#73 | APRIL | MAY | 2015
I N T E R I O R S
A R C H I T E C T U R E
D E S I G N
SUYING METROPOLITAN’S DEGREES OF ENCLOSURE AAMER ARCHITECTS | ATELIER M BY CHEN & CHOI COLL ABORATIVE | MRS POUND BY NCDA NIPEK | THE WORKING CAPITOL BY FARM, TAKENOUCHI WEBB & FOREIGN POLICY DESIGN
CHECKLIST | PRODUCTS
The geometrically driven Grado째 series, designed by Ron Gilad for Molteni&C, puts the notion of the corner under investigation with fascinating results. An apparently simple outline was the vehicle for the designer to reconsider the meeting points of lines. Adjustments in the angles of surfaces led to finely articulated intersections and what seem to be impossibly delicate joints. Bright primary colours on the inner surfaces emphasise the simplicity of the larger shapes.
BAUX, a producer of acoustic tiles and panels, is a joint venture between two Swedish entrepreneurs and the founding partners of design studio Form Us With Love. Its products combine wood wool (made from spruce) with cement, and perform thermally as well as acoustically. The large-format panels are available in linear and gridded designs, and the smaller tiles are produced in a variety of shapes that allow for the assembly of custom patterns.
m o lt e n i . i t macsk.com
CHECKLIST | PRODUCTS
The Peg sofa, designed by Nendo for Cappellini, follows the earlier Peg chair with the same curving armrest profile but a greater emphasis on softness. The ample seat and plump backrest sit on a simple base of bleached solid ash, stained walnut, wenge or ebony. Nendo and Cappellini celebrate ten years of collaboration in 2015. The brand held an exhibition of Nendo products – entirely in black and white – at its Paris showroom in January.
Porsche Design Studio’s P’7350 kitchen for Poggenpohl emphasises the horizontal and vertical in a new interpretation of classic kitchen lines. This effect is made possible by the use of industrial mitring technology on the front and carcass. The front merges with the carcass in the mitre to form a crisp vertical line. P’7350 is available in three neutral plain colours with a matt and with a gloss lacquer finish, in addition to a walnut veneer. Available at Kitchen Culture.
The Silver Cabinet is part of a wider collection of Silver items by Hong Kong design studio MIRO. The designs are produced using galvanised steel – once a ubiquitous material in Hong Kong (in the form of mailboxes, toolboxes and gates), but one whose use has been in decline. Disappearing with it are the related crafting skills. Silver is an attempt to preserve these skills. The Silver Cabinet, with a painted finish, is available from Industry+.
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SETTING NEW STANDARDS KARIMOKU NEW STANDARD WORKS WITH A JAPANESE SPIRIT AND AN INTERNATIONAL OUTLOOK TO PRODUCE CONTEMPORARY FURNITURE FOR A NEW WORLD. T e x t
» Narelle Yabuk a
I m a g e s
» Ta k u m i O ta (u n l e ss o t h erw ise s tat e d)
apanese furniture brand Karimoku New Standard (KNS) was launched quite recently in 2009, but by no means is it new to the industry. For 70 years, its familyowned parent company Karimoku has been manufacturing with wood in Aichi Prefecture, central Japan. At the time of its founding by Shohei Kato, Karimoku was chiefly producing parts for sewing machines, musical instruments and TVs. That experience proved invaluable when the company first began producing furniture around 1960. Today the company is run by the third-generation of the Kato family, and has a number of furniture brands under its belt catering to the
Above: In the foreground are Colour Wood tables and stool designed by Stefan Scholten and Carole Baijings, and the Castor Low Chair designed by BIG-GAME
