theartistandhismodel is a curated portal of all things creative and inspirational for creative professionals, students, and anyone who shares the same love for art and design started in 2005. The site has since then featured over 3000 creative professional across 80 cities.
Internationally acclaimed Indonesian artist Arkiv Vilmansa debuts in Singapore with his solo exhibition, One or Nothing, a graphical take on Singapore’s relentless pursuit of being number one. Singapore's first designer toy-inspired exhibition ‘One or Nothing’ is a series of twelve paintings that are based on uniquely Singaporean icons. The exhibition invites art and toy enthusiasts to explore the distinct Singaporean way of living through the perspective of an international artist. Arkiv's signature style incorporates fluid and curvaceous lines paired with bright vivid colours which is seen in many of his paintings. ‘Arkiv Instant’, his first vinyl toy figurine, is also one of his most recognised works. The exhibition runs at the FLABSLAB gallery at One Commonwealth from 16 November to 30 November. >>
By Invite Only™ presents its inaugural pop-up store at Nana & Bird with jewellery pieces that sums the year, yet welcomes the future. From all-time favourite pieces of the Nature//Nurture series that feature eye-catching crystals and stones, to new arrivals yet to reach stores, there is something for everyone. 26th & 27th November.
11am to 6pm. Nana & Bird. Blk 79 Chay Yan Street #01-02, Singapore, Singapore 160079. >>
Wake Me Up Music, Singapore's premium indie record label, is taking a long long nap after more than a decade of contribution to the Singaporean music scene. Before we take that nap, let's bring back the old times and have one hell of a party! The two-day show will feature current and past Wake Me Up Music bands and also other bands who have been such great friends to us. This will probably be the LAST TIME you'll see bands like Surreal, Sky in Euphoria, Vertical Rush, Marchtwelve, My Squared Circle and Pension State come together for a show like this. Show Details: Venue - Home Club (20 Upper Circular Road) Date & Time - 10 December 2011 (Sat): 8.00pm-10.00pm 11 December 2011 (Sun): 4.30pm-10.00pm Charge - $10 for 2-Day Pass (Tickets sold at door) >>
Tokyo, Japan’s capital with good mixed of the old and the new—from the traditional and heritage culture in tea, pottery, hot springs, cherry trees, temple to trend-settingly icons in Pokemon, Maneki-neko, Doraemon, Gudetama, Godzilla, to creators of Nano blocks, sashimi, ramen, udon and green tea.
Upon reaching the Narita Airport, I was first greeted with “Time for Taiwan” campaign ads designed by Winkreative, the London agency who is also the team behind Monocle. And it makes me wonder on the standpoint of Japan between Taiwan, Hong Kong, South Korea, China or Singapore. Clean streets and punctual transport was what I was greeted next.
The print advertisements, promotional items are very visual focal and often in striking colours as opposed to the buildings. The buildings here in Tokyo are monotone. Either concrete, bricks or tile of muted colour palette. Murky green, pastel pink or grey. While the visuals in the logo signages or the billboards light-up the place instead. It’s hard to find advertisements around here. They are mostly in cabins, train stations and not on bus stops, unlike Singapore or Hong Kong.
How can good visuals play a part in tourism as well as everyday living?
No spotting of any ad placements on their bus stops and walkway to the metros.
Warning signs have been made beyond fines and made beyond just the usual no smoking, no eating and drinking icons while colours of road signs, metro signs and way-finding are in green. And you will see a lot of corporate identity donning red or green.
The signages aren’t boring to look at.
A decade ago while I was a student tour guide showing Japanese students around in Singapore, there was an incident that I still remember vividly—they clean their own spills, return their own trays. Claps. In Tokyo, it’s hard to find any bins here though and the trash here are required to be sorted out between burnable and non-burnable items. Maybe this way the people understand and believes they are part of building and upkeep a nation’s building and cleanliness. Will this uphold the belonging that our Singapore government has always been looking for?
Earthquake or disaster drills were drilled since young. Kids even built their own, played their own playground. Resilience and independence are being nurtured. A culture so strict that there seems to have a self inflicted stress for no failure. A highest rate for suicides with causes be it exams or employment.
Master-Apprentice relationship still exists. Professionalism and forced workaholic. You would be surprised to find out that their trains run later on weekdays than on weekends. People really work that late during weekdays even they have no more pending task for the day. Maybe this is why people can spend and really spend on weekends as lifestyle expenses have been saved up on not spending on weekdays. Read the rest of this entry »
The ends of the railing redefined, making the escalator more obvious to be spotted from far. All images by Iwan Baan.
