A high quality surrealistic set, practical as a floor cushion. Oversized pebbles, a resting area with varying sizes and shapes that can be arranged according to your mood, for contemporary interiors. Pebbles as a fanciful landscape for ideal and permanent holidays, which can be transformed into an enjoyable domestic game.
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All images courtesy of Karyn Lim.
Today we have a conversation with Karyn, a recent graduate from National Universal of Singapore Division of Industrial Design.
Yanda: Tell us something about yourself.
Karyn Lim: Hello. My name is Karyn.
What got you into your course industrial design?
I had to attend university but didn’t want to study. Industrial design was one of the more hands-on courses.
Were you always into design or arts?
Was in art club in primary school. Does that count?
I’ve always had an attraction to tasteful things. The real interest in design only developed after 6 months on exchange at L’ENSCI in Paris. It was a small school where students had to compete against each other to get in and really only a handful of all applicants are admitted. We can imagine how passionate and talented they are. Passion and talent aside, what really struck me was the pride that they had of their work. It wasn’t boastful, more of self-satisfaction and some intention to impress.
Another great influence in my development as a designer was having Patrick Chia a mentor. It was he who got me interested in design literature. He used to lend me books after books and I’d spend hours flipping through them and wondering his intention for lending me the particular book. Once, he lent me a book on Thomas Heatherwick. & he asked, you know this guy right? Sheepishly, I shook my head no. It was a good read.
Transformation Bags II
So are you reading more now? The best talks I have ever attended was by Thomas Heatherwick and Toyo Ito. But I never really like keynote presentation or TED talks. Would actually prefer chats over coffee or studio visits.
Owning more books but reading less. I’ve always enjoyed reading. More fiction than non-fiction. & I used to complete many books while commuting daily. But it’s really bad for the eyes so I stopped. Coffee chats and studio visits are definitely more intimate than talks and presentations.
Which batch were you from for NUS DID? And coming from a school that has produced so many President’s Design Award recipent like Hans Tan, Studio Juju, Hunn Wai, Patrick Chia, Nathan Yong, are there any pressure among yourself or your peers?
I graduated from NUS DID in 2015, same batch as Litile Collective (Lim Zhi Ying and Tay Tze Yu), one batch after Afzal Imram (Proper People) . These are friends who were brave enough to start independent studios after graduation and whom I hope will join the ranks of “names we throw out when talking about Singaporean designers”. Pressure, maybe not so much. Everyone is trying to give their best.
If you could own a project of anyone, what would it be and why?
It would be interesting to co-own/co-work on a project with someone of a different field of study/expertise. Collaborations are interesting to me as it offers a peek into another person’s concerns, considerations, and ways of working.
I was actually asking what is your favourite project of others that you would wish you designed.
I know! Wouldn’t steal anyone’s project! I never really wish to have done something that someone else has done. More like, can I achieve an equivalent calibre or do better.
Masses or the niche?
But niche doesn’t get you very rich.
Riche Niche. The niche has potential to produce a rich outcome. Rich not in monetary value but in concept and execution. Niche is an indulgence that does not compromise. Niche has its own mind. For that, niche over masses.
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All images courtesy of Supermama.
We spoke with Edwin Low of Supermama who I think is more than a product designer, educator and an entrepreneur. To me, he’s an activist who champions ‘Don’t complain, just do it.’ where the things he is doing is more than just a design or a shop—reviving the landscape here in Singapore that I have decided to rename his shop to my own liking, SuperingaporeMama.
Yanda: Supermama was started because of your wife and family? What has changed and how different is it now from the beginning?
Edwin Low: Yes. Nothing has changed. The day any one of my kids tell me “Papa you are not spending enough time with me” will be the day I shut Supermama – no hesitation.
I didn’t expect Supermama to survive more than a year because I totally disregard the business aspects of things. To me, good design matters and I want it to come first. Now that I managed to survived and be celebrating our 5th birthday in March, I felt a lot more responsibility to “represent” the design community and represent the Singapore identity well (and accurately) to the world outside.
I have also grown deeper in my relationship with the Singapore designers and Japanese craftsmen I work with and it is something I never take for granted. At the end of the day, if we were can add value to the lives of others, why not just do it?
What makes you want to start your souvenir project?