Japanese domestic market: Domani, Karimoku, Karimoku60, Chitano and Freechat among them. KNS emerged from the turmoil generated by the bursting of Japan’s asset price bubble in 1990 and later the global financial crisis of 2008. “Japanese furniture makers faced a shrinking domestic market and stiff competition from furniture imports from China and other Asian countries, which have much lower labour costs than Japan,” says Hiroshi Kato, Executive Vice President of KNS. He continues, “Everyone wanted to change the situation, but had no idea what they should do. Nobody took the risk.” KNS was established
CHECKLIST | BRAND STORY
“EVERY PIECE IS MADE IN JAPAN, FROM JAPANESE WOOD, BY THE HANDS OF KARIMOKU CRAFTSPEOPLE. THEIR WAY OF THINKING AND WORKING CAN BE FOUND IN THE DETAILS, THE PRECISION OF A JOINT, OR THE FINENESS OF THE FINISH.” » Dav id Gl a et t l i
by Kato and Teruhiro Yanagihara, the brand’s first Creative Director, to shine a new light in the industry. “We took a different approach, focusing not only on the company’s profits but also on solutions to problems,” says Kato. Efforts were made to enhance working opportunities for the younger generation, to engage with sustainably managed forestry, and to promote cross-border collaborations. KNS was launched at 100% Design Tokyo in 2009 and quickly picked up three awards. Appreciation for the brand has built rapidly. Today, architects and retailers are its main customers. “They appreciate our quality and design,” says Kato. In addition to its activity in the Japanese market and its distribution to 20 countries, KNS has also established a warehouse in the Netherlands to cater to the European market. Further expansion to Asia and the US is the next goal. The current Creative Director is David Glaettli, who works with a team of designers from Japan and Europe. Do their varied backgrounds influence the designs they produce? “I think in general the designer’s personality has a bigger influence on the design than his or her cultural background,” suggests Glaettli. “To me, KNS is universal – which had always been a purpose of the brand – through the designers with their individual, diverse ways of thinking and working.” That said, he does see a Japanese heart in the brand. “Every piece
Top: Swiss industrial designer David Glaettli is the Creative Director of Karimoku New Standard. Photo courtesy of KNS/Stylecraft
is made in Japan, from Japanese wood, by the hands of Karimoku craftspeople. Their way of thinking and working can be found in the details, the precision of a joint, or the fineness of the finish.” KNS focuses on using wood from satoyama forests – those that are sustainably managed and able to support the coexistence of people and nature in line with traditional practice. “Unfortunately the satoyama tradition has been devastated because of changes in lifestyle and value,” explains Kato. Despite the difficulty of obtaining wide, straight timber from satoyama forests, KNS makes use of this timber and overcomes the issues of low-diameter trees and bent logs via creative design and manufacturing ideas and a careful drying process. Says Glaettli, “The KNS aesthetic is not the result of a certain style we are aiming for. We never ask the designers to use a certain style or certain colours for example. The aesthetic is a reflection of a spirit that is shared by all the designers we have selected. Maybe it is the wish to find innovative solutions for daily life and to create honest, functional objects paired with a playful, strong sense for the character of the present time.”
In Singapore, Karimoku New Standard is carried by Stylecraft. k a r imok u-newsta nda r d.jp s t y l ecr a f t.com. au
Bottom: BIG-GAME’s Castor Table is pictured with their Castor Chair
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THE ARTIST IN THE ARCHITECT AN ARTIST’S HAND AND HEART GUIDES THE CREATION OF AAMER TAHER’S TROPICAL ‘ARCHISCULPTURES’.
