring experience. I have always enjoyed arts and design – one of my favourite pastime is visiting galleries and exploring different kinds of art and artists. My family has been running a textile business for many years, which is what inspired me to start LAZE. I wanted to create something different and new, which not only gave people good quality products but also encourage customer to engage in a specific kind of lifestyle – the LAZE LIVING way of life. When it comes to purchasing a textile, what characteristics do you look out for? LL: The most crucial characteristic would have to be the feel of the fabric. At the end of the day, if you are going to sleep on these sheets every night, you want them to be comfortable and cosy. Another important characteristic would be the colour and look of it – your home is your safe space and if you don’t like the way something looks, you shouldn’t have to look at it every day.


Relaxation and promoting closeness to nature are at the core of Laze Living’s ethos. Does the team at Laze go by these values? LL: Over the past year, everyone has been forced to morph into a homebody of some sort, and reexplore the idea of relaxation and comfort in their own homes. The lot of us who lived in cities were unable to go outside, even if we were to just sit and read in a park, which is something anyone would have taken for granted prior. So, we really wanted LAZE to be a source of reconnecting our consumers to nature and the outdoors. The LAZE team do find peace in being outdoors, whether it’s having a relaxed day at the beach or a quiet hike in the woods, we all love to bask in some fresh air!

LIVING “Your home is your safe space and if you don’t like the way something looks, you shouldn’t have to look at it every day.”

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As an environmentally conscious brand, what are some of the new initiatives Laze Living has introduced to minimise environmental impact? LL: We make sure that all the materials used for our products are sourced ethically. Cotton is a huge source of pollution in the fashion and textiles industry, therefore it’s good to be aware of where it’s coming from. Also, every part of our product packaging is biodegradable from the labels to the boxes, so that they don’t end up in a landfill or cause more harm to our already polluted oceans. How would you sum up the aesthetic of Laze Living? LL: LAZE LIVING prides itself on being a minimalistic and luxurious brand. We are inspired by the Nordic and Japanese ways of life, focusing on slow living and a “less is more” attitude.

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Laze Living @lazeliving lazeliving.com

Interview with Laze Living What roles do fabric play in your life, and how do you project this into your artistic approach? LL: Choosing the right fabrics for our products is quite important since most people choose their bedding based on how it feels and the comfort it brings. We wanted the fabric to feel luxurious, yet not unattainable, so it was about finding the right balance throughout the development of our first collection.

The fabric emanates the essence of life and being, such as traces of the human touch – the person who touched them, wore them or slept on them. What are some sensorial experiences Laze Living hope to invoke? LL: We want to take our consumers on a journey with our collection. We want them to remember a time when they felt at peace with themselves, and space to think and slow down. The colours we have selected for our product range also facilitates this – there’s nothing too bright or shocking to the eye, we wanted to keep the palette quite neutral and muted, yet bright enough to bring some tonality to a space.


How does it feel to have created a product that has improved the quality of someone’s daily rituals? LL: Creating products that are so intimately involved in people’s lives is quite an honour. To build a brand like LAZE is a journey in itself, it involves gaining trust from our consumers. We’re really grateful for the responds that we’ve received and excited for what’s to come!

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Interview with Fiona Burrage

Introducing Sop, an up and coming body care and fragrance brand. Photos by Sop. Text Edited by Gigi Soh

Founded by Fiona Burrage, the woman of many hats, Sop is a sustainable body care and fragrance brand made in Norfolk. Inspired by the local landscape and language, Sop offers a minimal collection of products emulating the scent and experiences of regions in Norfolk. Driven by diligence and being a proud supporter of the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the products of Sop are responsible, vegan and cruelty-free. Sop is currently stocked across selected ethical stores across the United Kingdom. We caught up with Fiona about her latest venture as she shares more about the creation of Sop, and her dedication to living a sustainable life.