Most designs are, sadly, simply just designs. This project managed to assess the existing solution, reassess a problem and make improvements on prior solutions.
Designed by architect Thomas Heatherwick and inspired by the Victorian opulence of the Burlington Arcade in London, Pacific Place, located on top of MTR Admiralty Station, is a shopping mall of high-end men’s and women’s fashion. The 650,000-square-metre complex houses 140 shops and restaurants, a department store, four 5-star hotels and 270 serviced apartments, noted for its premium skincare shopping.
Taken from the website of Thomas Heatherwick: “The mall’s lifts and escalators did not go to every floor, its public spaces did not function well and its angular, shiny surfaces felt outdated. We improved circulation by introducing new escalators and lifts, transformed the signage, opened up sight-lines, increased the quantity of natural light and upgraded the development’s environmental performance by reducing energy use.”
Abercrombie & Fitch is reinventing itself. Ditching sexualised marketing from their campaigns to topless store models, having clothing with fewer logos and now focusing on quality—elevated and fashion forward style.
British-Indian Neelam Gill whom also starred for Burberry is on the campaign photographed by Dan Martensen. While the latest mens campaign starring model Alex Libby is shot by Zackery Michael. We can spot more of an interpretation of the modern and rugged look, a nod to the brand’s rugged heritage but with new fits and fabrics.
Sales having been going up ever since and any brands need to image and brand positioning is very important or else you will lose your share as one of the leader in your market. Yes, it’s takes a lot of courage to make that step but Abercrombie & Fitch has proved that even this new direction made its way into the news, earning more exposure without paying for any advertisements on news about its rebrand and hoping to ditch its reputation as a boorish retailer.
Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig Organ Soup is a Teochew cuisine specialising in Pig’s Organ Soup and Pig’s Trotters in Vinegar.
Occupying a two units space of a conversation shophouse along Foch Road at Jalan Besar, Singapore. They are open every Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am in the morning till 5 am.
Defining street food
Set as a street food style, a term used to describe a range of ready-to-eat foods and beverages sold and sometimes prepared in public places, notably streets. Usually low in cost compared with restaurant meals and offer an attractive alternative to home-cooked food. Vendors’ stalls are usually located outdoors or under a roof which is easily accessible from the street. The set up is usually basic with low-cost seating facilities while their marketing success depends exclusively on location and word-of-mouth promotion.
Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig’s Organ Soup at Foch Road with new logo and signboard, 2016
Rebrand or not
Often stereotyped visually as poorer hygiene as compared to restaurant, cafes, fast food restaurants or food court. Cheng Mun Chee Kee have recently undergone a revamp on their logo and signage, little touch up—repainted their walls, re-concrete the floors and have a new toilet.
If you ask me if they need are rebrand? Probably not. Certainly not for authentic food stalls. Not everyone needs a rebrand. I would actually have preferred if they stick to their authentic and old school logo and signboard.
Ugly signages? But they work. If it’s too designed, it will be overcomplicating—alienate everyone and patrons will think the food sucks.
Cheng Mun Chee Kee Pig’s Organ Soup menu with new logo, 2016
Not to be confused with Authentic Cheng Mun Chee Kee which is few bus stops down the road or the other Cheng Mun Kee outlets in Geylang, Guillemard or Circuit Road.
And in an article published in thenewpaper two years ago, it was reported that Mr Chow Mun Chee, 74, owner of Authentic Mun Chee Kee King of Pig’s Organ Soup, set up both stalls (that and Cheng Mun Chee Kee at Foch Road) with different partners and let the owners continue the businesses using the same name.
I have had a xanga, a livejournal, a few tumblrs, and this, is functioning on wordpress which was imported from blogspot. Which blogging platform should you be using then?
A good CMS and easy to customise for those with mid level HTML knowledge. It has a hosts of e-Commerce plugins like Shopify or WooCommerce if you need to integrate them into your website. It has also a lot of wordpress themes to choose from—Portfolio, eCommerce, eMagazine or corporate.
The downside is that the default templates aren’t that fanciful.
I had previous used Tumblr for microsites that just need a one page site to hold all the news and updates. It’s not the easiest to customise but the default templates to choose from are decent looking though the archives are often dreadful to navigate around.
The good side is it has its own little community and ‘share on your own tumblr’ button.
I haven’t used this yet but I have seen people having it here and there.
More beautiful with a focus in writing experience and opinions instead of a website and anything else. Seems like it’s going for the personalised page like it’s your Facebook instead of personalised the look and feel.