I wanted to do this long time ago. I think it is the dream of every industrial or product designer to want to do something for their own city. This is especially so in Singapore – we are known for shopping, food, etc but ask someone to name an “iconic” object or product that represents the Singapore identity, he/she will probably give you a blank stare. I am always jealous that Japanese can have their bento boxes, Koreans metal chopsticks… what about Singapore? That’s how I started the Singapore Icons project few years back.
What do you think of the Merlion chocolate packaging or the I LOVE SG t-shirts?
I think they are effective designs that served their purpose in their time. Am I proud of them? No.
Do I think they can be improved? Yes. Then what am I doing about it? Complain? No. Just take in your own hands. If I don’t change it, who will? In fact one of my future plans is to set up a Merlion shop – well design and well thought through kind.
Say how much percentage is of the souvenirs as compared to the other products (like furniture or usable items) in the products you produce now?
Everything in Supermama are souvenirs. There are good home ware shops around (like Muji), good furniture shops around (like Grafunkt), but souvenir shop? Not really. So I hope to be one. I’m also very inspired by the Japanese way of giving gifts, it is a way of life. Giving is a thoughtful and considerable act that makes people happy – both the giver and receiver – I wanted to encourage people to give.
What do you wish to champion and advocate in this?
I think if designers don’t bring design to the public, then non-designers will bring design to the public. So if we think the design standards in Singapore is screwed up, we as designers only have ourselves to blame. My wish is for designers to take up more initiative and do what we believe in – too many are complaining about everything other than themselves. Will I still do supermama without support/grant? Yes. Really? I sold my home to do so.
Though seems to be collection’s edition, the souvenirs are not highly priced. Why and how did you manage that?
Traditional gift shop focuses a lot on packaging or to create a nice interior space (often designed for impulse buying) and it seemed like the actual gift itself is a second rated by product. I wanted to be a gift shop that sells great gifts. That’s why in Supermama we demand excellence in our product quality – not so much on packaging or the shop experience actually. We merely spend money on what we think matters and save on those that don’t.
When you chase after packaging and trends you end up spending money refreshing every season but if you invest on the product itself, you don’t need anything else actually.
At the end of day it is also about selecting the price model. We can choose high pricing low sales volume or low pricing high sales volume. And because I am a designer, I want as many people to have access to my designs as possible. So how did I manage to do that? Earn less profit per unit.
You shared before how you work out a deal with your contractor or was it collaborator over giving them a share on each item that is being manufactured to maintain the quality and reduce wastage and rejects. Is this sharable to the public? And do you do that to all the products?
Yes can share with the public but a clearer picture is this – I got the designers and makers on board as partners. I.e. for this project I got Stuck as the design partner and Meykrs as the production partner. I came out with the project and business direction. We split the profit equally. And because everybody owns the project, everyone takes ownership. Die die have to do good works. In fact the project is so successful that we spin a new company off just to manage this project. The company is called “Souvenirs from Singapore”.
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Today, the role of an index finger’s tip has superseded that of the opposable thumb.
The global gesture of swiping and clicking is one that unifies us in acknowledgement of technological advancement. To protect one’s fingertip is not an act of paranoia, but a calculated anticipation of society’s shifting perspective upon our evolving anatomy.
INDEX RING is a form of fingertip protection that should be removed only when using digital interfaces that require the fingertip’s participation. Should the wearer wish to press a lift button or switch on the lights in the bedroom, we recommend the middle finger or the outdated thumb.
The weight of blue is an exhi- bition of the works created by Outofstock in collaboration with Freiherr von Poschinger Glasmanufacktur, a 450-year- old glass factory in Bavaria, Germany. The outcomes in mouth blown glass are meditative and at times, raw with the impressions of the surrounding nature and the human touch of glass craft.
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Koh Lamp is an island of light, each unique, each different. No two KoH Lamps are identical in illumination and shade, radiating their individuality. Just as we are unique individuals, we become interKoHnnected when our unique lives reverberate with one another, lighting the world in which we live.
The warm, reinvented ambiance elevates and transforms the energy of workspaces and living areas. Low energy consuming and easily recyclable, Koh Lamps set the mood, impress and please with a unique atmosphere that only KoH Lamps can produce.