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Hi Fiona, firstly lets get the ball rolling with a brief introduction…who are you, what do you do and where do you do it? FB: I am Fiona Burrage, I am a married mother of one, and the owner of various businesses. Such as Sop, the Water Cabin at Norfolk Broads and the lifestyle brand Nor-Folk. Originally from Essex, I studied graphic design at Norwich University of the Arts, and settled down in Norwich after I have graduated. I also co-run a creative coworking studio called Studio Inn, and dabble in commercial photography and brand consultancy. Congratulations on your latest venture, Sop. Could you share with us more about the brand and the inspiration behind it? FB: It was inspired by my natural surroundings and the Norfolk language. I wanted to harness the scent and feeling of the location within the products I offer to my guests at the Water Cabin. Enabling guests to relive the feelings of their holiday long after they have left, through using our products. How would you describe a Sop shopper? FB: A Sop shopper is someone who is concerned with sustainability and the environment,.They are knowledgeable about ingredients and design conscious. Also, many are vegan.

The Water Cabin at National Broads.

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Interview with Fiona Burrage

dene (n), a sandy stretch of coast.

As suggested by the tagline “Scents of Place”, was scent the leading factor in the formulation of ingredients? FB: Sop is the acronym of Scents of place, and scent embodies the feeling of a location. For example, our body wash Dene, represents a sandy stretch of coast in Norfolk dialect. The smell of Bergamot and Black pepper creates an invigorating experience. Reflecting the uplifting feeling you get from visiting the beach. With the rise of beauty brands focusing on ingredients and quality. Do you think that the aestheticization of everyday life plays a part in establishing brands that are function-driven yet well considered in aesthetics? FB: I think in this new world, we are all more careful about the products we buy and who we support. We want it to make us feel good (from the benefits to us and supporting that business) and enhance our surroundings visually.

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Sop. @sop__life sop.life

What atmospheres and senses would you like to create for the customer’s daily ritual with Sop? FB: Much like a meditative feeling, we hope that the products of Sop will slow you down, appreciating the crafting of the scent and allow you to mentally escape. We hope to leave our customers feeling calmer and more relaxed.


“Less is better” Minimalism and sustainability is at the heart of your business ventures. Tell us more about your journey in cultivating environmental awareness. FB: It’s at the heart of everything, I think it’s my responsibility as a business owner to consider the environmental impacts. I’ve got on a journey of understanding the true carbon footprints of products and within our store we only support brands who share the same ethos. I’d like for Sop to work towards B Corp status in the coming year. In addition to our own processes, we are also sharing advices on small changes that can be incorporated into our customers’ lives. To live a more considered, mindful and sustainable lifestyle.

Next Up, what are some exciting things in line for Sop? FB: We are currently working with candles which will be out later this year. We are hoping to be stocked in a hotel room, finalising details within the UK and Europe. The dream is to have a flagship “Sop House” in Norwich, a multipurpose space with sleeping quarters.

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Interview with Nathalie Hammond

In conversation with Nathalie Hammond of By.Noo on her journey as a ceramicist.

Photos by Gigi Soh Text Edited by Gigi Soh Nathalie Hammond is a ceramicist based in Norwich. She focuses on functional stoneware pieces for everyday use. We sat down with Nathalie to learn more about her journey in pottery, the materials that excites her, and the applicable life lessons she’ve amassed.

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“I do not really remember why I chose it, but only those closest to me refer to me as ‘noo’, so I think a part of it was because I really felt connected to creating ceramics.” Hi Nathalie, firstly lets kick things off with a brief introduction…Who are you, what do you do and where do you do it? NH: I’m Nathalie and currently I am working full time alongside running my own ceramics business, which I run out of a studio I co-own in Norwich. The dream is to move over to ceramics full-time but I am not quite there yet.

space. I purchased a wheel which I put in my garage and researched heavily into a kiln purchase. I managed to find a studio space, which I share with another ceramicist. I took the plunge and bought a kiln of my own and we have been in our studio for just over half a year now. We have big plans for it and intend to start running open days and workshops.

