In the artist’s studio

Someone, I can’t remember who and when, once said that there are artistic people and there are creative people, and they don’t always have to be both artistic and creative.

There’s no denying that local painter Wyn-Lyn Tan is artistic. A visit to her studio demonstrates her creative side, too. There’s a bit of a MacGyver in her painting technique, and in the mixed-media pieces she is experimenting on. There are bits and bobs that show that necessity is the mother of invention, and there are pieces that reveal some innovative ideas. You’ll understand what I’m trying to say when you see her works-in-progress; and sometimes she lets you in on the secret with some of her finished works. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek.






Arty party

Went to Singapore Art Museum (SAM) on my need-to-clear-leave-day to check out Sensorium 360*, an exhibition featuring contemporary Southeast Asian and Asian works that are meant to engage senses beyond the visual.


My favorite piece was Goldie Poblador’s May Puno sa Dibdib ng Kamatayan (There is a tree in the heart of death), which is “an installation with perfume and sound”. The artist “translated sonic notes into olfactory ones, creating scent compositions” based on some songs that resonated with her.


Other pieces were delightfully fun, like Pinaree Sanpitak’s noon-nom, 55 breast-cushions that literally made the viewer feel being cradled to the breast when she sat amidst the soft sculptures, and Li Hui’s Cage, an iodide laser and fog installation. I also had fun with Tad Ermitaño’s Twinning Machine 4.0, a video installation that allowed me to take a selfie of my projected image, and Linda Solay’s Continuum of Consciousness, which combined sculpture, sound and the scent of spices.





Also checked out Medium at Large, SAM’s year-long exhibition. I missed the video Cloud installation inside the chapel, had some fun with some of the pieces, and then was not uplifted by the more socio-political ones — so much so that I had to go back to Sensorium 360* for some happy scents-and-sounds.



My arty day ended with a paella dinner with K & T at The Arts House, before a concert by Edwin Orlando…whose encore was accompanied impromptu by the Joel Navarro.


Wearing their hearts on their sleeves

While hipster dining joints are popping up everywhere — and some of them even espouse socially responsible causes (read: Food For Thought), there are the unique handful who boldly declare their faith.

The Assembly Ground, where I hung out last weekend with two different sets of friends, reportedly takes its name from Genesis 28:3 “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you so that you become an assembly of peoples”. Located at The Cathay, it serves well-balanced coffees, interesting cakes, and yummy brunches.






Saveur, that affordable French restaurant, is not new, but it has a new concept: the affordable Italian bistro Concetto by Saveur. It’s also located at The Cathay.

What I love about Saveur and Concetto is that their menus (and website…as I found out since I couldn’t locate my photos of Saveur, so I did a screenshot instead) open with a Bible verse. And then they don’t preach anything in their decor, etc (there was a pizza place I used to go to that named pizzas something religious…fun, but a bit, er cheesy) anymore. EXCEPT they practice what they preach, by pricing their lovely dishes reasonably, without sacrificing quality (they even care to do fine dining-style plating, see?).





The Assembly Ground
#01-21/22/23 The Cathay
Closed on Mondays

Concetto by Saveur
#01-11/12 The Cathay

Hello, it’s been awhile

I just realized it’s been forever since I last posted. Not that I haven’t been thinking about design, or writing about it. I was just tied up with four July issues. One of these was a design section (we got to help out in The Peak’s July issue, specially themed “The Home Issue”), in which I interviewed Kenneth Cobonpue for the nth time 😉 as well as the OX:D guys and Xtra’s Lim Choon Hong.image image

So I haven’t been out and about much to be able to keep tabs on the design world, but my friend The Mini Loft keeps me up-to-speed on what’s happening in these woods. Click on the link to see some pretty design stuff. I especially like her features on the spaces of creative people.

Six degrees of a Pritzker

You know “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” right? That game that’s supposed to prove that there are only six connections separating every one in the world from the American actor (your sister has a friend who works for the sanitary engineer who was sub-contracted by the builder who works with Kevin Bacon’s architect)?

Shigeru Ban was named last month as this year’s Pritzker Architecture Prize winner, for his groundbreaking humanitarian work designing disaster-relief shelters (it’s about time we honored architecture that went beyond breathtaking aesthetics, yes?).

Remember this post I wrote from the Milan Fair two years ago, when Hermes launched Shigeru Ban’s Module H wall cladding? I wrote about calling his office for my first magazine job, and Shigeru Ban sent a package of images addressed to me.

That means I had direct connection with a Pritzker Prize winning architect!

But anyway, seriously, Shigeru Ban is my architectural hero.

I drool at Oscar Niemeyer and Frank Gehry’s designs, but this 57-year-old architect is really the one who has touched lives around the world with his paper shelters. Made from cardboard tubes (think giant versions of the brown paper tube that holds your toilet paper), Ban’s shelters are quick to “construct”, sturdy enough to last three years or longer, and quick to dismantle and recycle. They have housed survivors and volunteers of natural disasters in Kobe (Japan), Haiti, Rwanda, India, China and similar disaster-stricken countries.

The low-key architect has his landmark designs, too, of course, and luxury projects (like Module H).

Congratulations, Mr Shigeru Ban…and man, I wish I had kept that bubble-wrap envelop you sent to me when I was a newbie staff writer at Bluprint.

Shigeru Ban in Haiti

Paper log house, Kobe, Japan

Paper church, Kobe, Japan

Paper Concert Hall, L’Aquila, Italy

Module H

All photos, except Module H, courtesy of Pritzker Prize

Afternoon delight

Not what you are thinking! And yes, unlike Miss Emma Pillsbury of Glee, I do know what the song is about. It just seems a post title that these two funny ladies I spent my lunch hour with would totally appreciate.

Say hello to my two ex-workspouses. Who both happened to be wearing stripes and black/white outfits today.


The quickie escape started with lunch at Maison Ikkoku. Thank you for the treat, Bets!


Then off we went to see Leyna’s new shop, Mondays Off, on Haji Lane.






And a zip-in, zip-out stop at Shop Wonderland, which we agreed to meet at for tea soon, soon, soon.





And then I was back at work for the rest of the afternoon!

Singapore Design Week

With Maison & Objet Asia’s debut show opening the week, and the International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) closing it, the Singapore Furniture Industries Council teamed up with the DesignSingapore Council to pad up the decor and furniture fairs with events like Singaplural and the 48 Hour Challenge.

The highlight for me, though, was the opening of the National Design Centre on Middle Road. Taking off from the original structure, a convent school, design firm SCDA adapted the building into the offices of the DesignSingapore Council, complete with prototype lab, design appreciation lab, exhibition galleries, event space and cafe/retail space.





Currently on exhibit are the finalists and winners (shown here) of the Furniture Design Awards, which are held in conjunction with the IFFS.



Here are a few snaps of Maison & Objet Asia



Singaplural: 30 LifeStories




And the 48 Hours Challenge at Park Mall and Robinsons