Left: Aamer Taher in the spacious and naturally ventilated lounge area of his studio at Burn Road
COMMUNITY | PORTFOLIO
Te x t
» Luo Jingmei
Project Im ages
» Courtesy of A amer Architects
P o r t r a i t a n d S t u d i o P h o t o g r a p h s » T a w a n C o n c h o n n e t
A a m e r Ta h e r c a l l s h i m s e l f “the accidental architect”. While doing his national service, he came to know several friends who had applied to study architecture at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Taher had originally planned to study a more conventional course such as engineering or business. “They said, ‘It’s quite fun, you should try to get in.’ And so I did,” he says. With his natural talent for drawing, he easily passed the aptitude test required for entry into the course. “So architecture came to me by chance. I did not plan the path of my life. And that’s why it has been so fun,” he laughs. Those friends – Wong Chiu Man, Wong Mun Summ, Sim Boon Yang and Calvin Sim – are now accomplished architects (and designers, in the case of Calvin Sim) and are among those who have led the scene in Singapore for the last decade. Their firms (WOW Architects, WOHA and Eco.ID respectively) have won multiple awards both locally and abroad. Taher himself resides in this league. An awardwinning architect and the designer of many luxury single-family houses, he is known for his sculptural, tropical architecture. His works are tropical in their consideration of, and intimate engagement with, the distinct climate of this region – addressing sun, shade, rain and landscape with elements such
Top: A model of the Zhongshan House (2010), among a collection of models displayed in the studio’s meeting room
Bottom: An early conceptual sketch for a high-rise project, drawn by Taher
as internal courtyards, verandahs, deep overhangs and screens. The forms he creates are sculptural in their free-spirited spatial and tectonic expressions, which reflect Taher’s keen artistic sensibilities. His methodology is aptly and succinctly defined in the title of his 2011-released monograph Sculpting Space in the Tropics. For example, in the Khan Hock House (2002), spaces are interwoven with courtyards, which allow the “shifting nuances of nature” to engage with the everyday rituals of the occupants. A glass pavilion is wrapped by a vertical timber (balau) screen, which shields the interiors from the harsh, tropical sun in rhythmic fashion. The Dalvey Estate House (2009), inspired by the indigenous Iban longhouses in Sarawak, features a long timber-screened verandah that functions as both passageway and communal space. Its elliptical shape is juxtaposed with the rectilinear living room module like a piece of abstract art writ large. The uninhibited employment of fluid lines is a constant parti in Taher’s architecture. Sometimes, they feature as one or two formal elements, such as a staircase. Other times, as in the Siglap Road House (2010), they take over the entire architectural composition; bold, futuristic curves sweep and swirl to become floor, wall and roof, and extend beyond the interiors to function as
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balconies and overhangs for climate control. “That’s where the sculpting comes in – taking the values of a good tropical house but sculpting it into a new, unique form,” says Taher on a design language he has come to term ‘archisculpture’. “It’s from my artistic background. It’s from the love of pottery. It’s the love of the human form,” he attests. “We are not angular and straight. Nature is not angular and straight.” When I ask Taher if this curvilinear language has become his signature style, he says in dismissal, “I’m not a stylistic architect. I take design as a chance to do something unique, of course taking into account clients’ preferences and functional requirements.” In other words, there is no copy-and-paste. A project might appear similar to another, but look closer and you will see new points of exploration. Case in point: the curves in the Siglap Road House were a simple exercise in folding planes. And in the recently completed Guilin Golf Clubhouse (designed by Shenzhen-based Wu Aamer Chen Architects, or WACA), they explore more three-dimensional architectural gymnastics. The curve, he continues, is but one way to sculpt a piece of architecture. “I am quite good with straight lines too,” he says good-humouredly. “What I do not want to be is boring. So even if it’s a straight line, it has to be a straight line with meaning – something that excites me and the narrative order, that has a unique experiential quality.” The Saraca Road House (2011), for instance, is what Taher terms a “cubic sculpture”. Inspired by Moshe Safdie’s iconic Habitat 67 apartments in Montreal, it is a cluster of interlocking boxes with resultant terraces, courtyards, balconies and planters that open up the rooms to the exterior. The multifaceted expressions in Taher’s architecture simply reflect a curious mind at large. He tackles new forms, and also more traditional ones, such as the black-and-white colonial bungalow (Maryland Drive House, 2012) and the pitched roof of the Malay kampong house (Thomson Heights
Top: The Guilin Golf Clubhouse embodies a curvaceous aesthetic inspired by the natural environment of Guilin
Bottom: Sunshading fins drape around a transparent living pavilion in the Khan Hock House (2002), forming the parapet for a roof garden. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall
Right: The Siglap Road House (2010) won the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) Architectural Design Award in 2011. Photo by Patrick Bingham-Hall
COMMUNITY | PORTFOLIO
“I’M NOT A STYLISTIC ARCHITECT. I TAKE DESIGN AS A CHANCE TO DO SOMETHING UNIQUE, OF COURSE TAKING INTO ACCOUNT CLIENTS’ PREFERENCES AND FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS.” » A a m er Ta h er
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BREATHING BOX SUYING METROPOLITAN STUDIO CREATES A FINELY ARTICULATED HOUSE IN KRANJI THAT BLENDS MODERNIST INCLINATIONS WITH A TROPICAL SENSIBILITY.