Could you tell us more about your story. How your journey in pottery began and have you always been creative? NH: I have always been creative. Art was my favourite subject at school and I have an undergrad degree and a Masters in the Arts. My MA was heavily focused on technology and I see this as the point where I realised I prefer working with my hands; with physical materials. It was after this course that I began searching for pottery classes.

What is the inspiration behind starting By.Noo? Could you share with us more about the brand. NH: It wasn’t something I was expecting to do. I wanted to learn ceramics for myself and never thought that I would be in a position to sell my pieces. ‘By.noo’ the name originates from a nickname of ‘noo’. I do not really remember why I chose it, but only those closest to me refer to me as ‘noo’, so I think a part of it was because I really felt connected to creating ceramics.

My pottery journey started like most, I found some pottery evening classes in Norwich and I then became a member of that studio. Through the first lockdown last year, that studio, like most things, was closed to the public and this really sped up the need to build my own

I have found myself creating functional pieces to be used day to day. These are pieces I love making and I am still very much at the start of my ceramics journey, despite doing it for a couple of years. So I am excited to see how the brand will develop with time.

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Interview with Nathalie Hammond

“I create with the intention of not saving things for a special occasion, but rather urge they be used daily.”

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How would you define the style of your work and how did it develop? NH: When I first started, I really wanted everything to be precise and neat, and this isn’t how things turned out. I am not sure I have a style at the moment, but I am sure to an audience it seems like I do. I used to think ceramics had to look a certain way and that if it wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t right. But now, I am much more relaxed about things like that and, I tend to just make things that I like or wish to experiment with. I think my style will constantly develop. I certainly have more rustic looking pieces and some with a neutral colour palette. I am now looking at collaborations which will expand my colour + design horizons. As well as, creating things I would like to have and would like to offer to others too.

I can’t define a style as I see too many different influences in my own work. I see other artists who are the same as me and others who have a clear direction and vibe. I don’t think either one is better, but currently I am happy drifting to whatever I feel like making, even if it is completely different from my last release. You introduce yourself as a ‘functional potter’, what does that mean and why the precise choice of word? NH: Functional, for me, means ‘to be used’. I create with the intention of not saving things for a special occasion, but rather urge they be used daily. I think this is why I create what I do, as these objects (tableware) are things that we use most days.

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Beauty lies in embracing the imperfections, such as the little dents and nooks that appears unintentionally. With pottery being such a fluid process, how do you deal with changes in directions? NH: If there is one thing I have learnt from pottery it is that things will go wrong, and that is okay. A pot can go wrong at every stage in the process, and in some stages it can be reversed. There be cracks, warping, glaze issues, kiln issues and sometimes these are happy

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Interview with Nathalie Hammond

accidents. Sometimes you end up with a kiln load of newly finished pots which aren’t what you hoped for. This has been so useful in everyday life as I have found that I am able to move on from the unexpected much quicker, and not get hung up on things if they don’t go quite how I expected. Adding on to the question above, how do you ensure producing something that aligns with the brand ethos and aesthetic?

NH: The biggest thing I do is to use, repurpose or sell all those pieces with defects. If a pot cracks before it is fired in the kiln, the clay can be rehydrated and reused to make something else, so I try to make sure everything I produce ends up with a use, and is not wasted even if it doesn’t fit the aesthetic I had intended.


What materials fascinate you the most and who are some of your favourite ceramicists? NH: One of the most fascinating materials for me is wood. I find it mesmerising to watch craftspeople create their wooden wares. What I enjoy about woodworking, is that the item already lives inside the wood and it is carved out of it and revealed. I tend to find that I am influenced by work in other materials and I consider how clay creations could pair with them. Ceramicist wise, I don’t really have any favourites. Rather, I look at the work of my peers as so many of them are doing beautiful things with clay and differ so much from one another. The selection of crockery and homeware one collects often says largely about a person, from their personality, to habits and lifestyle. What are your thoughts on this statement? NH: I think it can and it can’t. Sometimes, you may not be able to afford the things you wish to collect but in buying other things instead, that also speaks of a different lifestyle. I have pieces I have picked up from charity shops and things I have commissioned, but overall, I simply aim to surround myself with things that make me happy but ‘things’ may have a different definition to someone else and so serve a different purpose.