Can a passport be more than just a travel document that is secure and highly controlled?
With complex concoction of invisible inks, special fibres, laminated holograms or a cardstock used for passport covers that only comes in the hues of four colours—red, green, blue, and black, can it be designed to impress or to sell your country landscape and scenery other than just having a representation of icons on the cover or montages of national symbols in an 18th-century style?
Perhaps we should take a cue from Norway having their passport designed by Oslo-based Neue Design Studio three years ago. With UV inks and abstracted landscapes to make it stylish and atrractive.
There’s also the Swiss passport designed by Geneva artist Roger Pfund in 2003 where we can find embossed crosses across the cover and the inside spreads resembling stamp design fronted with psychedelic shapes.
Or Finland, making their pages into an flip-book of a walking elk, was released in 2012.
We all should be rejoicing when Singapore is being awarded a UNESCO Creative City of Design and especially so when we are one of the first two ASEAN cities to get the designation, alongside Bandung of Indonesia.
With so many the red tape and its restriction, campaigns championing Singlish and majority of work are unsightly, while most of our citizens don’t value or know good or bad design, I don’t think we deserve this for now, came a bit too early if you were to ask me.
On an external outlook, we may seems to have Thomas Heatherwick’s The Hive at National Technological University, Mofie Sadie’s Marina Bay Sands, National Gallery and Esplanade, PARKRoyal on Pickering by WOHA, Toyo Ito’s Vivocity, Zaha Hadid’s d’Leedon. But is it healthy when two third of our landmarks have been designed and awarded to foreigner companies?
And for applied graphic design projects, you might have heard of these from award shows—Theseus Chan’s WERK, &Larry’s 7 Letters, H55’s A Guide To The Flora And Fauna of the World, Holycrap’s Rubbish Famzine, and a few not so popular ones like Bureau’s Door Wedge, Hair How by Edlo Kawa but how many of these award winning projects are not pro bono or self initiated projects? Probably none. To note, not slamming or shaming anyone cause I am probably the same too.
We still can find hope in very meaningful project in Bishan Park where they turned a lokang into a neighbourhood into a park, Spotted Nyonya Collection by Hans Tan, The Browsing Copy project by Beautiful who he made browsing copies in bookstores and gave them second life.
Singapore Insider, published by Singapore Tourism Board
Inside spreads of Singapore Insider
Covers of A List
Inside spread, A List
Biblioasia, published by National Library Board, Singapore
Inside spread, Biblioasia
Challenge Magazine by Public Service Division
Heritage Trails by National Heritage Board
Inside spreads of Heritage Trails
You will be disappointed if you are hoping to see nicely designed currency notes and passport like the Norwegian in us. And it seems like our media has been populating the best works but none of the above have been circulating around. Are these good? Does the clients or initiator even know what is good or bad? Are these bad because most are civil sector or corporate work? Whose fault is it? Client? Designer? To me, choosing to hire a cheaper and bad designer are it’s a keen to going to a bad but cheap dentist. And you probably need two or three fixes to get things correct. Why not spend a bit more and get a better and slightly more expensive one to get things done once? I still don’t think there are bad designers or clients. But the work shown below are probably better direction or strategy. Or perhaps they are nicer because the clients are in the art or creative industry.
Kith, Sentosa Cove. All images courtesy of Hjgher.
Kith, located on the heart districts of Singapore in Park Mall, Sentosa Cove, Millenia Walk and Robertson Quay, is a cafe where coffee meets food meets people.
It launched its first outlet in 2011 that sits by the Singapore River, along Robertson Quay. Its interior and branding was designed by Singapore based Hjgher.
In a landscape that is so fast-paced and constantly evolving, where the locale’s past-time is either food, shopping or movies, how do you start a shop that can stand out? A shop that is at stage—creating ambience and to give pleasure and to sell.
Perhaps it was a budget constraints or a conscious effort to be organic as possible or a marketing strategy to make things modular and hand-done to further compliment the cafe’s ethos. An ambience has been created with 10,000 blocks of plywood, trimmed, then hand layered block by block and affixed with an absolute precision.
These, not just make them stand out from the market where usually it’s either the nostalgic, or the old-school decor or the white-washed walls, exposed hanging bulbs, dark wooden tables. Set with dried flowers. If not, communal table with industrial chairs or stools. The choice of the interior became value-adding; became a marketing tool on its own where it made its way into websites like RetailDesignBlog or Dezeen that bags million of viewership and winning design awards. This proves to be crucial as a business plan as you don’t just rely on reviews and word-to-word mouth for a start-up that doesn’t have a media buy budget.