Broad overhangs and filtering screens equip the house for its tropical context, and allow it to be opened up to the view
CASE STUDY | HOUSE
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Te x t
» Narelle Yabuk a
» Edwa r d Hendr ick s
“This kind of site is very hard to come by,” says Edmund Ng of Suying Metropolitan Studio as we look out from the upper terrace of a semidetached house in Kranji designed by his office. The house faces a forested reserve – the military training zone around the Mandai Camp – and at times the sounds of the firing range overtake the babble of birds that populate the canopies of trees immediately across the street. This rare and valuable view just happens to face west, however, which raised the problem of how to enjoy the green aspect through ample openings while preventing the overheating of the interior. Ng’s solution, essentially, was to moderate and articulate the edges of the house, translating his modernist-inspired architectural form into a breathing, shaded tropical filter. An extensive screened facade was developed for the western side of the house, with batons of dense, hardy ironwood in a staggered arrangement. Much of this facade is operable, with the batons encased by inconspicuous steel frames. “Because of the detailing, it’s difficult to see where each operable screen begins and ends. We achieved a nice uniformity across the facade,” says Ng. Gaps between the batons filter the sunlight as it enters the house, and preserve glimpses of green even when the operable screens are closed. A secondary layer of heat defence is provided by interior curtains, and rain is abated by sliding glass doors. Broad overhangs allow for deep shade and rain protection. The moving screens are grouped and operated in trios by hinged connecting arms. Manipulating them reveals their sheer weight and turns the process of opening up and closing down the house into an experience that emphasises physical effort and time. A very different experience would have
Left: The entry sequence delivers one from the car porch, between two water bodies, and on to the concealed front door
Right: The living and dining area can be fully opened up to the pool, with the perimeter fence creating a courtyard-like atmosphere
CASE STUDY | HOUSE
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THE ACT OF MANIPULATING THE WEIGHTY SCREENS PROVIDES A POETIC REMINDER OF CONTEXT – OF THE VIEW THAT IS PARTAKEN, AND OF THE RHYTHMS OF THE WEATHER.