“If there is one thing I have learnt from pottery it is that things will go wrong, and that is okay. This has been so useful in everyday life as I have found that I am able to move on from the unexpected much quicker, and not get hung up on things if they don’t go quite how I expected.” Lastly, what senses do you hope to provoke in your upcoming projects and collections? NH: I would like to be able to show that I am developing as a ceramicist. I have a few exciting projects in the pipeline including collaborations which will be a different style and much more of an experimentation from what I have been creating and I cannot wait to be able to share them all.

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Nathalie Hammond @by.noo bynoo.co.uk

Interview with Nathalie Hammond


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CUUP


Photography, Styling and Art Direction Gigi Soh Model Lauren Grace Turner

CUUP – We say that “Sensuality is Self-Defined”

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CUUP

On a mission to redefine the way women look and feel in their underwear, and working at the intersection of functional design, fashion and innovation, CUUP creates beautifully designed, expertly crafted products that naturally shapes and unabashedly celebrates a woman’s body. Offering an extensive range of 40 bra sizes in five designs, CUUP challenges the notion that sensuality is anything other than a self-defined state of being.

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To Each Their Own

An explorative method of getting dressed – Featuring Simonett’s Nanu Top

Photos & Text Edited by Gigi Soh

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Context; Nanu top – A hot selling multi-wearable top from Simonett that have garnered the likes of consumers worldwide. This series represents an intimate view of discovering the selling point of a highly purchased product. An open-ended and explorative experience in debunking the pros and cons of the nanu top, and zooming into its versatility, materiality and aesthetics. To each their own, is inspired by the compulsive tendency to document experiences, with each narrative being unique to the protagonist’s own. Encouraging the act of being involved and keeping present. White

^

Color

Add To Tote Add To Wishlist

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To Each Their Own

1.

5.

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SIMON


7a.

NETT 7b.

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Outline

OUTLINE (n), the essential features or main aspects of something under discussion

Conveying the ideas of Modern Day Fashion, through interweaving the words of Dal Chodha.

Photos and Text by Dal Chodha. Edited by Gigi Soh

Based in London, Dal Chodha is the editor of nonseasonal fashion journal Archivist Addendum. He is a contributing writer and editor of various international titles, including ModernMatter, Another and Wallpaper* for which he reports on menswear shows twice a year. A consultant to several luxury brands, Chodha’s Clientele includes Burberry, MARTIOTESTINO+, Kenzo, Paul Smith and Sunspel to name a few. For over a decade, Chodha has been paving the way in academic institutes, and is currently an Associate lecturer at Central Saint Martins. In 2020, he published his book SHOW NOTES, which is an original hybrid of journalism, poetry and provocation.

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Inspired by the format of SHOW NOTES, “Outline” is a series derived from maximising the effectiveness of jotting down important details. Having the pleasure of attending Dal Chodha’s lecture on the medium of fashion. “Outline” is an amalgamation of main thought processes, examples and conversations expanding on what constitutes fashion. Similarly to Con’tour magazine, we have picked up the importance of tactility through your written work. What are your thoughts on the importance of context and contact? DC:The last year and a half has really exaggerated the material distance we have to fashion – it has become more image-led than ever and I think it’s vital that magazines, designers, writers, stylists (the industry) make peace with that. People often criticise the change in how we treat and see fashion (and seem to ignore the clothes) but I think it gives us so many more opportunities to say more things. With my own work, because of my generation, because of my education, I am very much driven by the material value of things. A magazine has to feel special if I am going to have to live with it.

“It’s not necessarily about making people believe what you believe but expanding the minds and conversation about something.”

