DesignSingapore Council has curated an exhibition featuring the works of seven emerging Singaporean designers tackling the topic of new lifestyle trends, self-care, sustainable processes and wellbeing rituals that have been keenly brought to our awareness during the pandemic.
Titled Visions of the Future, the designs were selected by Wendy Chua and Gustavo Maggio of Forest & Whale, a design studio based in both Singapore and Buenos Aires. “As cities begin a slow return to some semblance of normality and the initial alarm to the public heath crisis subsides, people begin to grapple with what it means to live in a pandemic state of mind,” Chua says. “How might design help us to thrive despite the challenges of the moment and reimagine hope in such dire times?” Scroll down to discover each project:
For Jasmine Quek, her Phenomenal Wood project was a way to preserve one’s mental wellbeing through the ritual of tea ceremonies, with an aim to “create a space that brings a ritual of mindfulness into our homes in times of quarantine fatigue.” Her crafted tea ware, composed of a tea boat, Corian basin, and an inked tray, is a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Chinese gongfu tea ceremony cups and receptacles.
The humble soap has catapulted itself to the top of the must-have list during the pandemic, prompting Yingxuan Teo to design a home apparatus that ensures the natural craft of soap-making. Titled Mass Production of Happiness, the design focuses on the traditional craft of extracting natural saponins from soap nuts, “so that users can take comfort in knowing the provenance of their skincare products,” says Teo.
Developed in collaboration with the THK Nursing Home @ Hougang, designer Poh Yun Ru’s Rewind is a cognitive stimulation tool that exercises mental agility. The device guides the elderly through familiar gestures and multi sensory stimulation “to prompt meaningful recollection and social engagement” via a motion-tracking tool that emits visual and audio feedback.
Spending habits have most definitely been reined in during the pandemic, making Ng Luowei and Mervyn Chen’s Canvas a significant product to the current times. Imbuing the “make do and mend” culture, Canvas is a kit composed of stencils, liquid rubber paint and seals needed to repair a broken down pair of sneakers, turning the act of recycling into an art-making adventure.
From designer Lin Qiuxia comes Ji Jian Wu 吉简物, a series of amulets inspired by the ancient divination rituals of Chinese geomancy. Represented in contemporary and minimalist forms, the decorative objects are designed as “vessels that carry one’s hopes and wishes to bring forth good fortune and ward off ill health, assuaging fears and anxieties in the uncertainties and vicissitudes of life,” Wu explains.
The experimental Pneumatics’ Touch by Sheryl Teng makes use of a tangible, readily-available resource – air – in a series of inflatable textiles. Taking on various forms that include thermal wear, a laptop case, a wingback chair, a lamp and space partitions, Teng explores the objects’ abilities “to provide thermal insulation, comfort and protection in an age of PPE and social distancing.”
Lastly, explore Kevin Chiam’s Design Probes, a trio of small but significant objects quite fitting to the post-pandemic times: Echo is a red balloon that inflates when triggered by a co-existing alarm system, its unmissable red color and the tension associated with the imminent balloon ‘pop!’ instinctively motivating people to evacuate promptly; Soap Tattoos, which motivates children’s proper washing of hands though soap disks that reveal hidden cartoon characters; and the Odour Ring, which, once twisted open and worn, emits the unpleasant smell of the chemical ammonium sulphide (mostly associated with rotten eggs and fart bombs) to dissuade us from touching our eyes, noses and mouths.
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