been had if electronically operated rolling screens (for example) had been installed. The act of manipulating the weighty screens provides a poetic reminder of context – of the view that is partaken, and of the rhythms of the weather. It was fortunate for Suying Metropolitan Studio that their client was also the builder of the house. The owner has provided repair services and undertaken A&A work for some twenty years, and is now venturing into the construction market. Says Ng, “The house couldn’t be too complicated and difficult to build, yet it needed to be iconic. We created a clean and simple house that is nicely articulated but quite straightforward in structural terms.” Ng and his team designed the “tidy and controlled” facade with a clear separation of each component. “Everything is isolated and separated,” he explains. “Whatever is metal is black. If it’s white, it’s a plaster finish. Timber elements are expressed clearly. Each material is in its ‘natural’ state,” he elaborates. “The owner was very clean with the details. He didn’t dilute details for speed, ease or cost savings. He challenged himself to build a beautiful, iconic house.” The approach of articulating elements extended to the car porch shelter and – in spatial terms – to the entry sequence. “There’s a considerable change in ground level from one end of the site to the
Left: The lift and stair core serves as a conduit for light, which flows between floors unhindered by glass balustrades
Right: The vivid green view can be enjoyed whether the operable screens are open or closed
CASE STUDY | HOUSE
3RD STOREY PLAN
2ND STOREY PLAN
1ST STOREY PLAN
23 24 16
10 26 8
3 2 100
1ST STOREY PLAN
2ND STOREY PLAN
3RD STOREY PLAN
_ LEGEND 1 Car Porch | 2 Reflection Pond | 3 Pool | 4 Entrance | 5 Foyer | 6 Guest Bathroom | 7 Guest Room | 8 Lift | 9 Dining/Lounge | 10 Dry Kitchen | 11 Wet Kitchen | 12 Helper’s Room | 13 Powder Room | 14 Shower | 15 Deck | 16 Bedroom | 17 Bathroom | 18 Walk-In Wardrobe | 19 Living/Lounge | 20 Master Lounge | 21 Master Bathroom | 22 Master Bedroom | 23 Junior Master Bedroom | 24 Junior Master Bathroom | 25 Roof Terrace | 26 Multipurpose Room
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Above: Located at the corner of Tai Ping Shan Street and Pound Lane, Mrs Pound is concealed behind the veil of an ordinary stamp shop
Right: Gaining entry requires the activation of a sliding door via a particular stamp in a display window
CASE STUDY | BAR/RESTAURANT
EXTRAVAGANTLY SECRET A SECRET DOORWAY IN THE FACADE OF A FICTIONAL NEIGHBOURHOOD STAMP SHOP IN HONG KONG DELIVERS GUESTS TO A SURPRISINGLY PLAYFUL BAR AND RESTAURANT DESIGNED BY NCDA.
Te x t
» Narelle Yabuk a
» Dennis Lo (Courtesy of NCDA)
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THE DOOR SLIDES OPEN TO REVEAL A VIBRANT PINK AND GREEN DINING SPACE FILLED WITH VINTAGE PHOTOS AND INTIMATE MEMORABILIA.
Th e r e ’ s d i s t i n c t v a l u e i n the art of the surprise – particularly in the context of a well-established and matured hospitality scene such as that found in Hong Kong. Mrs Pound, a small 45-seat speakeasy restaurant and bar in the famous antiques district of Sheung Wan, demonstrates the perfection of the art with a public face that belies a playful interior with a racy backstory. The venue was conceptualised around a fictional narrative about two star-crossed lovers who secretly reunite in midlife. As the story goes, Mrs Pound was a renowned burlesque dancer in 1950s Shanghai. Mr Ming, a married stamp collector, was her childhood love. Weary of the limelight, the glamorous Mrs Pound retired in Hong Kong in the 1960s, hopeful of reuniting with her sweetheart. Mr Ming set up a neighbourhood stamp shop as the perfect front to disguise their clandestine meeting spot. As project architect Alex Chan of NC Design and Architecture (NCDA) explains, Nelson Chow (founder and Lead Architect of NCDA) was responsible for the idea of a secret bar veiled behind the facade of an unassuming local stamp shop. “The clients developed the specific narrative of the burlesque Mrs Pound and conservative Mr Ming as star-crossed lovers. They wrote the story themselves and decided many of the details about Mrs Pound,” says Chan. “For example, her name is a playful wink at Pound Lane, the street the bar is situated on.” The street facade is a puzzle of display boxes containing traditional Chinese stone stamps of the type that can be commonly found in the antiques stores of the area, as well as new wooden stamps produced by NCDA’s contractor in a traditional style. Guests in the know activate a concealed entry door by pressing a particular stamp that is otherwise hidden within an illuminated display case. The door slides open to reveal a vibrant pink and green dining space filled with vintage photos and intimate memorabilia that tell the story of Mrs Pound’s mysterious and extravagant life. “Nelson was adamant about keeping the local textures of Sheung Wan apparent on the stampshop facade so that it would feel continuous with the streetscape,” says Chan. A traditional-style metal exterior gate was specially handmade by a retired Hong Kong craftsman for the project. “This type of gate can be found throughout Hong Kong’s older streets,” says Chan, “but no one makes them any more. Our contractor convinced the craftsman to do one last job for us.”