“Sometimes, the clothes of a collection play the least importance in a show.” Luxury brands and runways often take center stage when it comes to the layman representation of fashion. How do you think we can advance from this ideology, to interpret fashion with an open mind? DC:The industry needs to become more comfortable with the reality that ‘fashion’ is not this closed-off, elitist thing that it once was. Those of us that work for magazines are not its gatekeepers anymore – we are there to put things into context. To frame what designers are doing with how our lives are changing. It is more democratic in the sense that images of fashion are widely distributed, but we need to create pictures that don’t have a singular agenda, which is always to sell us something. The clothes are not the most important thing in a show – the thousands of people who still watch Chalayan or Galliano shows on YouTube are not there for the bias cutting of a gown or the depth of a printed textile. They are there for the spectacle.

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Outline

“I kind of felt that we wanted to demystify some of that pretence and also just reassess what what luxury looks like. To me, this is what luxury looks like. You can see the kind of marks of a hand sat at that desk making these shoes so it really is about a reassessment of what we’re actually buying. When you’re buying a sort of handmade pair of shoes, I think it’s important that you can see how they have been made”

“I do think we all need to stop looking at luxury brands to tell us anything. You can look at them as they make nice things and they’re well made. And of course we should respect their history, but they’re definitely not gonna shape new attitudes that is for sure.”

Photo by DAL CHODHA

Photo by REBECCA SCHEINBERG

“So I between 2012 and 2017, I made this magazine called Archivist. It’s a Journal and the high point for me was seeing it on display in Habitat. I was interested in how the printed object was used as a I guess prop to suggest something else. Like why was this weird magazine that I was making with Jane Howard on a table that cost £225 in habitats on Tottenham Court Road. Why was it there? What was it saying? What was it trying to do, and what it really did?”

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Dal Chodha @dalchodha dalchodha.com


“We live as you all are aware, in an increasingly visual world. And I think in some ways fashion has suffered as a result of that. Fashion is a very obviously image LED and image conscious environment, but that kind of means that we can get away with not having to think so much. So I’m really interested in rigorous conversations about fashion.

“So these notes kind of relate to things that would be in my phone at the end of the season. They either relate to the set that I was sat in, or relate to the models I could see. They don’t always relate to the clothes, and I think that an important thing to make clear is that quite often when you’re at a show, sometimes the clothes are the least important thing.”

“As long as technology doesn’t forget that we are flesh and blood and that we are human beings, and that fashion is a very sensory medium.”

“And, with something like attending a show or having to share your opinion about something, I am saddened that time has shrunk to the point where we don’t really have time to think.” “I think we can notice this partly with the

“Similarly, this idea of listing things I think is really helpful for all of you just to get into the habit of. When you’re watching something, or when you’re looking at something making a very instinctive note about what you’re seeing without overthinking is really important.”

way that we react to the news, and the way we react when a Deliveroo order is incorrect on the way, that we react when something you bought from online doesn’t arrive when it says it does. We rushed to our phones and they’re very quick to judge these situations without really thinking about some of the reasons these things happened. “

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Chair Study

As the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is”. An outfit can reveal a lot about one’s personality, mood, and schedule of the day, albeit it fluctuates frequently. Home, on the other hand is a more consistent reflection of you. Likewise the way a home unpicks the essence of an individual, the headquarters of a brand speak volumes about its identity and beliefs. The selection of furniture featured presents a great insight to the designer’s vision for the brand. Expressing decisions about their sources of inspiration, working culture, and functionality.

Spade Chair

Under the wide selection of furniture to choose from, “the chair” has been selected as a subject of focus. The chair is a fascinating subject of study. Its structure is always the same, yet its manipulations create all the difference. A universal object with deep rooted history in the field of architecture and design; and its budding importance in the realm of fashion.

01 Faye Toogood

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The Triangolo Chair

Alvar Aalto Artek Stool 60

The Spanish Chair

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Frama

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Fredericia

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Chair Study

“Essentially, what your home does is distil a very long history of behaviours and choices,” explains Sam Gosling, Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas.