Kith, Robertson Quay.
The visual identity and its first logo came in an classic tartan pattern that symbolises the fabric of community that comes together for a common purpose—matched with a yellow colour palette that is most luminous and captures most attention and seen from far. A colour optimism, enlightenment, happiness sunshine matched with a cool grey that when used together looks light, easy and warm for the eyes. Perhaps it was done to bring in the lifestyle in fashion into cafe, with that familiar tartan that we can see on clothing or it was chosen so that the printed paper cups can make its way to the Instagram world.
A rebranding exercise, by GNU, was called last year in 2015. The new logo appears to have a shape which resembles a sun or a octagon. The typeface and yellow palette retained but the colour of the sans serif has been changed to black where the contrast might be more.
Branding of Kith by Hjgher.
New logo of Kith by GNU.
In a cafe business where it probably can self-sustain without making much marketing and promotions, where should the plan lies now? Expand and franchise? Or is it better to start a new business like the owner of Creamier has in Sunday Folks? Or will the cafe culture just die down like bubble tea and frozen yoghurt in years to come?
I first come across the word ‘cafe’ almost a decade back and my understanding was that it’s usually fronted in places in Paris, Melbourne or Taipei, where the lifestyle is a more laid back, and have a place where you stop for food, drinks and a chat. No atas restaurant setting and non pretentious. Simple decor, functional interior. And to quote an article on Wikipedia: “A cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides patrons with a place to congregate, talk, read, write, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups.”
Few years later, we started to see more and more cafes that it became a culture. Was the cafes of today spun off from thematic restaurants or bar though? Back in the earlier days, you could find bars with waitresses dressed up as nurses and serve alcohol in injection tubes or servers as cosplay maids. If you are lucky, you could be sitting at a toilet bowl to dine or a walls of dungeon or jail cell. Did this experiential experience influence the cafe culture of today? One where customers eat with their eyes, a cafe isn’t just about getting the right look anymore or serving the best coffee. Or creating the best experience.
Starting a cafe or F&B business, used to be just a job where one loves cooking, eating and coffee. Not sure what is it now. Even KFC and Soup Spoon are refurnishing and trying to position themselves to fit in. And sad to say, to me, cafe isn’t a cool thing anymore.
There have been so many dialogues on what defines art and what defines design, on when is art, art? And can art be designed?
When it is captioned? When it is at a gallery? When it’s beyond an average’s technical ability? When it look nice on the wall? Or when it has some deep lying message?
Take Dawn Ng’s ‘Things of Beauty’, a photographic installation series for example. It’s soothing and eye catching. It fits in any walls whoever’s home are. It’s market-able and sellable cause it’s easy to relate to even if you don’t read the artist statement or understand the message or any political resounding behind it if there’s any. I like it.
But now let’s take a step back into the real world. And if we were to see similiar visuals like ‘Things of Beauty’ in magazines in those independent magazines styled and shot, done and produced by stylist and photographers. Its output is art to designers or the publication world but is it art in the art world?
Take another example and look at Ezzam Raham’s ‘Here’s who I am, I am what you see’. Fossils and Flower sculptures were made from dry skins shredded from the artist’s feet, then enclosed by a bell glass jar and delicately placed on a marble top table setting, finished with the lights dimmed and mood set. So that is art. And if a similar set up is done by visual merchandiser or be seen at a window display. Most would call them designs that are designed.
It’s termed design if there’s a brief or that, there’s an issue raised or a gap to be filled. Art, probably, doesn’t necessary need to cater to be a solution for anything, or to cater to any briefs. Art, probably, has a message and a cause behind.
Who I Am, I Am What You See (2015) by Ezzam Raham
So, can art be designed? Or the answer is that obvious? It is but they avoid using words like design. They will probably be using—crafted, produced.
In today’s context, we see dual professions—artists who are or were designers. Take Heman Chong. He started his profession as a graphic designer but has moved on as a artist, curator and writer. See Hanson Ho who has almost to two decade of working as a graphic designer whom recently has his first solo art show.
But when do one actually enter the art world? When you are hand picked by curators to showcase in the museums or art galleries? What if you organised your own show in a rented venue—some call it independent, some call it D.I.Y. Does one enter the art world when they are being acknowledged by fellow artists or gets interviewed by art writers?
Questions being raised. Curiousity on a rise. Hope I can find a place for myself in this world.