Above: A variety of artefacts, new and old, were curated to tell the story of Mrs Pound in display cases within the bar
Right: Once slid open, the secret door reveals a vibrant entry space and a second door that opens to the bar interior
CASE STUDY | BAR/RESTAURANT
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CASE STUDY | BAR/RESTAURANT
“PROPS THROUGHOUT THE DINING AREA TELL THE STORY OF MRS POUND AND HELP CREATE THE FEELING THAT ONE IS PEEPING INTO HER INTIMATE MEMORIES AND FANTASIES.” » Alex Chan
_ LEGEND 1 Entrance | 2 Display Wall | 3 Video Wall | 4 Borrowing Stations | 5 AV Equipment/Storage Room | 6 Magazine Wall | 7 Exhibition Gallery | 8 Maker Space | 9 Programme Space | 10 Amphitheatre | 11 DVD/CD Shelves | 12 Sanctuary | 13 Bookdrop | 14 Sorting Area | 15 Staff Area | 16 Service Room | 17 Main Collection | 18 Reading Nook | 19 Book Tree | 20 Reading Zone | 21 Void
Two colour treatments contribute to the narrative of the two characters. Customdesigned lights add to the layers of the story
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“NELSON WAS ADAMANT ABOUT KEEPING THE LOCAL TEXTURES OF SHEUNG WAN APPARENT ON THE STAMP-SHOP FACADE SO THAT IT WOULD FEEL CONTINUOUS WITH THE STREETSCAPE.” » Alex Chan
The older fragments that remain on the streets of Sheung Wan are joined by a mixture of hip cafes, boutique shops and galleries. Explains Chan, “This creates a mixed milieu of East and West that we tried to capture in the project.” The interiors of Mrs Pound draw on a variety of local and Western references to create a vintage space lost in time. NCDA drew inspiration from the cult film classics of Wong Kar Wai to achieve the surreal yet familiar hybrid environment. “Props throughout the dining area help tell the story of Mrs Pound and help create the feeling that one is peeping into her intimate memories and fantasies,” he adds. The interior artworks were created with a mixture of carefully selected artefacts sourced from various vendors such as flea markets, stamp shops, art suppliers, antique stores and flower shops throughout Hong Kong. Two zones comprise the intimate interior. The lower dining area conveys the glamour of Mrs Pound with vibrant pink banquettes, mirrored marquee lights, pink patterned Chinese tiles and delicate gold accents. The upper dining area was conversely designed as a ‘rugged’ counterpoint, and integrates concrete, green tiles and bar stools, gymnastic ring lights and colourful neon artwork. The two zones are linked by a floor of traditional mosaic tiles – a material with specificity to Hong Kong, having once been used ubiquitously in stores and canteens. Despite the small size of the unit and its typically and low ceiling, NCDA has achieved a compelling interior tied to an engaging and imaginative experience. “Locals and foreigners enjoy the small, intimate and mysterious aspect of Mrs Pound,” says Chan. “The interiors are bold, colourful and textured; this is a sharp contrast to the typical upscale and serious dining experiences found throughout Hong Kong.” «
Left: A secondary secret opening allows for interaction between the interior and the street
CASE STUDY | BAR/RESTAURANT
MRS POUND PROJECT TEAM MEMBERS Nelson Chow (Lead Architect), Alexander Chan (Project Architect), Isabella Ducoli, Zachary Sher, Chris Lam, Flora Chan, Johan Hovgaard Simonsen, Jonathan Ng, Steffanie Wong BUILDER Crownwell Contracting Co. Ltd GRAPHIC DESIGN Conceptual Direction by NC Design & Architecture Ltd (NCDA); Overall Graphics Package by Entendre Studios; Facade Graphics by a107 TIME TO COMPLETE 4.5 Months TOTAL FLOOR AREA 150 sqm NC DESIGN & ARCHITECTURE LTD (NCDA) (852) 2915 8088 ncda.biz
Top: Rugged concrete provides a counterpoint to the many embellishments in the space
Bottom: Lipstick was used to leave a cheeky message on a mirrored marquee light
FINISHES Leatherette Supplied by Chi Tat and Associates. Mosaic Tiles Supplied by Hop Hing Lung. Above Banquette Seating, High-Gloss Lacquered Wood Panels. Custom-Made Exterior Gate.