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PLEASE WAIT to be SEATED Spade chair Photography, Styling and Art Direction Gigi Soh Photography Assistant Xinyi Chai Make Up and Hair Shellvia Valentina Model Rochelle Lai

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Frama The Triangolo Chair

Chair Study


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Chair Study

Artek Stool 60

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Chair Study

Fredericia The Spanish chair

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Interview with Khoo Guo Jie

In conversation with Khoo Guo Jie on the influence of Interior Architecture photography–

Photos by Khoo Guo Jie Text Edited by Gigi Soh Interior and architecture design has been a thriving avenue in the thinning of boundaries between reality and art. Particularly, with the burgeoning of a new generation of digital artists and photographers presenting an alternative (ideal) way of envisioning our imperfect world. In correlation to the drastic changes in lifestyle over the past year, the home accommodates to several functions – the place to work, exercise, relax and socialise (virtually). With questions surrounding the

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influence of photography on contemporary representations of homes, we caught up with Khoo Guo Jie, a photographer based in Singapore specialising in Interior-Architecture and lifestyle imagery to gather his thoughts on idealism surrounding the industry. Through years of commercial and personal projects, and with an extensive body of work. Khoo Guo Jie has amassed a global clientele, working with clients such as Skidmore Owings & Merrill, WoodBagots, FARM, and Archdaily.


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Hi Guo Jie, lets get the ball rolling with a brief introduction…who are you, what do you do and where do you do it? GJ: Hello. I’m a photographer based in Singapore and I’m mostly commissioned for Architecture/ Interior photography work. I work both locally and internationally.

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Could you tell us more about how your practice started and what got you into photography? GJ: There isn’t much of a backstory to it. I picked it up as a hobby when Lomography was popular but the limitation quickly cause me to seek more technical ways to shoot to fulfil what I want to create. One thing led to another, and I started polishing up my skills as an assistant with various photographers while shooting some weddings on the side. I met this model who asked me to shoot for her wedding and

Interview with Khoo Guo Jie

her husband happened to be an architect. We vibe well and I was asked if I’m interested in trying out architecture/interior photography. The beauty of architecture caught on and since then I’ve decided to focus my work mainly in this genre. What influences your photography and defines the aesthetic of your work? GJ: I would say cinema or more accurately cinematographers such as Roger Deakin, Christopher Doyle and Mark Lee influenced my photography. Back in the earlier day, I would say the chiaroscuro method of renaissance’s painting. I didn’t really want to get too much influence from another photographer directly, and would use more references outside of photography within my work.


What is space to you? GJ: Space is the air/void between the physical world constructed by humans. Over the recent years, there is an increase willingness to invest in home renovations. What do you think led to the shift in attitude and attention? GJ:I played a part in attributing this shift. I would say it is mainly due to the increase in exposure with the internet and social media. The circulation is much larger and way more accessible compared to referencing from magazines. From the invention of blogging, to Tumblr and platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, it has definitely made it easier to get inspired and to desire owning something “unique” for their dream homes.

As the saying goes, “Home is where the heart is”. Having seen and photographed many houses, do you agree that one’s home distill a long history of behaviours and choices? GJ: We are a lot more influenced by trends and what we’ve seen than we think we are not. A lot of home owners might not even know why they want certain things or the choices are kind of manipulated in some way. What are some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on? GJ: Mostly my personal work, such as the documentation of Carlos Scarpa’s building. I’ve also made a zine with Juliana Tan a great photographer on our last election. That was quite a fun and unique project to work on.

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Interview with Khoo Guo Jie

“Burgin argues that no image is merely an optical experience – all images are essentially psychological events and thus virtual also. Inseparable from language, they form the psychical spaces of fantasy and projection, recognition and misrecognition. Whether on pages, walls or screens, in galleries or online, single views, or swarms of picture fragments, images are the making and unmaking of our sense of self, and the world around us.” – The Camera: Essence and Apparatus, Victor Burgin

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What is inspiring you at the moment? GJ: Creativity wise I think The camera essence and apparatus by Victor Burgin is really giving me a lot of new thought in the perception of photography. Spending time not working and going out to cycle or run is also quite inspiring. We need to work less, slow down and truly observe things around us. Everything can become inspiring.

myself to the camera’s POV. It is a point and shoot so I pointed and shoot with minimal composition. It was more instinctual. I didn’t really want to be too uptight so the concept ended up just me hanging out with my friends having pizza and beer. I want to show really you know how in reality if we bought the clothes and wear them then we hang out.

You’ve recently partnered up with the German clothing brand, A Kind of Guise on their photo book – Postcards from Everywhere. Tell us more about your approach towards this project, has it shifted with the difference in subject(house)? GJ: AKOG kind of dictated the camera to use for the shoot, so I just surrenderred

I don’t think it shifted in terms of thinking from shooting a house. Visually yes the photographs look so different from my main line of work, but that was mostly due to me surrendering myself to the camera. The thought process is the same. I would shoot a house like how I would think a person would live in it.

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“I don’t think it shifted in terms of thinking from shooting a house. Visually yes the photographs look so different from my main line of work, but that was mostly due to me surrendering myself to the camera. The thought process is the same. I would shoot a house like how I would think a person would live in it.”

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Interview with Khoo Guo Jie

What is one thing you would like to experience more through works of photography? GJ: I think I want to move into book making. So using images in books are very different from just shooting for a commercial project or putting them on a website. I’m hoping to publish more books in the near future. Lastly, any words of advice for budding photographers? GJ: Gain more self-awareness. Understand why you like or dislike something. Read more. Gain opinions. Express those opinions if you can in your work.

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Khoo Guo Jie @khoogj khoogj.com


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Interview with Rowse Beauty

In conversation with Rowse, on the celebration of raw beauty –

The brainchild of travel photographer and model Nuria Val and Business and PR savvy Gabriela Salord, Rowse is an intentionally created plantbased brand and a celebration of raw beauty. Connected through their personal values and a deep respect for the environment, Rowse aims to build and nurture a purpose-driven creative community through the creative power of plants. Offering a minimal line of products, Rowse has stripped down the beauty routine to its core, using natural ingredients to create simple and effective products that infuse the Earth’s luxury into your day to day. Being in the industry for merely 2 years, Rowse has gathered the likes of Vogue, Coveteur and Beauty Independent. We got in touch with the founders Nuria and Gabriela to learn more about the benefits of being plant-based and the takeaways of their travels.

Photos by Gigi Soh Text Edited by Gigi Soh

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Hi Nuria/Gabriela lets kick things off with a brief introduction…who are you, what do you do and where do you do it? RB: Hi Gigi! Nice to meet you, we are Nuria & Gabriela, founders of ROWSE. We started this project in 2018 out of our love for simple ingredients and natural beauty. Nuria was, and still is, a globetrotter that travels with her camera and creativity to capture raw beauty. She sees nature with different eyes and makes art out of a leaf. Gabriela has always been more business oriented and felt the need to invest her knowledge in a sustainable and passionate project, something that would tie her ambition with her love for raw beauty. And so, we founded ROWSE, together. Could you tell us more about how Rowse started, what inspired it and how did the two of you meet? RB: We met on a hotel terrace in Paris, around 2017. We had a glass of wine, and two, and three, and what started as an introductory conversation about Paris ended as a midnight brainstorm, sharing our knowledge and ambitions, “Let’s write down these ideas and make it happen!” – we founded ROWSE shortly after and it has been such a journey. The number of things that we have been learning on the way are outstanding, from ingredients to packaging, to business and tapping into new markets… Today we have two offices, we have a lab in Madrid and a studio in Barcelona. Our team has doubled in the past year, and there is so much more to learn!

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[Question for Nuria] Having the opportunity to experience and see so many beautiful cultures and places of nature. Has your journey in travel photography contributed largely to the branding and aesthetic of Rowse? Definitely. When we founded ROWSE we already knew that an important pillar that would differentiate us is the wisdom that comes with such travels; experiencing different cultures and finding beauty in the most remote areas of Earth has helped us shape the lifestyle aspect, to educate our consumer and motivate him / her to explore beyond the standards. What is your fondest memory of Lanzarote? RB: The first time I came to Lanzarote I was drawn by its legendary one hundred volcanoes, but I soon realized that I would have a lasting connection to this land of pure, raw beauty. The island of Lanzarote is where nature lies in pure contradiction: rugged and volcanic, yet so calm and placid. It’s being in there that makes me happy.