Chi Tat and Associates (852) 2380 1789 cta-hk. com Crownwell Contracting Co. Ltd (852) 8101 6467 crownwellgroup.com Hop Hing Lung Material (HK) Ltd (852) 2511 3013 Ricardo Lighting Co. Ltd (852) 2873 3900 ricardolight. com
FURNITURE Bar Stools designed by NCDA and CustomMade by Crownwell Contracting. LIGHTING Custom-Made Mirrored Marquee Lights with Lipstick and 3M Film. Ring Lights (Glass Ring with Internal LED, Metal Cover with Polished Nickel Finish, Leather Strap and Metal Rod Fixing) Custom-Designed by NCDA and Manufactured by Ricardo Lighting.
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CURATE | OBSERVATION
THE POWER OF DREAM CITIES AN IMPASSIONED STATEMENT ON WHY WE SHOULD ALL MOVE TO OUR DREAM CITY, AT LEAST ONCE. Te x t
» Jennifer Lien
» Ella Zheng
At least once in your life, consider moving to your dream city just because you want to. You may not understand why that city is in your heart or what you will do once you get there, but you will figure it out. Move to be dropped into an unknown environment where commonplace-to-the-locals activities open up a whole new world for you. You’ll find that your best self will emerge when you are at your most uncomfortable, reaching to find your bearings. You know you’ve found the right city when it regularly pulls out the person you desperately want to be. Don’t let being uncomfortable scare you off. Relish it. Always be thankful for the opportunities you receive. The best part of living in a dream city is the potential of what could be. Extraordinary opportunities will feel like they could appear at any moment, and often do, but stay humble and nimble. Put in your best effort to succeed, because the sheer possibility of making it work will always outweigh the costs associated with trying. After all, being challenged is part of the fun. There’s no feeling like the one that comes after you realise you know but a small part of the world, and openly and honestly reconsider biases and habits. Creating life in a new city comes with continuous learning. Observing everything from the architecture of skyscrapers to the design of bus stops can inspire and spark ideas simply because they are un-
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familiar. Enjoy this period. Later, try to remember the inspiration that came with the joy of familiarising yourself with a new and inspiring environment, and use it to reflect upon your progress. Never forget to appreciate how far you’ve come. In a way, these words are my love letter to Singapore. Nearly four years ago, I boarded a plane at Toronto Pearson International Airport ready to start my post-graduate life once I stepped off at Changi. “The smartest students in the world are from Singapore,” some said, so off I went to work for the local education system, wanting some of this intelligence to brush off on me prior to starting a graduate degree in education. I landed here during a wonderful time of creative change, with the local music, art, food and fashion scenes encouraged by residents and the Government alike. There was a spirit of working
together to try and build something that all in Singapore could be proud of. More than specific events, it felt as if the whole nation emanated possibility and an attitude of “Why not try?” My ambitions were constantly buoyed by this atmosphere. The possibilities seemed endless. Singapore, thank you for encouraging me to take the many opportunities you have sent my way, and for making room for me to contribute my own tile to your mosaic. So, go ahead, what are you waiting for? No matter your age or position in life, consider moving to that city, your version of what Singapore was for me, because you are ready to give your best self. Your city will, in turn, provide more opportunities for you to shine than you can yet imagine. And perhaps, if we are extremely lucky, this magic will happen more than once. «
Hong Kong Indesign 19–20 November 2015
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