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The ingredients are sold in a more explorative manner whereby consumers can use it separately or mix it up. Was it intended and what is the main factor of consideration when it comes to pairing ingredients? RB: Being explorative with our products is a key factor at ROWSE. The first collection we launched was 100% cold-pressed plant-based oils, all of them raw. The idea behind this is to strip down the beauty routine to its core ingredients - enabling a simple, most basic implementation of plants for beauty purposes. From nature to nature, from ROWSE to your skin. The collection of plant-based oils, blends, floral waters and clay powders are made to be mixed and matched depending on what works best for you. All of the ingredients are versatile, so you can transform a face routine into a hair mask by changing the ratio of some ingredients and switching a few details – free to explore what works best for you.

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Interview with Rowse Beauty

“We already knew that an important pillar that would differentiate us is the wisdom that comes with such travels; experiencing different cultures and finding beauty in the most remote areas of Earth has helped us shape the lifestyle aspect.”

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Rowse @rowsebeauty rowse.co


“ROWSE collaborates with a community of creatives around the world, dedicated to realizing the beauty of people and our planet.” I think that it is amazing for Rowse to connect with like-minded people through personal values and lifestyle. How has the journey of forming this community been so far? RB: Since the start we have been collaborating with artists who inspire us. Sometimes they are friends that do beautiful things, sometimes they are small artists that we’d like to give visibility to, sometimes we are taken aback when an artist that we love ends up reaching us. Luckily, building this community has always been smooth – coming from artists ourselves, we value their work immensely. Adding onto the question above, could you share with us more about the benefits of being plant based? RB: Being plant-based has a lot of positive outcomes, people do it for different reasons – may it be sustainability, quality, global warming, and a long etcetera. We do it mainly because we believe that all that your skin needs can be found within these plants, and we keep them raw & cold-pressed process to make sure that we deliver the best quality of nutrientdense products. How does it feel to have created a product that has improved the quality of someone’s daily rituals? RB: It feels really – really – good! The main goal for us is to get the user to build a ritual where he / she gently massages their skin and fixate solely, consciously, on themselves and what makes them feel good - when that is achieved, we have achieved!

Could you share with us more about the idea behind the raw portraits series and the people featured in it? The idea behind raw portraits is to feature people that inspire us and share ROWSE’s values, they are kind to the planet, they appreciate simplicity and aren’t afraid of getting creative with nature. We look up to them for those details that make them each unique. RB: Moving forward, what are some exciting projects lined up and who are some of your dream artists to collaborate with? We cannot share too much yet, , we’d love to build an Art Residence in the name of ROWSE, though first we are focusing on perfecting what we have been building for the past years, with a growing team and new markets to educate and adapt to, there are always new projects on ROWSE’s plate!

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Rowse Beauty Photography, Styling and Art Direction Gigi Soh Model Lauren Grace Turner

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Rowse Beauty


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Contributors Con’tour Magazine Volume 1. The Aestheticization of Everyday Life

Editor-in-chief Gigi Soh Graphic Designer Gigi Soh Editorial Writer Gigi Soh

Contributors Ksenia Mikhailova, Set designer Arushi Carlra, Laze Living Fiona Burrage, Sop. Nathalie Hammond, By.noo Dal Chodha, Writer Khoo Guo Jie, Photographer Nuria Val and Gabriela Salord, Rowse

Special thanks to Emma Thompson Kwek Jia Chen Chai Xinyi Shellvia Valentina Jamie Loh Khoo Guo Jie Openstudio.sg Abi Buller

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If you would like to know more about distributing Contour Magazine in your store please contact Contourmagazine@hotmail.com

Publishing F.E. Burman Limited 20 Crimscott Street London SE1 5TF United Kingdom



CON’TOUR VOL 1. THE AESTHETICIZATION OF EVERYDAY LIFE


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